“You don’t know Blake?,” yelled Quincy. “How can you not know Blake? You will love Blake. He will love you. Let me connect you two.”
Quincy Smith, the co-founder of technology investment bank Code Advisors and connector supreme, was talking about Blake Krikorian, who was then the founder of a young, stealth mode company called SlingMedia. Quincy and I were talking about what comes after TiVo, the future of video content in the age of mobile and if he knew about this company called Sling.
I was then a writer for Business 2.0, but Blake and I ended up meeting at a nearby Starbucks (there wasn’t Sightglass then). Blake showed up wearing shorts, sneakers and Oakley sunglasses on his baseball hat. Truthfully, the light of his smile showed up a few seconds before his physical self.
He had a Blackberry, a Nokia and a Palm. So did I. We started nerding out. Blake had an ugly-ass Windows computer and showed me his plans for Sling. I don’t remember the rest of the meeting — except that it was longer than the scheduled hour, I didn’t take notes, and the folks at the cafe gave me a free espresso because I had ordered so many coffees.
Quincy was right. I loved Blake.
I am not the only one who loved Blake. He walked on this planet dropping petals of happiness, honesty and smiles. He would share his family photos. He would share his Rolodex. He would share his time. Blake was one of the good guys, someone I loved and respected. It is folks like him who made being a technology journalist fun and interesting. Blake was a mensch. They don’t make them like him anymore. They won’t make them like him anymore.
You see, he died this week. He was surfing and apparently had a heart attack. He was 48. He left a small and lovely family, a wife and two daughters, behind. Silicon Valley is poorer without him.
Blake’s passing has left a gaping hole in my heart. I was up most of the night, tossing and turning. I cried silent tears. When I was a young reporter, my editor told me, “No matter what they say, what they do, remember, they aren’t your friends. And you are nothing more than a means to an end to them.” By “them,” he meant the people (and sources) I would write about. My editor was mostly right, but in Blake’s case, I knew I was going to ignore my former editor’s caution.
After our first encounter, we met often. He appeared on my online video show. He spoke at my conferences. And whenever there was an opportunity, we would get together. He would teach me about video and its future. I will give him tips on where to buy cool shirts. I introduced him to Robert Graham shirts. And he introduced me to what it means to be a giving person. Our meetings would start with a hug and end with him telling me, “Take care, Brother Om.”
He was always there for me: I remember him coming out and counseling me after my heart attack. He was mad at me for retiring from writing, and he sent me an email saying as much. I didn’t see him in recent years, mostly for selfish reasons. And now I regret that: I want to hear him call me “Brother Om” and follow up with a long giggle.
His passing is such a tragic loss, for he had so much to give, so much to teach and so much to love. It is sad for his family. It is sad for his friends. Maybe there is something to those Billy Joel lyrics “only the good die young.” To his family, I send you my prayers and hope you find a way to move forward. Thank you for sharing him with rest of us.
Blake, the quintessential tinkerer, I hope you are teaching the heavens about smart things, smart life and generosity of spirit. I love you and will miss you for the rest of my life, Brother Blake!