The cruel summer of 2017 ended on an even more cruel note— death of a friend and fellow entrepreneur Ted Rheingold. His resume might identify him as a the founder of Dogster, but he was much more than just that. The news of his passing, after a long battle with cancer, came as a shock, even though we have all been privy to his fight in the recent past. Twitter, Facebook and in private emails— many expressed genuine grief.
Chris Michel, using the only math that matters— humanity, love and empathy– was right when he texted this morning…One Ted is worth a hundred Unicorn CEOs. And even that doesn’t do Ted justice.
Yesterday, I was at a loss of words— often fighting back tears and smiling, remembering Ted. It has taken a lot longer to come up with words to express my feelings because of who Ted was. The deep sense of loss many of us are feeling is because of Ted represented what was great about SIlicon Valley and the early web community. He represented a more innocent time, where everyone knew everyone.
Long before the carpetbaggers and growth hackers and hustlers showed up, Silicon Valley was about helping each other— not because of adviser shares, social capital or retweets. It was less about marketing your brand, and more about helping build an ecosystem. Ted was one of the helpers. He was us— or at least what we all aspired to be.
Ask anyone! Or anyone who was part of the Web 2.0 movement, and they have all been touched and reshaped by Ted. David Ulevitch’s tweet summed it well,“Long before his diagnosis I always counted on Ted to remind me to do the things that mattered most to me, and to do good while doing well.”
Take a look on Twitter, and that sentiment is repeated. Like his beautiful bride, Molly wrote, Ted was a king among men. Amen! He connected people, he told them how to smile. He lived with a bemused look and almost always left you feeling better about yourself and the world. And thank god for his zany style.
My buddy Hiten said it best— it is really hard to talk about Ted in the past tense, and it will be virtually impossible to do so in the future. To his family, his bride Molly and his baby— thank you for sharing him with us. We are all better because of him. And our world is a little poorer— but I sure can bet— he is making introductions amongst the angels, with a smile and a twinkle.
September 6, 2017, San Francisco.
Photo Credit: Chris Michel