Tom Petrocelli's take on technology. Tom is the author of the book "Data Protection and Information Lifecycle Management" and a natural technology curmudgeon. This blog represents only my own views and not those of my employer, Enterprise Strategy Group. Frankly, mine are more amusing.

Thursday, October 07, 2010

vFlowers for Ferelli

Today I heard that long time technology journalist Mark Ferelli had passed away. I have known Mark for a long time (if 14 years is considered a long time) and always liked him. We didn’t always agree about technology but then again that doesn’t really matter. What matters is what type of person you are and on that we could agree. Mark was a great guy. When people leave us suddenly it often helps to tell those very personal stories that helps you remember what the person was like. So this is my “Mark” story.
At the time I met Mark I had just started to write publically. Public writing, such as articles, blogs, and books is different from private writing such as corporate white papers or datasheets. This type of writing has your name on it. People know that you do it and will draw conclusions about you from what you write. In other words, it’s scary as hell, especially in the beginning. That’s when you need encouragement and that’s what Mark gave me. He was that kind of guy.
He had seen something I wrote and thought it wasn’t horrible I guess. I think that because he told me to keep writing. He always found space in CTR for my articles and I doubt it was for a lack of material. Unlike a lot of editors I’ve worked with, he could give solid constructive feedback without making you feel like someone had just dropped an anvil on your head. He was that kind of guy.
When I wrote my book he was one of the outside editors. I found this type of writing incredibly stressful. You put a lot of effort into it and the editors tear it to shreds. They have to tear it apart if you want a good book but it’s not fun. So, when I got Mark’s feedback I dreaded looking at it. No need for dread. His comments were on target but gentle. I found myself nodding and saying to myself “Yeah. That makes sense. I should do that.” instead of having my blood pressure go through the roof. He was that kind of guy.
So if you didn’t have the pleasure of knowing or working with Mark, that’s too bad. You missed something. And now the whole industry will be missing one of the better people in it. Interestingly enough, it was computer technology that spread the word of Mark’s death. I heard it on Twitter of all places. I think Mark would have had a giggle about that. He was that kind of guy.
So Mark, here’s some virtual flowers for you from someone you encouraged along the way.

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