I woke up to see the news that a good friend Jody Sherman had passed away. Like everyone who knew him, I’m shocked and devastated. I was going to wake up and write a quick post about some startup news before heading out to meetings today, but I can’t think of anything other than the last time I hung out with Jody.
We were at the Lobby Conference. I kept running into Jody every month I’d be in Vegas, and we always said we were going to get together and never quite found the time. But at the Lobby we did. Each night after the official festivities ended, Jody and I and our spouses and a few others would break rafts out of the pool supplies and drift in the infinity pool by the ocean and talk about life and entrepreneurship.
It was the most quality time I’ve spent with Jody in years. I was struck by his industry knowledge — starting companies dating back to the pre-dot com days, his advice for me as a first time entrepreneur, and what a generous mentor he was to so many people in the burgeoning Vegas tech community. He and Paul Carr were even working on a joint-venture where you could send actual douchebags to members of Congress. Paul and I were laughing about it at dinner just a few days ago.
Jody could be a larger-than-life personality — to put it mildly. His hair alone seemed to grow to even greater Sideshow Bob-like proportions every time I saw him. I’d known him for years, but it was on this trip that both my husband and I felt like we saw Jody’s true heart. The inner core of a wonderful, generous person who adored his wife and wanted to do good in the world above anything else. He was someone who would give of himself until there was nothing left.
That is the only thing I’m focusing on today. I refuse to indulge in speculation about what happened or — worse — the inevitable comparisons people will draw to Aaron Swartz. This isn’t a trend in the startup world, like a dozen companies launching the next Instagram for video. These are human beings, and human beings are individual and complex. None of us know what happened.
Here’s the only thing I do know, what I’ll take with me from this horrific news. Since the Lobby, I have run into Jody several times in Vegas, and each time we’ve planned to get together for dinner. I kept getting busy and would put it off until my next trip. Between being a mom and running a company, I’m lucky if I have a spare moment to have dinner with my husband, much less friends. I guess on some level I think those moments can wait until next year’s Lobby — the time when so many of us put aside work and just hang out with each other. I wish more than anything I had one more night eating good food and laughing with my friend. I’ll live with that regret forever.
We all think our companies are the most important things in the world, that there’s no time for anything else. I’ve said it a dozens of times over the past few months: “I can rest when I’m in labor and delivery.”
Perhaps rest can wait, but as I was reminded this morning, friendship cannot.