Perspective…

I am still thinking a lot about David Boschmans lately. He was our gracious host in Belgium when we visited in December of 2005. Spent a lot of time driving Maryam and me around and hosting dinners and having us speak at Microsoft and other places. Proudly talked about his new family (he has a two-year-old daughter, he was so proud of her). Shared more than one beer with us and was clearly liked and trusted by lots of geeks in Belgium. Here’s a picture of me with David.

Two weeks ago he died unexpectedly in his sleep. He was 32.

His death hit me and Maryam hard. Harder than other tragedies in the tech world have hit me lately.

It gets down to who is a “real friend” and who is an “online friend.” David was an online friend who turned real over beers in Brussels.

He also reminded me that every day is a gift. I’ve had 10 more years of those gifts than he’s had. He did a lot in his short time here.

I look around the Web and see the love for David from around the world. Tom Raftery, Ireland’s top tech blogger, wrote about him. Roy Osherove, one of my favorite bloggers in Israel, did a video for him.

If you search Google for his name you’ll see page after page of people who were touched by David. Nathan Weinberg links to lots of the best stuff about David.

Anyway, what are you doing with today? That’s what David keeps asking me.

Today I’m thinking about a guy who took a few days out of his life to make sure we had a good time in a foreign land. He had a new daughter at home and, I’m sure, plenty of better things to do. The memories of him are among my most prized possessions. Worth more to me than an iPhone or an HDTV. It’s why I love traveling the world and hanging out with geeks.

I’m honored to have shared a beer with him and he definitely left a void in the tech world that won’t easily be filled. Thank you David!

Comments

  1. This post really hits home for me. The question of depth of friendship runs a very long gambit from online/never-met to lifelong/family member. Thanks for giving me something important to think about!

  2. This post really hits home for me. The question of depth of friendship runs a very long gambit from online/never-met to lifelong/family member. Thanks for giving me something important to think about!

  3. This post really hits home for me. The question of depth of friendship runs a very long gambit from online/never-met to lifelong/family member. Thanks for giving me something important to think about!

  4. David’s death affected me deeply too Robert.

    Now, I ask myself every day, what if today is the last day of my life? What do I want to achieve on the last day of my life?

    One day, I’ll be right.

  5. David’s death affected me deeply too Robert.

    Now, I ask myself every day, what if today is the last day of my life? What do I want to achieve on the last day of my life?

    One day, I’ll be right.

  6. David’s death affected me deeply too Robert.

    Now, I ask myself every day, what if today is the last day of my life? What do I want to achieve on the last day of my life?

    One day, I’ll be right.

  7. Dear Robert,

    David must have been someone special for you!

    Last weekend watching soccer game on TV, a fellow by the name of Antonio Puerta died running toward the ball. You can see this at youtube.

    Today there was a game final of European championship with the same team who lost their friend. Everyone dedicated this game with the best of their efforts to Puerta.

    I hope you find the same strength in the memory of your friend to keep going.

    Mario Ruiz
    @ http://www.oursheet.com

  8. Dear Robert,

    David must have been someone special for you!

    Last weekend watching soccer game on TV, a fellow by the name of Antonio Puerta died running toward the ball. You can see this at youtube.

    Today there was a game final of European championship with the same team who lost their friend. Everyone dedicated this game with the best of their efforts to Puerta.

    I hope you find the same strength in the memory of your friend to keep going.

    Mario Ruiz
    @ http://www.oursheet.com

  9. Dear Robert,

    David must have been someone special for you!

    Last weekend watching soccer game on TV, a fellow by the name of Antonio Puerta died running toward the ball. You can see this at youtube.

    Today there was a game final of European championship with the same team who lost their friend. Everyone dedicated this game with the best of their efforts to Puerta.

    I hope you find the same strength in the memory of your friend to keep going.

    Mario Ruiz
    @ http://www.oursheet.com

  10. Thanks a lot for this note Robert. David was a great colleague and he’ll be missed a great deal. The fact that so many people wrote about this tragic event is the best proof that.

    You can write a message to support the family right here if you want: http://david.vsdotnet.be/

    - Kris

  11. Thanks a lot for this note Robert. David was a great colleague and he’ll be missed a great deal. The fact that so many people wrote about this tragic event is the best proof that.

    You can write a message to support the family right here if you want: http://david.vsdotnet.be/

    - Kris

  12. Thanks a lot for this note Robert. David was a great colleague and he’ll be missed a great deal. The fact that so many people wrote about this tragic event is the best proof that.

    You can write a message to support the family right here if you want: http://david.vsdotnet.be/

    - Kris

  13. Dear Robert
    I am very sorry for your lose, and can very much relate to what you are saying about online people we ‘know’ versus folks we end up being good friends with. I have been learning this lesson while getting to know everyone who is involved in the Jericho Campaign.
    I too wonder a lot lately what my real legacy is going to be, and if today were my last day, I know I could have done much more and much better.
    :-)

  14. Dear Robert
    I am very sorry for your lose, and can very much relate to what you are saying about online people we ‘know’ versus folks we end up being good friends with. I have been learning this lesson while getting to know everyone who is involved in the Jericho Campaign.
    I too wonder a lot lately what my real legacy is going to be, and if today were my last day, I know I could have done much more and much better.
    :-)

  15. Dear Robert
    I am very sorry for your lose, and can very much relate to what you are saying about online people we ‘know’ versus folks we end up being good friends with. I have been learning this lesson while getting to know everyone who is involved in the Jericho Campaign.
    I too wonder a lot lately what my real legacy is going to be, and if today were my last day, I know I could have done much more and much better.
    :-)

  16. The post was going along fine until you said this…it did not need to be said explicitly. :)

    “Worth more to me than an iPhone or an HDTV.”

    Suggestion: Why don’t you commit yourself celebrate his life by helping someone alive in the way he would have to another person if he were alive today? Everyday.

  17. The post was going along fine until you said this…it did not need to be said explicitly. :)

    “Worth more to me than an iPhone or an HDTV.”

    Suggestion: Why don’t you commit yourself celebrate his life by helping someone alive in the way he would have to another person if he were alive today? Everyday.

  18. The post was going along fine until you said this…it did not need to be said explicitly. :)

    “Worth more to me than an iPhone or an HDTV.”

    Suggestion: Why don’t you commit yourself celebrate his life by helping someone alive in the way he would have to another person if he were alive today? Everyday.

  19. Was it worth the risk? getting to know a stranger from the internet? Sometimes it is, but you never know? only a few months ago everyone was afraid of exposing information about themselves, closing comments. There are lots of patients no longer with me, Fred Bock, Gladys Pollanz, Brian Haller. Most recently Keith Engleson. Yeah it’s hard, it’s life. The benefit of knowing these folks, helping them is worth the risk of loss, the trick is to keep taking that risk even after being bit by someone not so nice.
    It’s worth it, getting to know strangers, at least for me, I have to do it every day up front and personal in peoples mouths. I’m surprised the blogging community has to wrestle with this so much.

  20. Was it worth the risk? getting to know a stranger from the internet? Sometimes it is, but you never know? only a few months ago everyone was afraid of exposing information about themselves, closing comments. There are lots of patients no longer with me, Fred Bock, Gladys Pollanz, Brian Haller. Most recently Keith Engleson. Yeah it’s hard, it’s life. The benefit of knowing these folks, helping them is worth the risk of loss, the trick is to keep taking that risk even after being bit by someone not so nice.
    It’s worth it, getting to know strangers, at least for me, I have to do it every day up front and personal in peoples mouths. I’m surprised the blogging community has to wrestle with this so much.

  21. Was it worth the risk? getting to know a stranger from the internet? Sometimes it is, but you never know? only a few months ago everyone was afraid of exposing information about themselves, closing comments. There are lots of patients no longer with me, Fred Bock, Gladys Pollanz, Brian Haller. Most recently Keith Engleson. Yeah it’s hard, it’s life. The benefit of knowing these folks, helping them is worth the risk of loss, the trick is to keep taking that risk even after being bit by someone not so nice.
    It’s worth it, getting to know strangers, at least for me, I have to do it every day up front and personal in peoples mouths. I’m surprised the blogging community has to wrestle with this so much.

  22. I had the same thought David did about the Iphone and HDTV comment, quite surprised you had compared such a good friend to something so materialistic.

    Sad to hear either way though, best to you and his family.

  23. I had the same thought David did about the Iphone and HDTV comment, quite surprised you had compared such a good friend to something so materialistic.

    Sad to hear either way though, best to you and his family.

  24. I had the same thought David did about the Iphone and HDTV comment, quite surprised you had compared such a good friend to something so materialistic.

    Sad to hear either way though, best to you and his family.

  25. Over my years online since around 1990, I have met a lot of people who I have become close with. Some who I never met for 10 years who became like brothers and sisters to me. Would do anything for me and I for them. When I met some of them, it was the best thing ever. My friends in germany are so close with me even tho we see each other once a year.

    I don’t know who originally used the term “friends” online, but it’s not the right term to use anymore. Twitter changed to followers/following and while I don’t love it, it’s better than friends.

    Let’s leave friends for what it really is. Those that care about you and would do anything for you. That’s a friend.

  26. Over my years online since around 1990, I have met a lot of people who I have become close with. Some who I never met for 10 years who became like brothers and sisters to me. Would do anything for me and I for them. When I met some of them, it was the best thing ever. My friends in germany are so close with me even tho we see each other once a year.

    I don’t know who originally used the term “friends” online, but it’s not the right term to use anymore. Twitter changed to followers/following and while I don’t love it, it’s better than friends.

    Let’s leave friends for what it really is. Those that care about you and would do anything for you. That’s a friend.

  27. Over my years online since around 1990, I have met a lot of people who I have become close with. Some who I never met for 10 years who became like brothers and sisters to me. Would do anything for me and I for them. When I met some of them, it was the best thing ever. My friends in germany are so close with me even tho we see each other once a year.

    I don’t know who originally used the term “friends” online, but it’s not the right term to use anymore. Twitter changed to followers/following and while I don’t love it, it’s better than friends.

    Let’s leave friends for what it really is. Those that care about you and would do anything for you. That’s a friend.

  28. Though you may be right that it didn’t read too well with Robert’s mention of iPhone and HDTV, but if you truly knew Robert like I know him, he meant that with every ounce of his heart in the most sincerely loving way.

    Why do you need to be a drag like this? Get a grip on yourselves and quit rocketing off at the first chance you get to hurt someone.

    Rocky-
    Producer/Editor
    Scoble Show

  29. Though you may be right that it didn’t read too well with Robert’s mention of iPhone and HDTV, but if you truly knew Robert like I know him, he meant that with every ounce of his heart in the most sincerely loving way.

    Why do you need to be a drag like this? Get a grip on yourselves and quit rocketing off at the first chance you get to hurt someone.

    Rocky-
    Producer/Editor
    Scoble Show

  30. Though you may be right that it didn’t read too well with Robert’s mention of iPhone and HDTV, but if you truly knew Robert like I know him, he meant that with every ounce of his heart in the most sincerely loving way.

    Why do you need to be a drag like this? Get a grip on yourselves and quit rocketing off at the first chance you get to hurt someone.

    Rocky-
    Producer/Editor
    Scoble Show

  31. Robert,
    I am sorry to hear that you lost a dear friend. Death is never easy and perhaps this life moment will help you to to reflect on what is important in your life with your wife and soon to be born son.

    I have lost friends when they were way too young and all you can say is that your heart goes out to his wife and young family. Sounds like you both had a great connection with him. Cherish those memories.

    It sounds like his passing really effected both Mariyam and yourself. I am sorry you are all feeling a loss.

    When I have been in similar situations I always celebrate the life and the blessings that that person has bestowed upon me. You have done that.

    The last gift David has given your family is perspective to reflect on the short time that we have here to make a positive impact on people and be the best that we can be and share and embrace people positively… You have been more than generous with your time with me and I am truly grateful for that.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family that David left behind. Remember that he will always be with you and on this earth in spirit. God bless his soul and the people he touched.

    Rodney Rumford

  32. Robert,
    I am sorry to hear that you lost a dear friend. Death is never easy and perhaps this life moment will help you to to reflect on what is important in your life with your wife and soon to be born son.

    I have lost friends when they were way too young and all you can say is that your heart goes out to his wife and young family. Sounds like you both had a great connection with him. Cherish those memories.

    It sounds like his passing really effected both Mariyam and yourself. I am sorry you are all feeling a loss.

    When I have been in similar situations I always celebrate the life and the blessings that that person has bestowed upon me. You have done that.

    The last gift David has given your family is perspective to reflect on the short time that we have here to make a positive impact on people and be the best that we can be and share and embrace people positively… You have been more than generous with your time with me and I am truly grateful for that.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family that David left behind. Remember that he will always be with you and on this earth in spirit. God bless his soul and the people he touched.

    Rodney Rumford

  33. Robert,
    I am sorry to hear that you lost a dear friend. Death is never easy and perhaps this life moment will help you to to reflect on what is important in your life with your wife and soon to be born son.

    I have lost friends when they were way too young and all you can say is that your heart goes out to his wife and young family. Sounds like you both had a great connection with him. Cherish those memories.

    It sounds like his passing really effected both Mariyam and yourself. I am sorry you are all feeling a loss.

    When I have been in similar situations I always celebrate the life and the blessings that that person has bestowed upon me. You have done that.

    The last gift David has given your family is perspective to reflect on the short time that we have here to make a positive impact on people and be the best that we can be and share and embrace people positively… You have been more than generous with your time with me and I am truly grateful for that.

    My thoughts and prayers are with the family that David left behind. Remember that he will always be with you and on this earth in spirit. God bless his soul and the people he touched.

    Rodney Rumford

  34. Awwwwww, that really does suck. 32? Young guy with a young family…

    As with a few of the previous commenters – your post hit hard for me, Robert. My condolences and if anyone from Mr. Boschmans family is reading – Eendracht maakt macht. Gather your family around you in these hard times.

  35. Awwwwww, that really does suck. 32? Young guy with a young family…

    As with a few of the previous commenters – your post hit hard for me, Robert. My condolences and if anyone from Mr. Boschmans family is reading – Eendracht maakt macht. Gather your family around you in these hard times.

  36. Awwwwww, that really does suck. 32? Young guy with a young family…

    As with a few of the previous commenters – your post hit hard for me, Robert. My condolences and if anyone from Mr. Boschmans family is reading – Eendracht maakt macht. Gather your family around you in these hard times.

  37. Very nice, touching post. It sounds like he left quite an impression. I’m new to blogging and have started to create some friendships online. I’m amazed at how I can strike up a relationship with someone I haven’t met or spoke to on the phone with…of course it’s different than my friends I see face to face but it is still a form of connecting with others.

    Good luck with your pending arrival…focus on the positives about life and how you can contribute to the joy in the world by being a great father!

  38. Very nice, touching post. It sounds like he left quite an impression. I’m new to blogging and have started to create some friendships online. I’m amazed at how I can strike up a relationship with someone I haven’t met or spoke to on the phone with…of course it’s different than my friends I see face to face but it is still a form of connecting with others.

    Good luck with your pending arrival…focus on the positives about life and how you can contribute to the joy in the world by being a great father!

  39. Very nice, touching post. It sounds like he left quite an impression. I’m new to blogging and have started to create some friendships online. I’m amazed at how I can strike up a relationship with someone I haven’t met or spoke to on the phone with…of course it’s different than my friends I see face to face but it is still a form of connecting with others.

    Good luck with your pending arrival…focus on the positives about life and how you can contribute to the joy in the world by being a great father!

  40. Next time I see you, Robert, I’m going to give you a really big hug. My thoughts are with you and your lovely wife.

  41. Next time I see you, Robert, I’m going to give you a really big hug. My thoughts are with you and your lovely wife.

  42. Next time I see you, Robert, I’m going to give you a really big hug. My thoughts are with you and your lovely wife.

  43. What did he die of? Cardiac arrest? 32 is a very young age to die…

    I ask myself almost everyday what would I do if this was the last day of my life.

  44. What did he die of? Cardiac arrest? 32 is a very young age to die…

    I ask myself almost everyday what would I do if this was the last day of my life.

  45. Asking whether friends you’ve met online are real or not is like asking whether you met your wife at a coffee shop or church. To me its the connection that matters, and it can be as “real” in the digital world as it is in the analog world.

    I think Steve Jobs said it best, when asked by an reporter what motivated him, by responding with the fact that he could die tomorrow.

    It’s cliche, but we must try to all live our lives that way with plenty of zeal, few regrets and even fewer grudges.

  46. Asking whether friends you’ve met online are real or not is like asking whether you met your wife at a coffee shop or church. To me its the connection that matters, and it can be as “real” in the digital world as it is in the analog world.

    I think Steve Jobs said it best, when asked by an reporter what motivated him, by responding with the fact that he could die tomorrow.

    It’s cliche, but we must try to all live our lives that way with plenty of zeal, few regrets and even fewer grudges.

  47. Asking whether friends you’ve met online are real or not is like asking whether you met your wife at a coffee shop or church. To me its the connection that matters, and it can be as “real” in the digital world as it is in the analog world.

    I think Steve Jobs said it best, when asked by an reporter what motivated him, by responding with the fact that he could die tomorrow.

    It’s cliche, but we must try to all live our lives that way with plenty of zeal, few regrets and even fewer grudges.

  48. Hi Robert,

    Last Saturday there was a service in church to remember David.

    Even though I knew David really well, this was the first time I met his wife Veerle.
    Veerle was really touched by all the support she was getting from family, friends and colleagues. It’s great to see David really meant something to so many people.

    Like Kris Hoet indicated, you can leave a message here: http://david.vsdotnet.be/ or post a picture of him on this FLickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/davidboschmans/

    Today is the first schoolday (ever) for David’s daughter. I hope she’ll get every opportunity to grow up to be as a remarkable person as her father was.

  49. Hi Robert,

    Last Saturday there was a service in church to remember David.

    Even though I knew David really well, this was the first time I met his wife Veerle.
    Veerle was really touched by all the support she was getting from family, friends and colleagues. It’s great to see David really meant something to so many people.

    Like Kris Hoet indicated, you can leave a message here: http://david.vsdotnet.be/ or post a picture of him on this FLickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/davidboschmans/

    Today is the first schoolday (ever) for David’s daughter. I hope she’ll get every opportunity to grow up to be as a remarkable person as her father was.

  50. Hi Robert,

    Last Saturday there was a service in church to remember David.

    Even though I knew David really well, this was the first time I met his wife Veerle.
    Veerle was really touched by all the support she was getting from family, friends and colleagues. It’s great to see David really meant something to so many people.

    Like Kris Hoet indicated, you can leave a message here: http://david.vsdotnet.be/ or post a picture of him on this FLickr group: http://www.flickr.com/groups/davidboschmans/

    Today is the first schoolday (ever) for David’s daughter. I hope she’ll get every opportunity to grow up to be as a remarkable person as her father was.

  51. Re:

    > Suggestion: Why don’t you commit yourself
    > celebrate his life by helping someone alive
    > in the way he would have to another person
    > if he were alive today? Everyday.

    Good idea, what happened to these guys? :

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/05/04/my-parental-heroes/

    Did they ever get a nice evening out, candles + wine + fine food at our expense? Someone to looks after the kiddies while they take a break?

    monk.e.boy

  52. Re:

    > Suggestion: Why don’t you commit yourself
    > celebrate his life by helping someone alive
    > in the way he would have to another person
    > if he were alive today? Everyday.

    Good idea, what happened to these guys? :

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/05/04/my-parental-heroes/

    Did they ever get a nice evening out, candles + wine + fine food at our expense? Someone to looks after the kiddies while they take a break?

    monk.e.boy

  53. Re:

    > Suggestion: Why don’t you commit yourself
    > celebrate his life by helping someone alive
    > in the way he would have to another person
    > if he were alive today? Everyday.

    Good idea, what happened to these guys? :

    http://scobleizer.com/2007/05/04/my-parental-heroes/

    Did they ever get a nice evening out, candles + wine + fine food at our expense? Someone to looks after the kiddies while they take a break?

    monk.e.boy

  54. A online friend of mine died a few days ago, so I’ve been thinking about some of the same things, Robert.

    In the physical world around us, people come and go all the time, day in and day out, month in and month out. But virtual friends are always there somehow. You sit and right an email and it’s as if they are right there. Same with writing on their blog or on a bulletin board that they frequent. As you write, they are present to you. You know they are listening to you and that they will respond. The time between doesn’t matter. There is no come and go. The presence just *is*.

    As I wrote on my blog:

    It’s sad and difficult to think of Arnold as not there anymore. Not seeing him isn’t a help to get over that. I never saw him.

    But, Lord, how I will miss him.

  55. A online friend of mine died a few days ago, so I’ve been thinking about some of the same things, Robert.

    In the physical world around us, people come and go all the time, day in and day out, month in and month out. But virtual friends are always there somehow. You sit and right an email and it’s as if they are right there. Same with writing on their blog or on a bulletin board that they frequent. As you write, they are present to you. You know they are listening to you and that they will respond. The time between doesn’t matter. There is no come and go. The presence just *is*.

    As I wrote on my blog:

    It’s sad and difficult to think of Arnold as not there anymore. Not seeing him isn’t a help to get over that. I never saw him.

    But, Lord, how I will miss him.

  56. A online friend of mine died a few days ago, so I’ve been thinking about some of the same things, Robert.

    In the physical world around us, people come and go all the time, day in and day out, month in and month out. But virtual friends are always there somehow. You sit and right an email and it’s as if they are right there. Same with writing on their blog or on a bulletin board that they frequent. As you write, they are present to you. You know they are listening to you and that they will respond. The time between doesn’t matter. There is no come and go. The presence just *is*.

    As I wrote on my blog:

    It’s sad and difficult to think of Arnold as not there anymore. Not seeing him isn’t a help to get over that. I never saw him.

    But, Lord, how I will miss him.

  57. Robert,
    I’m sorry for the loss all of David’s friends (virtual or otherwise) feel. It’s not how many friends you have, it’s not how often you communicate. It’s how deeply your presence was felt by others. David obviously shared a great deal of himself with others. I’m sure he was grateful what you all gave him in return. Now, I’m leaving the office early to go home and hug my wife and kids.

  58. Robert,
    I’m sorry for the loss all of David’s friends (virtual or otherwise) feel. It’s not how many friends you have, it’s not how often you communicate. It’s how deeply your presence was felt by others. David obviously shared a great deal of himself with others. I’m sure he was grateful what you all gave him in return. Now, I’m leaving the office early to go home and hug my wife and kids.

  59. Robert,
    I’m sorry for the loss all of David’s friends (virtual or otherwise) feel. It’s not how many friends you have, it’s not how often you communicate. It’s how deeply your presence was felt by others. David obviously shared a great deal of himself with others. I’m sure he was grateful what you all gave him in return. Now, I’m leaving the office early to go home and hug my wife and kids.

  60. hi david’s death due to cardiac arrest?
    it was a heart crushing news
    but at the age of 32 cardiac arrest still occurs nowadays in our modern life
    i’m also trying to reach out for my online friends for get together

  61. hi david’s death due to cardiac arrest?
    it was a heart crushing news
    but at the age of 32 cardiac arrest still occurs nowadays in our modern life
    i’m also trying to reach out for my online friends for get together

  62. hi david’s death due to cardiac arrest?
    it was a heart crushing news
    but at the age of 32 cardiac arrest still occurs nowadays in our modern life
    i’m also trying to reach out for my online friends for get together

  63. Proudly talked about his new family (he has a two-year-old daughter, he was so proud of her). Shared more than one beer with us and was clearly liked and trusted by lots of geeks in Belgium.

  64. Proudly talked about his new family (he has a two-year-old daughter, he was so proud of her). Shared more than one beer with us and was clearly liked and trusted by lots of geeks in Belgium.