Marc Orchant- 1957 – 2007
I first came in contact with Marc Orchant about four years ago. I had followed his writings on his blog, Marc’s Outlook on Productivity and realized he was a very bright guy that I would probably like to know. It was a Saturday morning and I checked my email as I usually do and in popped one from Marc. He introduced himself and said he really liked my writing on jkOnTheRun which at that time had only been in existence for a few months. He went straight to the reason for reaching out to me as only Marc could and said he wanted the two of us to "do something together". His insight into people was unfailing and he knew we would be good friends and should work together. We exchanged a few emails and then jumped on the phone to properly get introduced to one another. I quickly realized what Marc had already figured out, we were so alike in our passions and our desires that we became fast friends. I am so thankful that Marc reached out to me that day.
Thus began our friendship which I consider one of the best I have ever had. We have been speaking frequently ever since and jumped at the chance for everything we could work on together. When I decided almost three years ago to do a Tablet PC podcast Marc was the first person I thought of for a co-host and when I asked him about it he was excited in that way that only Marc could get because we would finally be able to work together. That began a near three year ride podcasting together but in recent months it became difficult due to scheduling conflicts to record the show as often as we wished. This was particularly sad because Marc often told me that our recording sessions were the highlights of his week and I felt the same way too. In the last two weeks we had come to the realization that we couldn’t do the show justice and were going to do a final show to let the listeners know we were going to end the podcast. This saddened us both but it was the right thing to do. Now it is very sad that we didn’t get that last show done, I even tried to find him on Skype the morning of his heart attack.
Marc touched so many people that the great outpouring of concern about his health episode didn’t surprise me. He was a person that you couldn’t help but respect and like because of the way he always conducted himself. He was passionate about the things he spoke and wrote about but it went much further than that. Marc genuinely cared about the people who were behind the things he was passionate about and that came through in the way he conducted himself. It wasn’t just that a given technology was something he thought was great, it was how he really liked the people behind it that made the difference between what Marc did and what others do in the blogosphere. He genuinely liked people and loved to interface with them every chance he got. I can safely say that anyone who came in contact with Marc instantly picked up on that. Marc didn’t just like to converse with others about his passions, he wanted to hear their take on it too. He derived a great enjoyment of hearing what others had to say and he actually listened to them. If you ever had a conversation with Marc I am certain that you felt he was aptly listening to what you had to say, because he was. He didn’t only want to hear things that agreed with his point of view either. He loved differing viewpoints and discussing them with you because as he told me more than once, that’s how he learned. He was passionate about learning.
Marc and I had hundreds of hours of conversations and of course we had differing opinions about some of the things we discussed. He would passionately and intelligently give his POV about the topic at hand and then aptly listen to mine. I remember once laying out my differing POV about some topic we were discussing and at the end he told me "well pal, you didn’t convince me but I’m less sure than I was when we started this conversation". That was high praise indeed and a total Marcism.
Marc was always able to look at an upcoming technology and tell if it was going to have an effect on our lives. Take a look at this video shot at Microsoft where Marc explains what a blog is when people were just starting to hear about them:
Tech world aside Marc was a devoted family man and spent hours conversing with me about the accomplishments that Sue, Jason and Becca were making. He was so very proud of them all and rightly so. They were the fuel that drove him each day and he loved them so much it was a joy to behold. Marc was the most grounded individual I’ve ever met and his devotion and love for his family were the basis for that. It drove everything he did each day and it was always a wonder to listen to him talk about his family. He understood how lucky he was to have the great home life that he did but I am sure that the great man he was played a big role in that life.
The software company for which Marc worked when I met him had given him the most apt job title I have ever seen- Chief Storyteller. This fit Marc to a T and he relished the role of sharing the company’s story to others. He carried that on to every venture he embarked on after that too, and he was very excited that a new gig he was to undertake early next year would have him sporting that same Chief Storyteller title. It was a chance for Marc to get immersed in one of his major passions and it’s a shame he didn’t get the chance to do it. Chief Storyteller, that was Marc all right.
Marc touched me deeply as few other people have done so. He was a nice guy, something that sounds trite but he really was and in such a way that it touched everyone with whom he came in contact. He and I had a great friendship and he will be sorely missed. I consider Marc to be one of the finest people to walk this earth and I know I am a better man for having his friendship. I hurt where my heart and soul meet.
UPDATE: I just fired up Skype and find it only fitting to see this:
I hope you are up there listening to us buddy.