One of the happiest days of my life was being stuck with Max Boisot in the back seat of a Range Rover on a fiver hour drive from Heathrow to Durham.
I've met billionaires who are so casually generous that you never feel embarrassed when they treat you to a $500 per person meal. Max was like that with his incredible wealth of knowledge. Sharing so clearly made him happy.
Whenever I told him what I was reading or working on—regardless of what the project was—he always had insights and experiences that were incredibly relevant and useful. Even when you realized how wrong you had been, you never felt stupid for it.
My wife, who only met him twice (in Barcelona and at our home for dinner) nevertheless declared him her "favorite person ever!"
I cannot pretend that there isn't a selfish aspect to my grief. I treasure every conversation I ever had with Max (which was really only a handful) and I had hoped there would be many more.
My heart goes out to his family and friends around the world. Dave Snowden blogged a lovely remembrance with many tributes in the comment section at Cognitive Edge.
PHOTO: Working in Durham. From left: Pierpaolo Andriani, Jeff Goldstein, Steve Barth, Peter Allen, Bill McKelvey, Max Boisot, Dave Snowden.