Goodbye Steve, and good luck

Update 2/16: See also William Henry’s post.
It’s with mixed emotions that I write about Steve’s departure yesterday.
I am really going to miss him. It really hasn’t sunk in yet. No more Steve!
But I really also want to wish him the best. I envy his opportunity – as he said, things like this come along once in a lifetime.
I know that Steve loved working for IONA, just as I do. It really is a great company, full of exceptional people. I know how hard it was for him to leave. I got the impression he was just trying to pull the band aid off quickly, if you know what I mean.
I first met him when I was working for Compaq (by way of being at Digital when Compaq bought them). I was in the enterprise server group, and we were evaluating technology for potential partnerships, including IONA’s.
A couple of nights ago I was sitting on the window ledge beside Steve’s cube, chatting while he was going through his stuff. He pulled out a business card I’d given him in those days and we reminisced a bit. As usual, he ended up giving me one of his familar self-deprecating jokes: “Yeah, the technology turned out to be ok, but what about the bozo they sent over?”
I am really going to miss that.
One time he “shamelessly” promoted his new book on CORBA. So of course I answered him right back by shamelessly promoting my book on TP. I learned a log from that book, and from him.
Shortly after joining IONA I went on a customer visit where we were both scheduled to speak. But the signs put up all over the halls said: “Steve Vinoski is coming!” As I discovered, in the CORBA world (and rightly so) Steve is God. (I mean this in the Eric Clapton sense, of course 😉
Steve is one of those multi-talented guys – he can play the blues harp well enough to sit in with a house band. He can throw a frisbee well enough to compete internationally in freestyle – and I would say golf too (having played against him, throwing from the women’s tee to try to keep up).
He can code, write, speak, and think well, and understands how to contribute meaningfully, and in multiple ways, to a company’s goals. But he also cultivated a larger role in the industry, and as anyone who’s followed his career knows, he’s contributed significantly, whether writing journal articles, serving on myriad conference program committees and standards committees, and of course to the blogosphere.
He also has a wicked eye for fashion, as can be seen in this photo.
MeAndSteve.jpg
An Hawaiian Shirt Day
Come to think of it, there are some things I am not going to miss…
But seriously, during his 10 years here he led the most challenging engineering projects, including the project that created what are really our “crown jewels” – the Adaptive Runtime Technology (ART) on which our modern CORBA and SOA products are based.
Steve characteristically recognized the value in things like REST before many of us and would not hesitate to challenge the prevailing wisdom, whether internally or externally, when he saw something that made sense. His most recent column is a good example of the kind of clear thinking and clear writing he’s capable of.
No one around here feels bad about this, although we are really going to miss him. Steve left on the best of terms, to pursue his dreams. He gave us his all for more than ten years, and a pile of great memories.
Good luck!

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