Remembering James Golick

Late Friday Night, the world lost James Golick.

The outpouring of love for James on Social Media has been fitting. He was a leader of so many communities.

He was kind. He was brilliant. Above all, he gave a damn.

While I would have loved to condense the impact James had on me and my family into a tweet or three, I couldn’t.

My relationship with James in began 2006 or so. I was working at mophie making mundane iPod condoms up in Vermont and had the crazy idea of using the internet to help people bring their product ideas to life.

Our one tech-savvy employee at the time (Michael Twentyman) knew of James though his technical writing, and noticed he lived just 90 minutes away in Montreal.

We reached out, shared our idea- and James officially became one of the first (and only) believers.

Lots of people have ideas.

Very few people believe in ideas in their rawest form.

Even fewer people have have the skills, motivation, and straight up chutzpah to make ideas into something.

James was the rare breed of human who had all of the above.

He never wanted a job (although I relentlessly tried to put him in one). He hardly ever let me pay him. He just wanted to do the work. To see things through, and work on things he believed in.

James helped lay the technical groundwork for Mophie, Kluster, and ultimately Quirky. His belief in me during the times in my life when very few people did meant more to me than he ever knew.

In retrospect, the impact he had on my work wasn’t really about his code. It was about his confidence in the various projects. His passion for what we were doing gave all of us the energy and drive we needed to push through all the invariable bullshit…

As Quirky grew, we kept in touch via twitter etc.

About 18 months ago, we were fortunate enough to be brought together again. It was another crazy idea with too few believers that reconnected us.

I tweeted about a new idea my Wife was working on. He immediately replied, and wanted to learn more. Once again, James would become the person to take a crazy idea, and make it an actual thing.

This time it was Nikki’s idea of building custom fit products using mobile, computer vision & 3d printing.

When introducing James to Nikki I remember giving her some words of caution… “James is going to be the amazing dude to help you get this thing started, but then he’s going to be onto the next thing- he’ll never work anywhere. He doesn’t want to, and frankly he doesn’t need to.”

Boy was I wrong.

I’ve never seen two people hit it off faster than Nikki & James. James became the CTO of Normal, moved to New York and truly became Nikki’s partner in the business.

Together, they were both a rare combination of straight up hustle and intensity. They believed in each other deeply, and built a truly beautiful partnership. Together, the accomplished so much in such a short time.

Just last week we had a special dinner celebrating Nikki’s Birthday and a successful holiday season at Normal. James was the happiest I’ve ever seen him. Not only was he in awe of the amazing sushi (and the fact that Jay-Z happened to hold the bathroom door open for him)… but he was so excited about his new relationship with an absolutely amazing woman who he had just fallen in love with. He was looking forward to the vacation they were headed out on together… but remarked strongly about how eager he was for the new year. He loved New York City, and had such high hopes for what Normal could become.

I feel incredibly lucky to have known him.

My thoughts & love go out to James’ family (Jill, Marlee), the Ruby & Developer Community, the Normal team… and all who were as fortunate to have been as energized by his existence.

Something tells me there is plentiful Jazz & Scotch in heaven?

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