I'm admittedly not very good at this sort of thing, so please try to be
patient, kind, and considerate.
Last week, engineering lost one of its most significant giants. You may
not recognize his name, but at this moment, as you read this message on
an electronic device over a network, you are standing on his shoulders.
His name was Bob Davis.
Bob spent most of his life as an active contributor and organizer for
the IEEE. Whether it was the sticky politics of getting many competing
interests to work together or solving the many supposedly unsolvable
engineering challenges, Bob was truly amazing. The technology and
networks you use every day are due, in part, to Bob's efforts at the
IEEE. Bob is one of the people you ought to thank for the bottom most
layers of networking (OSI Layer 1 & 2). The list of Bob's achievements
is extensive, but more importantly, he truly understood the need for
collaboration and concensus.
Most all efforts are group efforts. If you take a step back from the
myth of the lone genius, you will see all the other people providing all
the required supporting contributions necessary for every supposedly
solitary success. Since there is no master list of all contributions and
contributors, no one can name all of the nameless people they ought to
thank. In this competitive world where a few receive fame and fortune,
try to remember the efforts of those few will always be trivial compared
to the combined contributions of the unnamed supporting masses.
To you, Bob is probably just one of the countless unnamed engineers who
made your life a little better through his efforts. To me, Bob was a
friend, an inspiration, and an all-round amazing person. I'll miss him.
Appreciation makes efforts more meaningful. It's too late for you to
thank Bob, but to turn a loss into a gain, I hope you'll look at
something you enjoy, find one of the unnamed people responsible for
creating it, and just tell them, thank you.