He was definitely the reason we met you in the first place (hell, he's the reason I know a lot of people) and I'm sorry you're now stuck with the short end of the stick, as far as TS founders go :(
You are a talented mother fucker, is what you are.
Dan was another "business guy" with a finance background who jumped into a startup because he was angry, physically angry, about a problem he saw and wanted to make it better. He was the first real kindred spirit I've found on my startup journey. He was more than a mentor, he was an inspiration.
I leaned on him a lot, probably more than was fair, but Dan was always there to help me out, think things through, or just offer a pick-me-up when I was down about user numbers, distraught about my inability to help my startup because I couldn't code, or whatever else was on my mind. He introduced me to new ideas and new techniques, but most importantly, he introduced me to a world of new friends. Because of him, I have a place to crash and people to hang with when I visit San Francisco.
Dan paid it forward and did it because he liked to help people. He will be missed.
I feel terrible about this.
Dan was an amazing guy, and I only saw a tiny fraction of his light. The world needs more Dans.
We only knew each other through a shared investor [YC], yet I very much wanted to see him succeed, and believed would - something most people must have felt upon meeting him.
We were all looking forward to watching him have a long and fruitful career.
As PG said, the world is indeed much poorer without him. Dan's family & friends are in my thoughts.
My friendship, if you can even call it that, with Dan wasn't as nearly as tight as others here, but when I decided to finally take an idea of mine seriously into startup territory, I came to Dan for a lot of advice. I was kinda new to the whole thing, and even with such a newbie, Dan always took the time to answer every question, explain every concept, letting me know about problems I will come across, and how to deal with them. It always shocked me how much time he took to help me out. I had only met him through the #startups channel, so we were virtual strangers.
From my minimal interactions with Dan, he seemed like a genuine dude. The phrase 'a real stand up guy' comes to mind as well. He just gave off that vibe and it seems that tons of others here picked up on that vibe as well. The best thing to do is to take a page out of Dan's book in how to treat others, and be selfless, and spread that. I know I'll try.
We didn't know each other too well, Dan, but cheers to you, man. And my prayers go out to your friends, family, and Tom.
I'm so sorry for the loss. Dan, I hope it was an adventure. Peace be with you.
That would happen over and over if I (we) were to sift through Dan's comments. He was such a selfless YC'er - we've gleaned so much from his activity here - but time tends to muddy the origin of ideas. It's like we know what we've learned, but we don't always recall where we learned it. I think it's for that reason I'm reluctant to read through his old stuff; I know I would discover Dan as the origin of so many thought-provoking entries we've been so fortunate to count on across his time here.
His was a tremendous contribution. The impact of this loss is equally so.
To his loved ones and family, to Tom, to my fellow news.yc'rs, I'm sorry.
I'd certainly add to the prevailing sentiment.
Dan was generous, and kind, and smart in the way that we all hope to be. He was the kind of person that would stand in front of a group of powerful venture capitalists and say "we don't need your money." He was a true inspiration.
We lost one of us and we lost one of our best. Please, please take the time to reach out to everyone you know who feels lonely or alone and let them know you care. God knows I wish I had. I wish I had realized.
And if you knew Dan, please take some time to say "fuck you" to the powers that be. He'd smile.
We will miss you dearly.
We exchanged IMs and emails about little things like TS' press in the FT and how it came about or help with my HN password. I was planning on going to Boston to see my girlfriend's sister and was hoping to meet him in person.
My heart and condolences go out to his friends and family. Tom, be strong - you have all our support and best wishes.
In our correspondence back and forth, he always struck me as an incredibly intelligent, humble, and generous guy who would do anything to help others succeed. He closed one of his last emails to me with this:
Be sure to keep me in the loop. Few things are more gratifying than seeing casual acquaintances & friends make money doing what they love. As always, I'm just one person - do what your gut tells you.
This is so senseless, and I'm having trouble understanding it. PG said it best: the world is a poorer place without him.
Rest in peace, Dan.
My condolences to Tom, Dan's friends, and family.
I spoke to Dan numerous times on #startups. I am shocked and saddened to hear this news. My deepest condolences to Tom and to Dan's family and friends.
Please: If you ever find yourself despairing, reach out to your friends, co-founders, parents, investors, someone. They are much more likely to understand than you may think.
We've had several tragic deaths amongst the YC community both recently and over the past few years, but Dan's is definitely the first to viscerally choke me up. I didn't know him personally, but I've read so many of his posts here that I feel like I did.
Please accept my condolences during this difficult time.
how did he die, if you don't mind me asking?
Some days you can feel completely fine, have amazing connections with people, love your work, be a completely present and loving parent and spouse. And on really bad days, it feels like the sky has completely collapsed on you and that the only logical thing to do is make the world a better place by leaving it. It may sound silly if you don't suffer, especially when you recognize much of it is brain chemistry, but it is very real to the person experiencing it.
If you know someone who suffers from depression and has communicated to you that they have suicidal thoughts from time-to-time, I strongly recommend that you let them know that you are there for them at any moment when things feel really dark. They can call, text you, get you on the computer, whatever. Things can go downhill extremely rapidly, so if you ever get a 9-1-1 from a sufferer, react immediately. Get to them in person if it's possible or get someone who lives close to get to them, don't stop communicating with them until you do.
And don't try to fix the problem, telling them it's all in their mind. Again, it's all very real. Let them talk, just allow them to express themselves in whatever way it comes from them, it might be sadness, anger, rage, pain. Let them know they are safe to communicate anything with you, even the dark thoughts. I hope none of you have to go through this, but if you do, you might be saving the life of a friend, spouse, child, parent, aunt, uncle, someone many people love dearly.
Edit: I'm not saying this is right/wrong, but there are real consequences to outing oneself as a depressive.
"You keep it hidden because for every 1 person who takes your advice and helps you out there are 5 who will write you off as a serious person for the rest of your life.
Edit: I'm not saying this is right/wrong, but there are real consequences to outing oneself as a depressive."
What are the consequences? After dealing with OCD and social anxiety issues from 18 to 28, I finally started to open up and talk about these oddities that conflicted me to others. What I learned is most people I talk to all dealt with something similar. These were just random people I met at work, friends and family members. I wish I talked about what conflicted me before I was 28, I would have been able to enjoy that 10 year span of my life more.
What I am saying is don't think you are alone, think you are crazy the one dealing with ocd, social anxieties, depression - the majority has been there and when you learn/realize that we are the same a huge weight is lifted off your shoulders. In other words talk talk talk about your problems, oddities (obessesive thoughts or actions), social anxieties and depressive thoughts until you are blue in the face. If people are going to look down on you for being a depressive screw them, they are hiding behind their own wall of B.S. - no one is perfect and everyone has dealt with something from the above in various degrees before!
My condolences to Dan's family and friends.
Sometimes it's really difficult to ask for help. Building a support network is one of those paradoxical things... if you don't have one already it makes it even more difficult to build one. And for some people (as it appears in the case of Dan), the saddest thing is that it may not even matter making it worse for those left behind.
I agree with a sibling comment here that it is vital to talk through these things. If you can't trust your friends, first find someone else to talk to and then find some new friends.
Depressed people don't merely keep it hidden from others; they often develop a coping mechanism of keeping their depression hidden from themselves too.
If you know someone who suffers from depression and has communicated to you that they have suicidal thoughts from time-to-time
The last part of this is the most important part. If someone is depressed and have recognized it then it's very important to provide whatever help you can. But it's also important to not intrude prior to that point; otherwise you risk forcing them to confront their depression before they're ready to do so (not to mention alienating them).
One of the truly insidious things about depression is that the sufferer often knows that it's just brain chemistry, that it's just "all in their head". That doesn't help.
Depression is not a sign of personal weakness, misguided thinking, or flawed character. It's a medical condition, like diabetes or glaucoma. There shouldn't be any moral judgement attached.
There's still a hell of a lot that we don't know about depression. However, there are treatments that help. If you suffer from depression, one of the best things you can do is to find a psychiatrist (an honest-to-god M.D.) that you can trust and work with.
And if you know someone that suffers from depression, bprater is absolutely correct. 100%. Offering someone that kind of support may be more important than you know.
Tom, I wish I could tell you the answers will come with time, but if your experience is anything like mine... Well, I'm still waiting...
My sincerest condolences to Dan's friends and family, you'll certainly be in my thoughts and prayers.
Most of all, don't beat yourself up about this - there was nothing you could have done to have stopped it, and he did what he wanted to do for his own reasons.
I'm sorry for your loss.
I can't say anything else other than that I'm sorry for all of your losses and I hope you do his dream proud.
I've been through this; never as close as Tom to Dan, but close; and that's what helped me make sense of it. Sometimes it's just a sudden illness, and sudden illnesses are tragic but they happen.
It's a puzzle that, despite my only knowing him personally to a limited degree, that I may never understand.
My thoughts and condolences go out to you and the people affected by this tragedy.
Sometimes the line can be blurry. Accidental suicides do happen. Especially since there was no note.
Suicide is one of those things that I don't think we can ever reconcile in our minds. I've never resolved the questions raised up by my friend's death, but I promise that you do learn to find a quiet place for the feelings that I'd imagine have you mentally turning in dizzy circles right now.
My thoughts are with you. If you'd like to talk please don't hesitate to get in touch.
Take care, Emmanuel.
I second this. A close friend killed herself 15 years ago, and I still think of her, probably at least once a month, and mourn her, and wonder what her life would be like if she were still alive. But that remembrance comes from a quiet place, certainly much quieter than in the months surrounding the event. It doesn't stop, but it does change.
My condolences to all affected by this loss.
I didn't realize until seeing this that you were the person who found him. Please don't be afraid to seek counselling if you have flashbacks / nightmares / difficulty sleeping / etc -- post-traumatic stress disorder is very commonly experienced by those who find suicide victims.
That said it is probably a good idea to really get to the bottom of your feelings about it once you get a little breathing room. I mean don't try to 'just push through' and bury yourself in work in order to suppress grief.
What I would ask you to do though is to keep talking about it, as much as you can with people you trust. It'll help your healing. Whatever you do, share your feelings with someone.
Everyone wants to ask these questions, so I don't fault you for asking.
I'm fighting, and I'm slowly getting it back. But it's hard.
No clue what the factors are in this particular case beyond what's in this thread but I've seen people literally break because of the strain a start-up put on their lives.
Working past what your body can normally do and taking on mental burdens past what you could cope with under normal circumstances (huge responsibilities) is not going to be without its consequences.
Again no idea how much of that was a factor here, but I really think that those that get into the game should be very much aware of the pressure and should be able to somehow get rid of that and always remember that even though your start-up is important it is never more important than you and your health.
Don't push it too far.
Tom, don't be surprised by how much time you need for the fog to clear; everybody is different. Please use this community to share or ask for anything you need. I'm sure I'm not alone in offering whatever I can to help.
We will miss him always.
Dan, you were a good friend and will be missed.
Brad, one of my co-founders, and I had flown in from Chicago to start living there that summer and hadn't found a place to live yet so we crashed at Tom and Dan's pad for a night, sleeping on the couches. It was a nasty, hot summer night and they didn't have A/C. Not only did we stay up late drinking but Brad and I barely went to sleep.
Early in the morning before we had to leave, Dan was up (he was usually a morning guy) and made us this incredible breakfast for us. It was just about the nicest god damn thing we could have had that morning after such a shitty night's rest. Dan was in my book instantly as one of the nicest, coolest guys to have met and gotten to know that summer.
I'll miss him so much.
Dan was the kind of person who would be there to help when you needed it. Dan helped us get into YC, he took the time to review our application and even recommended us without us even knowing about it. Dan believed in us despite never have even met me personally--We may not be where we are without Dan.
PG is right, The world is a poorer place without him.
Tom, if there's anything I can help you with, anything I can do please do not hesitate to ask.
It's actually a great read. I didn't know him personally but as someone who knew him well enough to recognize his user name I'm saddened by this. The last thing the world needs is fewer smart people who honestly speak their minds.
Not so much as a smidgen of a hint. His comments seemed consistent up until the last with no hint of despair. No wonder this caught people by surprise. It's flabbergasting.
My condolences to everyone close to Dan. Although I didn't know him personally, he seemed like a terrific guy.
What sad news.
Part of our decision to join YC was because of the community, and this was in no small measure influenced by our experiences with Dan. Since then, we have kept in touch, sharing ideas and war stories.
Dan played a brief but influential role in the Airbnb story, and an even greater influence in my life as one of the warmest introductions to the startup community one could ever imagine.
I urge you not to blame yourself for any harsh words or deeds you may have let loose in the life of your company. Bruised egos in startups are like bruised thighs in pro football. They're just part of the game. So go easy on yourself. The rules of personal interaction in startups are different.
Furthermore, you can't make sense of suicide. It's an act that by definition doesn't make sense. I don't know you but I'm really sorry for you. I wish you and your company the best.
Dan friended me on Facebook one day. I later saw him comment in a thread about the lack of profile pictures here, saying that if you wanted to see what a poster here looked like, you could just add them on Facebook. Later, I had the privilege of learning the secrets of "ticket hustling" directly from Dan.
The world misses you, Dan.
I initially thought it was a mishap. The news that He took the exit door by himself is what chokes on my thoughts.
Why do the good guys do this to themselves? Why did he go away?
It's striking how many of you tell the same story about Dan's generosity. He seems to have taken time to help and support everyone who came to him: meeting with them, encouraging them, staying in touch with them, cooking them breakfast... People like that are precious.
The combination of talent, mischievousness, and heart that everybody is describing is very compelling. Makes me think I would have liked him a lot.
Sorry for your loss, Tom.
I fondly remember Dan's comments, his thinking & approach to challenges, and how it was always an opportunity to get things done whatever the odds.
We will miss you, Dan.
He was a fantastic guy and my heart truly goes out to everyone else that'll be missing him.
Hang in there Tom.
My condolences. I always appreciated his input and he was one of the usernames I seeked out when browsing comments pages.
He will be sadly missed in #startups and obviously on hn.
The world will definitely be a poorer place without him.
My sincerest condolences to all of his family and friends.
My condolences to Tom, and Dan's friends and family.
Indeed, the world is a poorer place without him.
I didn't know Dan, but I did "know" fallentimes. I thought he was one of the brighter users here on HN, and that's saying a lot given this crowd. I always found him interesting and intelligent, even if I disagreed.
A loss indeed. Tom, take care and add my condolences to the rest of the outpouring. I wish you and his family the best.
My condolences go out his family and friends.