Given the way Jody Sherman and I met we should never have been friends. Jody had just purchased my business partner and Razorfish co-founder Stephen Anspach's house - post divorce, at a very good deal. My parter (and one of my closest friends of 20+ years) had bought too much house, hadn't really furnished it and then had up and gotten divorced (though in fairness his ex was a bit challenging.) Jody had swooped in and scooped it up and now, bizarrely we were all going to have dinner at Stephen's old house Jody's new house (just down the hill from mine..) Despite all this madness somehow, I really liked him. a lot.
Fast forward a few years - I get a random phone call - "Titus" says Jody's voice on the other end "I saw your photo of you on that private jet I'm running Virgin's charter business so you have called me! - I'd explained that it was a job interview that hadn't gone particularly and I doubted I'd be in need of private aviation and, well damn if he didn't care and he wanted me to start filling his planes full of customers immediately - if memory serves I actually sent him a few connections..
Later when he started EcoMom he called me for advice - I gave him some, though frankly I was pretty worthless as I was buried in my own shit at the time. Most people, based on the inequality of friendship would have cut me off right there, but frankly he doggedly continued our friendship - forcing me to live up to my side of the bargain... without ever raising his voice or even having me notice.
There are other awesome stories about Jody - One of my favorites (be careful this one will make you cry) involves Jody coming home to his house one day to discover a baby on his doorstep .. another involves a tattoo on his hand that says "I am Awesome"
- he loved to hear me tell the story of my tattoo which i woke up with on a plane home from Australia with only the haziest of recollections of its acquisition.
I remember talking about one of our shared projects - Startup consumer bell and its founder Ellie who we both had deep paternal feelings for as well as admiration and love - but also whose founder was frustrating in her willfulness and rebeliousness; pots, kettles & such; but most about how important we felt the work she was doing was and why it needed doing Just like ecomom. Frankly I felt a little lame in many of these conversations..
But the most important memory I have of Jody - happened during the Lobby Conference in Mexico - in a swimming pool. A bunch of us, spouses & randoms jumped in the water led by Christine I think - and just lazed around talking till 4-5am. Sarah blogged about it here, this was the 1st time I got to know his wife - who is awesome and way better than his 1st. (a story for another day - something else he and my business partner have in common). Sarah's right the lesson from that is to make time for dinner - every day - something Jody always seemed to do. For a guy so ignited by the entrepreneurial fire. so busy with his own life - he ALWAYS made time for others. I've never met another human so generous.. or so fucking true speaking...
Because laying there in the pool, he looked at me and asked; "Titus, what are you doing?" I responded with a long, tangental whiny tale of woe involving a dissolving marriage, shitty bosses, politics and people who didn't pay their bills. He listen patiently and then said : "That's all shit people did to you, what are YOU doing?"
It was then, it struck me - he was right I wasn't doing anything really that mattered. Stuck in my misery, loneliness and some strange thing I now understand was depression - I had completely lost site of my power. ACTION.
He then followed up with" Dude you are a rockstar entrepreneur - you've had all this success - since when do you wait around for people to give you stuff? Figure something out that you want and just go fucking do it."
So, I did. 3 weeks later I met up with my no-cofounder of my new start-up, Prompt.ly - which in many ways I attribute to that smack upside the head and the loving follow up calls afterwards. The last time I talked to him was this week - I'd called him to discuss Prompt.ly - talk valuations discuss angels to go talk to…. after we done that for a bit he'd invited me out to Vegas - but indicated "Id have to bring my own futon" = we'd laughed at the weird circular nature of the universe - given how I 1st met him.. and Stephen in that big house in the hills.
When I heard the news, all I could think of was fuck. I never told him thank you for dragging my ass out of the surf where life was washing machining me (google it its a surfing reference) and back to the shallows. he'll never know. But I will always be grateful. and damn it if it isn't JUST like Jody to get the last word in leaving me owing him.
I miss him already R.I.P.