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Alan

From: Jim Fenton <fenton@cisco.com>
Date: Sat, 03 Jun 2006 07:29:24 -0700
Message-ID: <44819CC4.60605@cisco.com>
To: public-memoria@w3.org

Alan was my thesis advisor when I was a co-op student in the DEC Large
Computer Engineering Group in the mid-70s.  While I have had very
infrequent contact with Alan since I graduated and left DEC, an
interaction with Alan is always memorable.  I had the privilege to spend
an hour or so with him in mid-May, a combination of catching up on old
friends and discussing our current work.  I left that meeting energized,
largely from the inspiration of talking with Alan.

One of my specific memories from DEC was the spontaneous gathering in
Alan's office about 5:00 many days.  Most of the thought leaders in the
group would show up, and there was no pre-defined agenda:  the group
talked about whatever seemed important that day.  I suspect that more
got decided in those meetings than any of the "official" meetings those
days.  I have tried many times to replicate that culture, but haven't
been able to because I'm not Alan.

Any design review with Alan on the review team was incredibly
educational process.  It was the best possible review culture: all of
the comments were directed at improving the design, and none directed at
the designer.  I emerged from the reviews humbled, appreciative of the
great comments and all the debugging I had just saved, and feeling as
though in a couple of hours I had just learned a whole summer's worth
about design.

Alan was a great mentor and leader; his example and inspiration have
made a definite impact on me.  Although our meetings have been
infrequent, I will miss him greatly.

-Jim
Received on Saturday, 3 June 2006 20:51:39 GMT

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