The last time I saw my friend David Hussman we met at Red Wagon Pizza and enjoyed an extended evening of pepperoni pizza and several glasses of a delicious red wine. We initially sat inside to avoid some scattered rain, but then transitioned outside to enjoy a gorgeous evening, great wine and even better conversation. Like most times that David and I got together the conversation never had a gap and flowed all over the place.
I commented to David that he seemed remarkably well. It had been well over a year since David called to let me know about his cancer diagnosis. When he called he was talking weeks and months. Here we were drinking glasses of wine and laughing well over a year later. He was sharing stories of his recent trip to Italy with his family. It sounded amazing and I could almost be fooled into thinking that David wasn’t sick. But he definitely was.
I first met David when I was CTO for MarketWatch. One of the engineers on our team knew him and figured he could help us out with some of the things we were doing. I instantly liked David’s insight, his directness and ability to see through the messy stuff and get right to the problem.
David and I were able to combine forces several times over the next 25 years. We had what I would describe as a mutual mentor relationship. One of us would often ping the other with the vague request to get some “hang time” and talk through some topic that was on our mind.
David was always understated. His work to bring agile methods to companies was exceptional, and as a thought leader and speaker his stage was global. He presented at conferences around the world and brought a tremendous amount of energy and fun to the sessions. I enjoyed every talk I ever saw David give. There are dozens of them on YouTube if you never got the chance to see him present. I was really excited when he agreed to give the Keynote at Minnebar 9.
Often times I thought it would be fun to build something with David, maybe do a project or something. Both of us were always busy with family and work things that pushed that off. I tried to get him to join my book club at one point but he deferred, citing his busy travel schedule.
The last year I was able to connect with David on a more regular basis. A terminal cancer diagnosis provides some urgency. He approached his cancer with an amazing resilience. I can’t even imagine how hard such a thing is, but from what I could tell his approach to life made the time he got at the end so much better.
David was often referred to as The Dude, in an admirable reference to The Big Lebowski. He even coined his own law, Dude’s Law, that Value = Why / How. In life David always seemed to have a good handle on Why, and he kept his How pretty damn simple. The rest worked out as best as it can.
You will be sorely missed Dude! v5.6.50
Here are some additional items I’ve indexed remembering David.
- David’s CaringBridge Journal
- Honoring David Hussman at DevJam
- Obituary in Star Tribune
- Too Soon… by Anne Steiner
- Remembering David Hussman by Dan Bennett
- Dude, Mentor, Friend by Tara Swanson
- “I Dig The Great Minds Idea” by Ray Arell
- Remembering David Hussman at Mano a Mano
- Appreciating a Friend by Casey Rosenthal
- My Heroes by Robert Galen
- The Dude abides in Southwest Journal
- Coffee with Grief by Leah Cunningham