April 18th, 2003
these little things that can pull you under
Live your life full of joy and thunder" - REM,
your world just gets rocked.
Out of nowhere, tragedy strikes.
Other times, you deal with a long, slow very
painful ride of emotions until the day arrives.
Wouldn’t it be a lot less painful if we could
all live to be 102 and die peacefully in our sleep?
24 hours of each other, two men that were important to
our local technology industry died.
Cecil Green was a legend in all of technology
having been a founder of Texas Instruments.
He was 102.
Peter Standeven was a low-key, incredibly hard
worker who gave us the IT Financing Forum and
CanadaIT.com. No single person in Canada knew the early
stage technology landscape, both companies and venture
capitalists, better than him. He was 48. He was also a
always inspired by the incredible life story of Cecil
have read it here before when he turned 100 (http://www.bctechnology.com/statics/bh-nov1700.html)
in late 2000. The
Vancouver Sun did a great obituary on Cecil today, using
lots of material from Haig Farris, an old friend of
Cecil’s and the first to tell me about him 10 years
death comes as a passing, almost with whimsy.
He was 102, after all.
We all can reflect on a great life and smile.
a very different feeling for a man that leaves behind a
wife and three daughters.
I grieve for Peter and his family.
Reflection comes later.
death comes with the dreaded adjective, “untimely”.
His 2 ½ year battle with cancer was fought
extremely bravely, which is what we all say when we have
never been through it and the stricken person continues
to act as normal as possible.
Despite being kicked around by the disease, he
was emotionally strong and he continued to work.
He had incredible tenacity, which his long time
Financing Forum partner Mary MacDonald sometimes would
refer to as “stubborn”.
The last time we all saw him in public was at the
Rocket Builders breakfast in late January.
He was his usual self, a somewhat thinner guy but
otherwise normal. Same
wry smile. Same
incredible dry wit.
According to his very good friend, Dave Thomas at
Rocket Builders, Peter worked right up until last Friday
on the upcoming IT Financing Forum in Toronto.
He finished his job in helping pick the
was supposed to have died last summer when doctors told
him his cancer was back.
Every week that he could work to help his family
and, more importantly, continue to BE with his family,
was just another week to Peter.
He didn’t dwell on his timeline too much.
the past two years, Peter and I had worked on projects
together and spent lots of time talking about our
passion, the Canadian technology industry.
We discovered that his wife was from my hometown
and that her aunt and uncle lived three doors from my
my Dad is a surgeon, we talked a lot about the disease
and I relayed some critical health questions back and
was living this role in stereo. My best friend in high
school was fighting the exact same battle, only 6 months
ahead of Peter and they shared stories via e-mail.
Like Peter, my friend Larry had the disease come
back after a period of remission.
Larry died last June.
By that time Peter had dealt with his fate.
He just wanted to provide for and comfort his
where he drew his strength.
was a Western MBA who started his career back in Ontario
in the finance business.
He started working with Mary MacDonald in 1988,
quitting his job in Toronto to work with the fledgling
Canadian Venture Capital Association on its professional
development initiatives. Mary continued to establish
herself as the venture capital information source in
working on contracts with the federal government to
improve investment in Canadian technology, established
himself as the human encyclopedia of early stage IT
companies. In 1994, they dreamt up the IT Financing Forum (www.financingforum.com)
and launched it in Toronto. The
first year they cancelled it because they couldn’t
find 12 good IT companies looking for money.
But the next year, in 1995, it was so successful,
that they quickly split into two versions, one in
Vancouver in November and one in Toronto in late May
(This year’s is May 21st and 22nd).
I might be biased, but for my money, it is far
and away the best place for information technology and
communications companies to find money and for VCs to
find the best presenting companies in Canada.
moved back to Vancouver (White Rock) in 1997 to be
closer to where he grew up in Campbell River and to live
the active lifestyle with his kids. He lived his life the way he did to be with them as much as
he could. I
met him shortly after that and used his vast knowledge
often as a VC looking across the landscape for
opportunities. I will miss our chats and his pragmatic
said she will just start to realize what we are all
missing now because of what he knew and how he did his
work in preparing for the Forum.
She will probably need three people to cover his
hasn’t already, cancer will come close to any of you
in your lifetime. It is never easy to deal with because it usually drags people
you love through a slow and painful death.
For those that live, it brings moments of clarity
about your life, your role in it and your focus on
Hopefully, it inspires you to do something really
good for you, your family or for the community.
Other than our memories of a wonderful person
like Peter, the legacy of an untimely death should be
motivation to make life a little better.
this public forum in which I have the privilege to
write, I didn’t intend to get this personal.
But, the week has brought the loss of two very
important people in the technology industry in BC and in
is my way of celebrating those lives.
What Do You Think? Talk
Back To Brent Holliday
Something Ventured is a bi-weekly column designed
to supplement the T-Net British Columbia web site with
some timely, relevant and possibly irreverent insight
into the industry. I hope to share some of the
perspective and trends that I see in my role as a VC.
The column is always followed by feedback (if its
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