I first met Peter in January 2003 when my Grid team combined with his Linux team … a business “marriage of convenience” that yielded a great friendship. At first, I wasn’t sure what to make of the man with the interesting accent, devilish grin, penchant for mischief and amazing stories. It became clear quickly that although he didn’t suffer fools and he was action oriented, the real essence of Peter was his passion, humor, intellect and humanity. I was thrilled to call him my colleague and more importantly, my friend.
Peter and I teamed up and traveled the world evangelizing both Grid and Open Source, driving customer deals, building skills in various parts of the world with bootcamp education sessions and of course sponsoring two high energy Communities of Practice where we reached thousands of IBMers many of whom also feel his loss.
We tackled complex and valuable work but more importantly, he focused on what mattered, the life experiences and the people. Peter took a personal interest in you and paid attention to the details that matter. I truly believe he got more joy out of seeing a junior colleague learn and grow than he would have in getting personal recognition. He didn’t get caught up in the bureaucracy although he was attentive to it. Most importantly, Peter always focused on the experience at hand, doing the right thing and a healthy quality of life … shut the laptop, turn off the cel phone and pay attention to the person you are with rather than have seven chat sessions running like the good little A.D.D.-in-training people he accused us all of becoming.
I’ve raised a glass with him all across Asia, Europe and the US and I looked forward to each meal together since I knew it would be the highlight of our trip (except of course the food poisoning we shared in Paris). It’s a unique person that can discuss open source legal issues, horticulture, growth business models, gambling and card counting lore, learning models, music, spectacular wine, Dutch shipping, fine soaps and linens, math dissertations in German, gourmet cooking and surfing all in one sitting.
Over the course of this past year, although we moved into different areas at work our conversations were frequent and two topics always came up … more travel plans and the next interesting challenge for either of us. Peter set the bar on travel and enjoying life. He also had a desire to explore the next unknown. So, I wish him well on this new journey but not goodbye as I expect that someday we’ll meet again, perhaps only in my memories but I’ll certainly remember his laugh, sly look and the lesson he taught me to appreciate every moment.
Bon voyage Peter ….