I want to publicly say thank you to all my friends. You know who your friends are when times are tough. I heard from hundreds of friends last week and it meant a lot to me. Social media has created a whole new set of “friends” who know a lot about you and care about you, even though you may have never met in person. Hundreds of these friends took the time to write to me. Over 400 emails on my new Gmail account. There were also hundreds of comments on blogs and news sites that carried the story of my separation from Microsoft. It was almost like I had died, but got to read my obituary and hear the tributes. It was surreal, uplifting, humbling, and very gratifying. Thank you. I had no idea…really.
Mike Arrington from Techcrunch was the first person to call me, literally minutes after my Goodbye Microsoft blog post. Mike called as a friend, not as a reporter looking for a story. I will always remember his kindness. Jason Calacanis and Robert Scoble also called soon after. Scott Kirsner (Boston Globe), Walt Mossberg (Wall Street Journal), Ina Fried (CNet) Brier Dudley (Seattle Times), Henry Blodget (Silicon Alley), and many others contacted me too. Not for a story, just to express their shock and condolences. In a world where getting the story first is all that matters, they showed great class. Thank you.
The VC world responded too. Brad Feld, Ann Winblad, David Hornik, Michael Skok, Jonathan Seelig, Ross Levinsohn, James Geshwiler, Dave Barrett, Richard Dale, and many others were also quick to offer support. VCs are the busiest, most connected, people in the world. They took the time to drop what they were doing and reach out.Thank you all.
Most touching were the hundreds of “friends” I have never met, or maybe met briefly at a conference. Their stories, encouragement, and tributes were heartwarming. They meant more to me than you will ever know. Thank you!
Then of course there were the job offers or offers to discuss opportunities. They came from everywhere. The big tech companies, the biggest names in the business, were very quick to reach out, within hours of the news. I was pleasantly surprised. VC firms wanted to talk about opportunities at their firms and within their portfolio companies. Startup founders were also quick to act. Thank you all. I appreciate every single one of you.
I have always tried to respond to every person who contacts me, any time, on any subject. I will always stop and talk to anyone at a conference or trade show. I remember when it was me on the other end trying to meet people, get advice, and get referrals. Last week was overwhelming. I am still trying to respond to every email, Facebook message, Twitter tweet, and comment. It will take a while, but I hope to do it.
Getting dumped by Microsoft was a life changing event…for the better. The future is very bright. The opportunities are amazing. But, there are thousands of other people who have been laid off from Microsoft and other companies where the prospects are not so bright. I ask each and every one of you to do whatever you can to help these people. Reach out to them. Don’t wait for them to contact you….do it now. Respond to their emails. Accept their phone calls. Refer opportunities to them. Take the time, show compassion, do the right thing. Remember, it may be you one day who needs the help. Pay it forward.
Give and you shall receive…when you most need it. It is not just a cliché. It is a way of life, and it works.
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