loss of a friend…
Woke up this morning to the sad news a friend and mentor passed away overnight. Ed Risinger gave me my second job in tech, my first job out of HS was the dream job at Radio Shack, but working with Ed inspired so much of what I do today.
I was a bit lost after UT, Ed brought me some focus and brought me back home to technology, but most important, inspired me to believe in myself. While I have enjoyed kind words from so many over the years with regards to myself and these alleged natural abilities with Tech, Ed said much of the same but in very short order, he proved those words in countless ways. He had this enduring way of correcting you when you were wrong or maybe missing the target. And when you succeeded, he would throw the spot light on you for all to see. Ed never made it seem like he was throwing you a bone on any shared experience, it was more like he handed you the reigns and the end result was not totally about him it was about everyone that participated.
After five years with his company I started this business with his blessing and remained a friend over those 16 years. We had just talked about going to see a ball game as he said he was recovering from his back surgery.
Ed was one part older brother, one part entrepreneurial advocate, we never lost touch as too often happens with folks that meander into our lives. He welcomes you at every turn, no matter the time. Ed was one of those people who never sought to take you down. He had a point of view on things and yet he almost encouraged you to disagree with him. He wanted debate and wanted to hear from others unlike himself. He was always introducing me to the most unique people.
Ed was quintessential Austin. He would throw himself into work, for days and days, long hours and emerge like Edison from his lab and present to you this new thing. And then would want to go out and experience this City to celebrate.
Ed was also quintessential America. Proud of his Father and would tell stories of growing up in a military family. Proud of his kids, with stories of their success as any proud Father would. Ed was solidly and 100% a Father willing to give his all, in that honorable pursuit.
His business acumen was about finding a niche and filling that. Looking for gaps in underserved areas of technology while building a business that profited everyone that participated in the process. I have honestly never worked for another person I felt valued me as much as Ed did. It was so very very hard to go out on my own for the 2nd time doing this IT stuff. Ed encouraged that. Right before leaving, we had a face to face about what was next for me and I was shocked to see real sadness on his face over my departure. It was like a father saying goodbye to his son going off to college. It was one of the most meaningful exchanges of my life.
I will miss his stories, his insights, his compassion for others, his drive to overcome. He faced a lot in the last few years, he never shied away from telling you, transparently how rough it can be this life. He was a faithful person too. Sometimes rare in technology. His type of faith was to inspire you to it from actions. I respected that so much, perhaps because I feel its become so rare.
Ed was rare. I had some medical stuff year before last and Ed heard about it thru a friend and he rushed in with a call, advice and confidence…telling me not to worry. It was in that moment I was reminded of his steadfast friendship just as I am now. I’m stunned, he was far too young and as with other friends that knew him…am deeply mournful we have lost a motivating spirt in our lives.
From this point we walk a little more alone. I’m hopeful he shared enough with us, that we may live our lives with more determination and confidence than we otherwise would.
Thank you Ed.