If you were around Chicago tech for a while, you had heard of Ron May. If you went to any meetups, you might see him there. He passed away last night. My condolences go out to his family. Death is never a pleasant occurrence.
Ron suffered during the last couple of years. I don’t wish that on anyone.
It’s fair to say many in the Chicago tech arena didn’t think a lot of Ron. He seemed to get a lot of stories wrong. But many times, he got things right and went out on a limb. He had no compass, so he would say or ask a question at any time anywhere.
I had a love/hate relationship with him. In 2007 when I met him, I had no idea who he was. I had co-founded HPA and was recruiting him to be an angel! I was new to the tech scene in Chicago, didn’t know a soul so he was just another guy to me.
I learned the hard way when some stuff I didn’t want in print was put in print.
When I sat on a couple of panels, he would scream out questions that weren’t even close to being germane to me. I had no idea why he would ask them. It’s not like I had a lot to hide!
To his credit, when I disagreed with him, and sent him an email to disagree, he would publish that too. When he asked me a question that I could answer (and didn’t care if it was public knowledge or not) I’d answer. Otherwise I’d tell him I couldn’t.
One night during TechWeek, he unwittingly was talking to my wife. He didn’t know it at the time, and she had no idea who he was. Funny situation. He also unknowingly met one of my daughters. It almost seems fitting that Ron passed during Chicago Tech Week.
Sometimes he told me some information in confidence. Many times it was correct, and sometimes it wasn’t. He wanted Chicago tech to succeed. Someday soon it will.
I joked that Ron liked a lot of Chicago tech companies, but his least favorite was started by one of the first HPA associates, Jake Mintz. Bump. Bump allows you to exchange personal information through the bump of a phone. No need for business cards anymore. Anyone that met Ron would see the humor in that.