In memoriam: Dan Hildebrand

Dan Hildebrand, who died 10 years ago today, served as an inspiration to everyone at QNX Software Systems. When other people said no, he said yes. When other people said impossible, he said possible. When other people said give up, he said keep trying.

Dan was many things at QNX: software architect, technical evangelist, invaluable teacher, and supportive colleague. He constantly amazed me with his encyclopedic knowledge and with his innate ability to grasp industry trends. But most of all, he impressed me with his fundamental respect for other people's ideas and contributions.

Case in point: During a hallway conversation, I mentioned something that gave Dan an idea for a new product feature. He subsequently sent an email to several senior developers and department heads, describing the idea and claiming that I came up with it. Upon seeing the email, I quickly phoned him and protested, "Dan, nice of you to say that, but really, it was your idea. You should get the credit, not me." But Dan was adamant: the credit was mine.

It's been 10 years, but I still can't talk or write about Dan without coming to tears. Perhaps that, more than anything, testifies to his virtues as a colleague and human being.

God bless you, Dan.

A short Danh bibliography

In memoriam: Rob Oakley

Earlier this year, we mourned the passing of another former QNX colleague, Rob Oakley. Rob worked at QNX during the 1990s, in roles ranging from software developer to marketing director.
I spent a couple of years working for Rob and grew to enjoy his idiomatic mastery of English and unique sense of humor. I remember a conference where Rob convinced 500 software developers to sing "Port, port, port your code, port your code to QNX" to the tune of "Row, row, row your boat." Few people would have the imagination to think of something like that. Fewer still would have the gumption to get up and do it.
God bless you, Rob.


Robert said...

It was remarkable to see what DanH's presence would do to an Internet Newsgroup during the OS/2 vs Windows NT wars.
Dan was listened to, Dan was respected, and even the hotheads just kept shut.
It was remarkable to see.
I'm glad I got to see it.

Paul N. Leroux said...

It was a real honor to work with him. I miss him still.

Rennie Allen said...

Got here from the QNX 1.44MB floppy post. Made me cry, but most of all, you made me think of Dan.

Thanks Paul

Paul N. Leroux said...

Thanks for the note, Rennie.

Funny thing: I also stumbled across the post this week. Made me realize that it will soon be 15 years since Dan's passing. Doesn't make it any easier, though.