Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Andreas Raab

Andreas Raab was my best friend.

Andreas loved to challenge me to express and exceed my abilities. In so doing, he forced me to challenge him. We pushed each other up the tallest mountains where, together, we had the honor of viewing the world from a new point of view.

He loved to program. He was the best programmer I have ever known – by a lot. This is not an idle statement – I have known and worked with the best in the world. Andreas was better.

He loved exploring and understanding new systems. He was fearless. He would not only understand how to use the new tool to accomplish his task, he would also figure out how to make it even better for the next person.

Andreas loved to make great things for people to use. He was never content with “good enough”. Every line of code he wrote was an opportunity to teach someone a new idea. Every system he built greatly empowered the person willing to embrace it and it allowed them a new freedom to create and explore.

He loved beer and introduced me to some fantastic brews. Learning to drink from a German is a valuable skill.

He loved to violently explore ideas. We had many loud discussions –often at a bar, where we threw ideas back and forth like rag dolls. Most ideas did not survive. The ones that did were very strong.  He was as intent a listener as he was a proponent, and often succeeded in convincing himself he was wrong. He certainly convinced me he was right more often than not.

He loved food and was as essential a partner in exploring great restaurants as he was in exploring ideas.  We visited Canto do Brasil in San Francisco every weekend we could and always had two (three?) Caiparinhas each and the Feijoada. And of course, the steak at Angus Barn… (yes, he was jealous when we went without him).

He loved language – he was always searching for how to express an idea in English with just the right word or phrase. He loved coding in the same way. He loved exploring the subtleties and power of how ideas could be expressed, communicated and unleashed.

Andreas loved classical music. We carpooled to work every day and he always had the radio on the classical station when he picked me up. We challenged each other on what the piece was, who the composer was, and even who the performers were. It was probably the only thing I was better at than him.

Andreas loved his friends. There were no conditions or requirements. He worked to see the world from their perspective – honoring them by always caring enough to understand them. He also expected them to live up to his high standards of thought, action, caring and love.

Andreas loved Kathleen. He was always a positive person, but he glowed from the moment he met her. He loved her more than anything else in his life. She completed his world and he completed hers.

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