I flew up to San Francisco yesterday for the honor of being best man in the wedding of Rob Lord and Patti Roll. It was pretty much perfect, from the cable cars that took the guests to the beach, to the Blue Angels flying over our heads as we crossed the Golden Gate bridge, to the ceremony officiated by Ross, to the incredible food at Chez Spencer, to the human-power-generated dance party led by MC Fossil Fool. A few of us stood up and said a few words about Rob and Patti. Here’s what I had to say:
I met Rob nearly 15 years ago when the web was still young enough those of us doing web music all knew one another. It wasn’t until I visited rob in Sedona shortly after he joined Nullsoft we started to become close. I walked into his apartment, saw a stack of Bowie CDs with Belle and Sebastian’s “If You’re Feeling Sinister” on top, and a friendship was born in earnest. I thought I was flying to Sedona for a job interview, but I was starting one of the most important friendships of my life.
Rob has been a friend, mentor, and a true inspiration. We shared a passion — for music, technology, change — but rob had a breadth of perspective I hadn’t experienced before. Our shared tastes in music and lifestyle made transition from debate or work to fun seamless, something I took for granted then but have a huge appreciation for now. We were a great team, compliments in a bunch of ways, grounded in the same idealism and motivations.
At some point Rob made it his mission to make me successful. He told me I could do things I never dreamed I could, and with his encouragement I even did some of them. He paid my rent for more than a year while we built a company together. His belief in me and generosity is the reason I can afford to send Zoe to MIT today.
Patti, you and I don’t know each other that well yet, but I’ve nothing but glowing reviews of the you I’m getting to know. Rob’s a lucky man. Thanks so much for opening your home to me when I visit the city. I’m looking forward to spending time with you in the years to come.
As I’m sure you know as well as anyone, while Rob has settled a bit in recent years, Rob the idealist remains strong and can be frustrating at times, as former execs from both AOL and Yahoo! can attest (though the fact is both companies would be better off today if they’d has the balls to listen to him then). Still, even though I’ve probably seen Rob at his most difficult, I’ve never seen him motivated by greed or selfishness. Hopefully you’ll be able to appreciate and respect this brilliant and generous person, even when he’s a total pain in the ass. I’ll tell you from experience, this is what it takes.
Personally I feel truly blessed to have Rob in my life and Patti I can only hope your experience is similar and that the two of you compliment each other to make a great but very different kind of team. Congrats and love to you both.
Rob and me at an AOL all hands meeting at Magic Mountain, 1999: