It is an honor for me to be able to celebrate the life of my brother, Dean. I feel privileged to be able to share with you on how he touched many lives, including my own.
Dean and I first met on July 6, 2007 – when he came to interview at Apple. The entire team was impressed. Polished, energetic, passionate was how the team described him. What we all felt that Friday in 2007 stayed true every single day.
We started to work together as part of the Portables team on Aug 20th that year. Well, it took a couple of steps. Good people like Dean, are always in demand. First, I had to win the contest with the iMac product team. Second, I had to strike a deal with Dean –regarding his start date. The schedule I had proposed originally – including a trip to China, overlapped with one that he had already planned with Victoria and the kids. Though I knew how eager he was to get started, I was impressed by how deftly he managed his priorities and how he always had them in the right order!. At work, he immersed himself and very quickly became a benchmark for the sorts of talent we wanted to recruit into Apple.
It is always fun to watch Dean, especially when he is on the move – literally and figuratively. It was hard to keep up with him – be it when we walked to meetings or when he jumped into action. We joked about his hockey glides and why he has to slow down for the ones who walked. There was something in him that made his energy both incessant and infectious.
Dean was the epitome of teamwork and leadership. He was the master collaborator and had the rare ability to care and connect with anyone. He went about his work with such vigor, diligence and optimism that everyone loved working with him. We had more than our share of challenges during the development and launch of products. But, he was always poised and took great comfort in the fact that the ‘view will be worth the climb’. And it soon became our team’s mantra. The products he helped launch bear testimony to how much he loved his work and the team.
Though I moved to a different team in 2009, we always stayed in touch. He was a trusted friend. I always felt proud about how well he recruited, mentored and built his team. I relished the sight of how he interacted with them- there was always a certain rhythm and rigor to it.
In April last year, when I returned to Product Operations and ended up sitting next to him, we both were extremely happy. Being the morning person he was, most of our days began with a quick chat. We passed by each other many times in a day or dropped in every so often. Besides the friendship, there was a key benefit to sitting next to Dean. Food was just a few steps away- especially the healthy kind.
Dean oozed passion. It was second nature to him. He applied himself completely – whether it was to solve the toughest of issues at work or when he was making decisions to buy his next camera or car.
Talking about car.. Though I had seen his new Audi many times, a drive was long overdue. He sold me on how much he liked the near by vegetarian Greek food… So, we got into the car.. and true to Dean, I got a very detailed ‘tour’ of all of the features. Few minutes into the drive, it was time for him to show me the most important feature. the retractable roof. It was a windy day. He gave me the “Will you be OK?” look. When I said, ‘ Go ahead.. you are not going to make me have a bad hair day”. He laughed. And we laughed all the way to the restaurant. Little did I know then that it would be the last time I went out to lunch with him.
Dean won everyone’s hearts in a flash with his magnetic smile. There was something magical. To all of us, it was the window into his sincere and compassionate soul.
Two weeks ago, when I moved to a different building, he chided me and said, “ come back frequently to chat with me”. I absolutely will Dean, as I know you will be listening intently.
Dean, we are all better people because we knew you and worked with you. When Nelson Mandela said, “ A good head and a good heart are always a formidable combination”, I am sure he had you in mind.
You are truly an angel who came to help us and now have returned home. Many of us will live longer and love our family, friends and colleagues better because of how you have influenced and inspired us. You will forever live in our hearts and we will take the best care of your family.
Rest in Peace, my brother!
– Sathy Venkatachalam