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In Remembrance of Jeremy Geelan By @IoT2040 @CloudExpo

Jeremy was, to use an overused word, a visionary

I'm going to cry tonight, long and hard. I'll do so as I remember and mourn Jeremy Geelan.

I knew Jeremy for almost 20 years, from the time he showed up one day at Cloud Expo's headquarters in Bergen County, New Jersey, and went to work. The show wasn't called Cloud Expo then, of course - it was still known as Java Edge, a pioneering event that grabbed developers, architects, and enterprise IT users alike for twice-yearly confabs.

Jeremy didn't have a job there, or even a job offer. He was simply a fan of the technology and the show. So when his wife, a Danish diplomat, was relocated to the UN in New York, Jeremy literally sprang into action and made himself at home at the show's office.

At the time, I'd been advising the owners about their direction and operations, but wanted to hedge my bets and keep my own research company active; I didn't want to jump into the deep end of the pool for Java Edge - Jeremy did.

After a few years in New York, he would travel with his family to a new diplomatic post per the wishes of Her Majesty's government - to Tallinn, Sarajevo, Nicosia, and finally, Kathmandu - making him unavailable now and then for the show. I would get occupied with some project or another here and there, making me unavailable now and then.

So over the years, he and I would frequently trade positions as Conference Chair of Java Edge and then Cloud Expo. Close in age, we would differentiate ourselves to other people by referring to ourselves and each other as "the British one" (Jeremy) or "the American one" (me).

I've now held the position since 2013, but sadly, there will be no more trading.

Both of us claimed first use of "good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are." Both of us claimed to be the co-founder of Cloud Expo. Both of us grudgingly ceded the interviewer's chair at SYS-CON.TV when the other was around.

This dramatic tension inspired the two of us to have great, long conversations, email exchanges, and visits over the years. There was one particularly liquid week-end in Tallinn that neither of us remembered well but during which both of us were sure we accomplished a lot.

Jeremy had superhuman physical strength - a crushing handshake, an ability to snap off brisk 10-mile runs at 6 am, and a seemingly inexhaustible energy. None of us who knew him well had ever seen him actually sleep. For f---king cancer to have finally taken his life is as ironic as it is unfair and tragic. Until he got sick a few years ago, he was among the healthiest and health-conscious people on the planet.

Jeremy was also, to use an overused word, a visionary. He really could see into the future, stitching together historical insights with modern trends to guide us less enlightened folks along the path. In his final years, he spent his time enlightening as many people as possible about the Internet of Things and its potential not just to do cool stuff, but to improve the lot of all the billions of people in the world.

Some people are comfortable speaking at the so-called 35,000-foot level. Jeremy was more an orbital type, who could not only reach world leaders with his vision, but could have also advised aliens on their future had any ever landed on the Earth.

I could never match the charm of his "BBC accent," his limitless enthusiasm, or his innate ability to persuade people to appear on the Cloud Expo stage and tell our audience what was going on in their worlds. I hope I've been able to take the best of what he offered and integrate it into my own work.

And now he is gone. I send my deepest condolences to his wife and children, and all who loved him. Farewell, old friend, and good morning, good afternoon, good evening, wherever you are.

More Stories By Roger Strukhoff

Roger Strukhoff (@IoT2040) is Executive Director of the Tau Institute for Global ICT Research, with offices in Illinois and Manila. He is Conference Chair of @CloudExpo & @ThingsExpo, and Editor of SYS-CON Media's CloudComputing BigData & IoT Journals. He holds a BA from Knox College & conducted MBA studies at CSU-East Bay.

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