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February 28, 2012

David Yedwab RIP - 'What a Ride!'

By Peter Bernstein, Senior Editor

I was heart sick to learn last week of the passing of my good friend and industry analyst extraordinaire David Yedwab. My colleague, TMC (News - Alert) CEO Rich Tehrani, wrote a wonderful obituary about David for his February 24 blog.   I am writing not just because of the loss to the TMCnet family, which valued so greatly David’s contributions, but because having just shared a cup of coffee with him (he was rarely without one in hand) a few weeks ago in Miami at our ITEXPO (News - Alert) East show, I know he would enjoy a few words from me. He always did no matter the subject or how crazy he thought I might be, which was fairly often.  He was one of a kind. 

In fact, the great thing about David, who I had the pleasure of knowing for over 35 years, was that we never had just a few words.   We always had lots of them. Whether the topic was the latest industry developments, his love of bonsai, comparing notes on our respective travels, catching up on family, or talking cars and racing, he had true passion for his passions. He possessed not just an incisive mind but also a sweet nature that is rare in this world and will be sorely missed. 

David and I were fierce competitors in the industry analyst business for several decades. This never got in the way of us being great friends. We always shared insights, argued vigorously and never ceased to have a good laugh over the landscape we commented on. From different perspectives we tended more often than not to be perplexed by the industry we both love’s inability to reach its full potential and relished our extensive bull sessions on it. Fortunately, David reached his potential. Those of us who do this for a living are better for him having done so.

I used to see him ten to fifteen times a year. I cherished the analyst relations meetings we had with industry luminaries around the world.  I can still hear his voice politely questioning the sanity of somebody’s technology, marketing strategy, channel programs, etc. David, as the other industry analysts will validate, always had questions. Indeed, much to the consternation of vendor executives he always had follow-ups and more follow-ups.  He was respectful but never off point. His knowledge of our industry was encyclopedic. I will confess that when I had questions, he was the person I called.

We all have our David stories. Mine involves sitting in the Hoffbrauhaus in Munich during a Siemens (News - Alert) event. A group of us American analysts mistakenly sat down at the table reserved for a Bavarian lumberjack club right by the oompah band. A 300 plus pound lumberjack in full lederhosen sat down next to us. He was very angry.  He started telling us in German (and I will be polite) to “get lost.” Without missing a beat, David flagged down a waitress, bought the gentleman a beer, and not only managed to get him to allow us to stay but somehow got him to buy us a round of beer. To this day, since I do not remember David being able to speak German, I have no idea what he said. All I remember was feeling very light-headed when we left and seeing Hans give David a huge bear hug. 

That was David. He was scary smart, an amazing raconteur with a scope of interests that never ceased to amaze me. He was immensely likable and never unable to take the time to listen or share that treasure trove of knowledge. I know I speak for all of us who were fortunate enough to have been able to call him friend as well as colleague in saying events just won’t be the same without him there. 

At the moment I can’t bring myself to erase his contact information. I keep reaching for the phone to call him and ask him what he thinks of all the hubbub about his passing. I know he would have plenty of comments.  Delete seems such a harsh and impersonal thing to do. I am going to just leave it be.

David, as I mentioned, was a car and race car fanatic. He liked NASCAR but loved open wheel racing, be it Indy car or Formula One. He seemingly knew everything there was to know about the sport and got me hooked. Some of my fondest memories were when David would pick me up for lunch. We’d take some detours so he could show me whatever his latest toys were and demonstrate his driving skills, which were prodigious. We’d get to our destination and he’d look at me and say, “What a ride!” Yes, David it was quite a ride. It just ended too soon.

RIP hardly covers it. One thing I do know. If there is a heaven, God is going to have one great conversationalist to interact with on an incredible variety of subjects and a spectacular garden. I wish David’s family nothing but smiles and sweet memories. He was a fantastic person in every respect and my condolences go out to his family. Just the thought of him will always bring a smile to my face and lightness in my heart.  

Edited by Rich Steeves
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