Mike Manos writes a post saying Adieu to Olivier after talking to Olivier’s brother and wife in France. I couldn’t agree more with what Mike writes in his post. Mike and Olivier are special people in the data center industry and I had the pleasure of making sure Olivier and Mike met in person at Data Center Dynamics SF in July 2009 when Olivier was still at eBay and Mike was with Digital Realty Trust. It would be a bit harder to arrange a meeting with Mike at Nokia and Olivier at Apple, but as Mike says.
Many people know the public Olivier, the Olivier they saw at press conferences, or speaking engagements, and the like. Some of us, got to know Olivier much better. The data center industry is small indeed and those of us who have had the pleasure and terror at working in the worlds largest infrastructures know a special kind of bond. We routinely meet off-hours and have dinner and drinks. Its a small cadre of names you probably know, or have heard about, joined in the fact that we have all dealt with or are dealing with challenges most data center environments will never see. In these less formal affairs, company positions melted away, technological challenges came to the fore, and most importantly the real people behind these companies emerge. In these forums, you could always count on Olivier to be a warm and calming force. He was incredibly intelligent, and although he might disagree, you could count on him to champion the free discussion of ideas.
Mike does a good job of describing why I also enjoyed hanging out with Olivier.
Olivier was the type of person who could light up a room with his mere presence. It was as if he embraced the entire room in one giant hug even if they were strangers. He could sit quietly mulling a topic, pensively going through his calculations and explode into the conversation and rigorously debate everyone. That passion never belied his ability to learn, to adapt, to incorporate new thinking into his persona either. Through the years we knew each other I saw him forge his ideas through debate, always evolving.
The last time I saw Olivier in person was at SVLG’s Data Center Energy Efficiency summit where we sat together critiquing the presentations. A confession, Olivier and I were so busy talking which is why I couldn’t live blog the event. Spending time with Olivier was always enjoyable and took priority.
Olivier’s energy will be sorely missed by those of us who got to spend time with him.
It was in those types of forums where I truly met Olivier. The man who was so dedicated to his family, and the light of his life little Emilie. His honesty and direct to the point style made it easy to understand where you stood, and where he was coming from.
More information about memorial services and the like will be coming out shortly and they are trying to get the word out to all of his friends.
The world has lost a great mind, Apple has lost a visionary, His family has lost their world, and I have lost a good friend.
Adieu, Dear Olivier, You and your family will be in my thoughts and prayers.
Olivier’s passion is well expressed from his Facebook page.
My daddy is going to "Think Different"...
An event 20 years in the making... I am going to fulfill a long time dream and join Apple next month to lead their Data Center team.
I absolutely LOVED my time at eBay. Some of the smartest, most passionate and amazing people work here; I am leaving far too soon... but I cannot believe that I came all the way here and would pass on this opportunity...
This was by far the hardest decision I ever had to make professionally, but as my next CEO once said: "have the courage to follow your heart and
intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become."