Thursday, September 01, 2011

Ian Hendry – RIP

Before proceeding any further with SaaSintheUK I must pause to reflect on the passing of Ian Hendry. Like many others I knew Ian as the CEO & Founder of WeCanDo.BIZ. Unlike many others I hadn’t known him for very long and didn’t know him very well. And the meeting we intended will now never happen. Something suggested during our last telephone conversation, probably 2 months ago. Ian had just returned from an impromptu holiday, full of ideas for WCDB and excitement at finalising some major deals he’d been working on. I recall some mention of sickness, but thought no more of it, until the shock announcement a couple of weeks ago, that he’d “passed away after a short illness”! Suffice to say this was a major shock.

Our paths crossed because of my brief flirtation with cloud CRM. Ian belonged to that rare group of industry veterans; brought up in the old school software ways and acutely aware that there was no place for it in the modern world: that the traditional ways of doing software and in particular CRM, just don’t cut it, but that also understands that those humble enough to admit this and why, to learn from the mistakes of the past etc, have a helluva lot to give in ‘the brave new SaaS world’. Not only that (to qualify for that ‘rare group’), he was prepared to give industry non-veterans - who are only involved because the ‘brave new world’ is far more relevant - the time of day.

That very first telephone conversation, less than a year ago, was the best part of 2 hours. There would be a handful more of similar duration up until the last time we spoke. For no other reason than that he was just very easy to talk to and a genuine nice guy. He appreciated the viewpoint of someone who had no real interest in software as was, only in software as is and as it might be and will be. When his name appeared on your caller ID, you really didn’t mind cutting into your working day either when he called out of the blue, chatting, gossiping and shooting the breeze, as well as the nitty gritty; and it passed so quickly. I would not be surprised to hear that others had similar experiences and a similar view.

Receiving the news was a real slap in the face. It’s a stark reminder of life’s fundamentals that one easily forgets. They say its life’s only guarantee along with taxes. It’s also true the greater the role death plays in one’s life as one ages – like a mathematical equation. It’s a cliché, but it really does make you take stock.

Ian had put considerable effort and resources into WeCanDo.Biz, along with his biz partner, Chris Butler, focusing hard on providing a social business network that provides tangible benefits. They have a loyal customer core in a very competitive space. The challenges I don’t envy. This is going to be a hard fought arena over the coming years. The irony being that he won’t be around to see the future success after putting in the hard yards. If you’ve felt frustration at the lack of tangible benefits provided by many of the networks please do check out WeCanDo.BIZ.

Likewise he won’t be around to see me get SaaSintheUK out of the door, rather than just talking about it. He was aware of my plans and he’d appreciate that I’ve actually done it at last. One’s time is finite. Leaving things to tomorrow is not the best strategy. With that in mind I dedicate this to Ian’s memory.

I know Ian had plenty of closer friends than I, far more qualified to comment on this sad news, but I could not let it pass.

To all those who were close to Ian and especially his close family who must be feeling his loss deeply, our heartfelt condolences.

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