An Appreciation: Goodbye Guy

Wayne Rash

Some people have referred to the late, legendary, Guy Kewney as the first dedicated technology journalist. I don't know whether that's true, but I do know that he was one of the first, and he was certainly the first to dedicate his career to covering information technology. I first met him shortly after that, back when I was writing for Byte Magazine in the days before the IBM PC existed. Guy Kewney died last week in London, surrounded by his family. He was 63.

By focusing first on the earliest of what would someday be called personal computers, Guy was also the first to bring the potential of these devices to light. It was Guy Kewney who interviewed people like Bill Gates back in the days before he was famous, and before he sold something called MS-DOS to IBM.

Guy's career ran the full length of the technology revolution, and he was one of its most influential practitioners. Guy worked for years for Ziff Davis in the UK, and during his tenure he was in a position referred to as an 'Editorial Fellow.' This meant that he could cover what he wished, because his editors knew it would be important.

We first met at a computer show around 1980. He was the Brit that everyone seemed to know. I was still in the Navy, writing about technology on weekends (it was allowed back then). We had a beer or two together and over the course of the years became friends. As the years went on and the fortunes of computer and technology publications changed, we worked from time to time as competitors and as colleagues, but we were always friends.

On trips to London, I would visit Guy and his family in their delightful and happy home. Our daughters became friends one summer and spent a week enjoying the London club scene. Guy, meanwhile, was always there. Regardless of where I went in the world on a press trip, Guy would be there as well. We lunched on the square in Sintra, Portugal, watching the festivities as that nation started its adoption of the Euro. We met many times at events in the U.S.

Once, at a trade show in Atlanta, Guy had his briefcase stolen, so he and I spent the day getting a replacement for his passport. My story for the day didn't get written, but we took care of Guy. The last time I saw Guy was at the CeBIT trade show in Hannover, Germany, three years ago. We met at one of those endless press events and had a brief chat and a drink, and promised to meet up again for dinner and a drink before we each left for home.

Unfortunately, that didn't happen, and it was on a call to Guy to discuss how we were going to have that drink the following year that I first learned of his diagnoses of cancer. I had been fighting my own battle with cancer at the time, and I remember suggesting a visit to Johns Hopkins where mine had been cured. But alas, technology writers here and there can't really afford such things. He did the best he could, and he continued to sound hopeful on our occasional chats, but it was clear that the signs weren't good. When I spoke with his family after he died, I learned that he went peacefully but perhaps with some regret.

So now, dear friend, I guess we'll have to wait a little while to have that drink and dinner, but I'm sure there will come a time in that place where journalists go on the other side when we can raise that pint again. So it's time to say farewell, Guy. My family will miss you, I will miss you. But most of all, our industry and our profession will miss your intelligence, your wit and your talent. Goodbye, Guy.

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Apr 22, 2010 12:04 AM Anonymous Anonymous  says:
Guy: the man in sandals, at least with socks in the dead of winter. On a sleigh ride in Bavaria in the dead of winter. One of a kind, the good kind. Reply

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