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Allen Stern, blogging pioneer and entrepreneur, passes away — we will miss you Allen

Allen Stern, an early blogger as well as an entrepreneur and an all-around great human being, passed away last week, according to an update posted on his Facebook page by his sister Sari Rosenberger. The cause of death was not clear, but his loss triggered an outpouring of condolences from those who had known him — both in person and through his blog, Twitter and other social networks.

Before blogging became a big business, Stern created a tech blog called Center Networks, which became a go-to destination for many in the early Web 2.0 movement. Later, he sold that business and shifted focus to a new startup called CloudContacts — and more recently, he moved from his home town of New York to Austin, Texas to start a company called Let’s Talk Fitness.


Having struggled with his weight for much of his life, Stern poured his energy into becoming more healthy, and had lost more than 125 pounds in the past year or so, according to his friend Louis Gray. His most recent business was aimed at helping others achieve similar results with the use of fruit and vegetable smoothies and other products, and he had built a large following for his newsletter.

Here’s what Om had to say about Allen:

“He was a stand-up guy and always spoke his mind. He never took to fools and as a result always found himself defending those who couldn’t defend themselves. I met him once, briefly at a Techcrunch 50 event, but we were internet friends and often exchanged Facebook and Twitter messages. He was always in good cheer, ready to share a moment of sadness and spread the happiness. As a fellow Yankees fan, he and I would often talk baseball during our exchanges.”


Louis Gray, a startup advisor who now works at Google and wrote a remembrance of his friend on his blog, had this to say:

“I’ll miss Allen. I missed it when he stopped posting as regularly to CenterNetworks as he once did. But more, I’ll miss the fun email threads and fun phone cals that always left me laughing and feeling better. Death sucks and tonight, I’m sad. Bye, Allen.”


Others have also posted their memories of Stern, including Dan Lewis — who founded the site ArmchairGM and is now the director of new media for Sesame Workshop — and another early blogger named Duncan Riley, who said Allen would be sorely missed by friends who “came to appreciate a big guy with a huge heart who spoke as we all should: honestly and from the heart.” Author and entrepreneur Jesse Stay posted on his Google+ page:

“This is devastating news – even though we never met in person (but I sincerely hoped to, and have had numerous remote video conversations with him), I considered Allen Stern a dear friend of mine. He always knew how to lift people up and make them laugh. I sincerely enjoyed his health posts as of recent, and am very sad to hear of his death. This was way too soon, and many, I’m sure are mourning with me.”


As tech blogging became more and more of a cut-throat business, Allen remained a personal friend to most, and was always sincere in his openness to others. As Om put it: “The world just got a lot less nicer because of this one subtraction. Give heaven a taste of your heaven, Allen — you will be missed by me and thousands of others whose lives you touched.”

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Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Flickr user Chris Tingom

3 Responses to “Allen Stern, blogging pioneer and entrepreneur, passes away — we will miss you Allen”

  1. Duncan Riley

    I’m named an early blogger Matthew..well, i”ll give you credit that you called me out in my appreciation of a guy I loved, and I can’t knock you for that…even if I’m apparently so insignificant now ;)

  2. I personally think your article is awesome! I am intrigued with much of your information and am persuaded to agree with you after reading your material. I’m hoping you’ll add more articles on this topic.

  3. I knew Allen for 5 years, worked for him for 3-1/2. I’m still in shock and I don’t know as I will ever get over that shock. I’m 54 years old and I can honestly say Allen was one of the best employers I ever had, he was also a friend. I can’t express how sincere, funny, compassionate, kind and all out wonderful that he was. All I can say is my little corner of the planet is much emptier without him in it.

  4. Adrian Chan

    Very sad – and especially given his incredible turnaround. I wrote for Allen in the early years of CenterNetworks and he was always just totally on it. Remember those video blogs? We should all pace ourselves. You’ll be missed Allen.

  5. Scott Monty

    So sorry to learn this news. Allen seemed to be doing so well and was always so upbeat. The handful of times that I hung out with him, I enjoyed the friendly sparring with him. He had a heart of gold. Many condolences to Allen’s friends and family.

  6. I will miss Allen. I got to know him when I was launching PubMatic, my first company in the Web 2.0 era. Allen was a great journalist but more importantly a great person. Allen, we haven’t spoken in years but I still remember our conversations fondly. You will be missed!

  7. Gary Vaynerchuk

    He was such a good guy, I havent spoken to him in years but the picture above is a dinner at which we were together at, he is wearing a Wine Library TV wristband in it :( He will be missed by many

  8. Devastating news, felt closer to him that the vast majority of people I’ve come across on the interwebs. I hope his close friends and family have fond memories to treasure.

  9. When Louis shared the news last night, I thought about what ‘community’ means. Allen was a big part of friendfeed for me. Those were wonderful days watching the web speed up to real-time. Allen’s enthusiasm just lifted you. I’ll remember his great laugh and that huge grin.

  10. Robert Scoble

    I just woke up to this news. I can’t believe it. He was just getting in shape after being very obese for a long time. He was such an inspiration to me for doing that. But I’ve been following him for years, reading everything he wrote. His business also scanned thousands of business cards for me. This is indeed a huge loss for our community and a deep reminder again that all we have is now. Great guy, I will miss him.

    • I’m stunned by this. I spoke to him not long again and we were always encouraging each other for our new health endeavors. He surpassed my weightloss of 70 pounds by dropping over 125…and he was only getting started. I will miss him greatly.

  11. shafqatislam

    Really sad. He took the time to email us when we were just a bunch of kids starting a company and one else took us seriously. I’ll never forget that – a big heart, and a big loss for us.

  12. He was so generous in giving his time and experience to people who were new to the tech world. He had seen a lot of companies, trends and people come and go and had the knowledge that comes from living through a lot of cycles of hype and being able to see true utility behind all of the promotional BS that comes with the release of every new product. He was a very busy guy but would take time to respond to email messages from strangers like myself back when I first got on Twitter five years ago. I hadn’t been talking as much with him as much since he moved to Austin which I now regret. He, truly, was one of the good guys.