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.”
Post and thumbnail images courtesy of Flickr user Chris Tingom