When our CEO called for a mandatory company wide meeting in five minutes, I knew something bad had happened. Jake, a young, smart, rising star product manager at SecondMarket had passed away.
I don’t think I’ve ever known someone who has died. I mean, I knew my grandparents, but they were old. Classmates of mine at Columbia have died, but I barely knew them. I’ve never lost someone my age who I was close with. (Let alone someone several years my junior)
I interviewed Jake for an entry level position about a year ago, and he really impressed me. He was mature beyond his years and confident, but not overly so. His role wasn’t going to be major: handle the WordPress site, and be an understudy to the product owner.
Wow did he grow quickly. Within six months, he was the product manager of the consumer team. I once asked the lead engineer of that team: “If you could work on any of the products here at SecondMarket, which one would you choose?” His response was “Whichever one Jake is working on.” And this is a guy who has worked at five or six start-ups, with a lot of great people.
I’m not going to claim that I was super close with Jake, but he was friendly, smart, hard-working and funny, and I will miss him both personally and professionally. SecondMarket as a whole is mourning today, and will be for some time to come.
Sincere condolences to his family and friends. Jake will be missed by all who knew him.