A memory of Patrick J McGovern

Many who work or have worked at an IDG title are saddened today by the loss of company founder, Patrick J. McGovern.

You see, McGovern had a talent for connecting with his people. We all met him, at least once, and he took time to be interested in each one of us.

I met him when in a previous life I found myself working as news editor of Macworld magazine in the UK. Early in that employment I spoke with him when he visited our office. He told me he'd liked the Mac, since he'd "seen the first one".

I'd only been with the company a short while at that time. I was a little over-awed to be meeting the big boss, but my news hound heart wouldn't let that go. I had to ask him: "When did you see your first Mac?"

His answer surprised me: "1983", he said. That's a year before the Mac hit retail. I'm still not sure if he was pulling my leg, but it's unlikely, given that IDG launched Macworld magazine when Apple launched its Mac.

He smiled gently at my evident shock and moved on to chat to one of my colleagues, but I knew I'd met a charming chap.

That memory endures.

McGovern understood the value of information.

He understood that with information people can figure out how to make new things happen. He understood that access to information drives technological evolution. He dedicated his life to this mission.

The technology media marketplace would not be as diverse without him. He entered publishing in the fifties, becoming Associate Editor and later Associate Publisher of the first US computer magazine. He founded Computerworld in 1967. He launched Macworld in 1984. Those are just two titles from his company's vast stable, spanning multiple markets, countries and technological interests.

McGovern's dedication to keeping information flowing in order to help inspire technology innovation made a real difference. "I wanted to bring the possibilities to people and get them stimulated about understanding how this technology could help," he said in 2000.

We who worked at his titles respected him because he understood the value of the information we try to bring you. We respected him because his commitment to that mission gave us all a chance to contribute to that flow. We respected him as someone who found a way to make these things happen.

But we liked him because, despite the size of his empire, McGovern made time to learn our names, meet us, and find out about us. He showed a generous humanity to all who worked with him. Consider this in light of his life's dedication to publishing information for the benefit of humanity, and perhaps you might understand why most at IDG are saddened today.

Rest in peace, Mr McGovern.

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