I was very sad to learn this week that one of the true pioneers of the technology communications industry, Pat McGovern, the president of International Data Group, died this week at the age of 76.
My first job in the technology communications industry was as a staff writer at IDG’s flagship publication, Computerworld. I quickly moved through the ranks to software editor and was there for a heady three years at the height of Computerworld’s reign as what my CW colleague Glenn Rifkin described as the industry’s “bible” in some very nice remarks about McGovern this morning on NPR:
“Pat McGovern was an amazing character. He generally rode underneath the radar – He was not one of those big publicity-seeking types, especially since he was a billionaire. And yet, his role in the high tech industry was quite influential, starting Computerworld in 1967. The publication that went on to become the bible of the high tech industry. He built an empire.”
“Quietly, [Pat] was incredibly influential because everybody who was interested in the IT profession had to read his publications to know what was going on.”
Despite, how huge that publication was and how massive Pat McGovern’s international empire of publications became, he still maintained a human touch to inspire his employees. Every holiday season he would come to our newsroom and, with Walter Boyd at his side to help him, he would not only personally hand out a bonus check to each of us, but he also had something to say to each person. I vividly remember him telling me how important software was to the industry and therefore how important the writing and editing I was doing was of value to Computerworld. I was many many layers below him in the organization, but I saw how he treated his employees and I saw his amazing entrepreneurial spirit. He’s one of a number of entrepreneurs who built technology communications that I’ve had the privilege to work for or with over the years. They have helped shape who I am and what I’ve carried with me to my own organization. And I thank them.
R.I.P. Mr. McGovern. You are gone too soon.