Ian and I worked together in the city at a company called Situation Marketing – in fact, he was my first employee and was hired to help with the design of our websites.
I was actually looking for help for quite some time and my sister Simone called me and told me she had somebody I could talk to. My first reaction was, “Simone, I don’t think I can trust any of your friends” – which didn’t go over well. But, she insisted that Ian was different and that I should talk with him. After a quick phone call, I sat down with Ian in my office where I put a laptop on the table and said show me what you can do. He looked at me funny but I think enjoyed the unorthodox style and clearly showed me what he could do and, what I found most impressive, clearly explained what he couldn’t do. The next day I get an email saying “It was nice talking with you on the phone today. I am very interested in meeting you in person. Here are a couple websites I’ve done in the past 6 months.” He then listed out six websites labeling one with a special note that I always found very funny “I made this site in about 3 seconds, so it kind of sucks.” I loved his honesty, openness and knew we would mesh well. He ended that first email to me with the tone in which he really lived by. “I feel like every time I make a website it’s much better than the one that came before it. I learn so much each time.”
Anyone that has become familiar with Ian’s work would recognize the enormity of truth in that statement. He went from simply a web designer to our creative director. For those of you that didn’t hear about Ian’s work life – he was a rockstar, revolutionary in the theatrical space. He created websites and experiences online that have set the benchmark of excellence for those that will follow. We always laughed because neither of us had a theatre background nor could we understand why people had to sing to each other rather than just talk – but, over the past three years, his work has grown to be what is clearly THE BEST in our industry. If you bought a ticket to a Broadway show online, odds are his hands were on it.
Beyond his amazing design work, Ian was just my overall go-to guy. He was the “don’t worry, I’ll take care of it” guy. He was the one who always had my back. He was loyal to me and I felt the same loyalty to him and we had a working relationship that can never be replaced. As we grew from just Ian and I to about 16 employee’s today, Ian was always concerned about the health of the company. He had a “we” mindset rather than “me”. “Can we afford to hire three more people?” he would ask. I would say “yes, trust me…”even though I wasn’t really sure we could afford it. He trusted me and put his faith in my decisions and continued to step up when I needed him the most. Without Ian, Situation Marketing would not have grown to where it is today. I think he knew that and took great pride in it.
Ian really cared a lot about his fellow workers – more than I believe they know today. Ian was never one for showing public affection so his words weren’t always the most accurate indicator of his emotions. It was often in his actions where Ian showed his true colors. He always wanted to ‘give’ to others before to himself – a trait I always admired. In many private meetings we had, he would lobby for the others in the office. “We need to buy this writing tablet for Jackie” or, “Hey, I think you should buy Tom the new Mac computer.” Or, sometimes he would just toss me an email saying why can’t everyone be like Lisa.
Ian had high standards that he expected himself to exceed as well as others around him. He thrived on learning and problem solving so he clearly could not tolerate incompetence. I can’t tell you how many times he said, “I just don’t understand why people can’t do what they are supposed to do.” It drove him absolutely nuts. This was true on whether we were talking about the person that fixes our printer or the chef that prepared his hamburger the wrong way.
I will miss Ian so much. We went through a lot together in such a short period of time. We had a ton of laughs, a few screaming matches and plenty of office moves. Whether it’s just laughing about the previous night’s OFFICE episode, talking about music production (something we both loved) or simply talking through our daily task list, things just won’t be the same without him.
I think Ian’s family should be very proud. You raised an incredible young man. Beyond being an amazing musician and a creative genius, Ian had a heart of gold and a work-ethic that we should all aspire to. While his loss is devastating, I can assure you his legacy of both the work he created and the way in which he did it will remain front and center with myself and those that worked with him.
I will miss him very much. Thank you.