Category Archives: Friends

Farewell to China and my friend Robert

Dr. Robert LaiOn June 25th Dr. Robert Lai (Mr. Lai Chi Tau) Chief Scientist of China’s Cyber Recreational District (CRD) passed away in his sleep at the age of 50. I met Robert at the Virtual Worlds Conference and Expo (VWCE) and in November I had the privilege to be invited by Robert to speak at the Virtual World Summit a part of the ICCIE Summit. As his guest I got to know Robert and came to regard him as a friend.

We all have aspirations great and small. Though he had lived his life as a scientist and teacher and was at that time the public face of the CRD, Robert’s dream was a modest retirement on a hillside in China. The CRD was to be his last task before relaxing and living the simple life. It saddens me to think Robert won’t get that chance. I hope he was dreaming that dream the night he left us in his sleep.

Robert was a man who you could not help but like. A man who you felt you could trust and who regardless of what happened around him would treat you with respect. He had an infectious love of life that was only tempered by the his role and place in the world. I will miss my friend Robert and how he represented to me the many sides of China as it enters this brave new world.

Farewell to our friend Robert, you will always be China to me.

Greg, Robert, Marty, Damon, Chris

Left to right: Greg, Robert, Marty, Damon, Chris

What is SPAM?

SAPMTo a previous post, MaxS commented that my reaction to SPAM was different than his and particularly to that of teenagers and young adults (Millennials).

SPAM is in the eye of the beholder. The point of the other article is not whether we should consider one thing or another SPAM based on frequency or other metrics, but instead that we should pay attention to how our perceptions of the source color our assessment.

There is a double standard that we take for granted. We classify companies and people of authority differently in our minds than we do friends. The type of interactions we expect are completely different.

Regardless of the generation if someone radically changes the interaction context on us (turning mentoring or friendship into marketing) then we are going to view that as betrayal of our perception of what we have signed up for. I give you permission to be my friend, not sell me a car.

In the end while we may each have different ideas of what constitutes SPAM it all comes down to unwanted or inappropriate interactions as colored by our perception of the source of those interactions. Appropriate interactions build trust and “Social Capital”, inappropriate ones tear it down.

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas
Holidays are a time to reassess and reconnect with friends and community. Wherever you are, with friends or family, we wish you and yours a wonderful holiday season and a fine new year.

Merry Christmas, and remember to Drink Eggnog Responsibly!


Please note that Christmas is in fact not only a celebration of Christian beliefs, but coincides with and in part may be substituted for celebrations of “winter solstice”, the Roman “Saturnalia“ and “Dies Natalis Solis Invicti” and its progeny the “Twelve Days of Christmas“. Christmas is also coincides with the secular holiday of Chri$tma$$ celebrated throughout the world, but was perfected in the USA.

For the politically correct:

Please accept with no obligation, explicit or implicit, my best wishes for an environmentally conscious, socially responsible, low-stress, non-addictive, gender-neutral celebration of the winter solstice holiday, practiced within the most enjoyable traditions of the religious persuasion of your choice, or secular practices of your choice, with respect for the religious/secular persuasion and/or traditions of others, or their choice not to practice religious or secular traditions at all. I also wish you a fiscally successful, personally fulfilling and medically uncomplicated recognition of the onset of the generally accepted calendar year 2008, but not without due respect for the calendars of choice of other cultures whose contributions to society have helped make America great. Not to imply that America is necessarily greater than any other country nor the only America in the Western Hemisphere. Also, this wish is made without regard to the race, creed, color, age, physical ability, religious faith or sexual preference of the wished.

RIP, The last honorable man in Washington. I was saddened today when I came across a story about the death of Chuck Riechers, a person I had worked with and respected.

Chuck was a good guy who was incredibly smart and capable. One of the few straight shooters I know in Washington. He not only had a great reputation, but it was well earned.

I don’t know why he ended up killing himself. I know that the government can be a meat grinder, especially when you get to a high enough level. I got out of DOD contract work quite a while back to escape the drain it can be. I do not for a minute believe that Chuck did anything wrong. It just wasn’t his style.

No I believe that a good man got caught in the machinery of sensational news and government digression and his sensibilities made him do the “honorable” thing. It is a true shame when the system harms the true heroes it was put in place to support.

All that aside, I salute you Chuck and all that you were. I support your friends and family in thier morning and will always remember Chuck as the great guy that he was.