Patrick McGovern, founder and chairman of International Data Group (IDG), passed away March 20th. He was 76 years old and left behind an amazing record of creating companies that fostered the growth of the information technologies market and both gathered and distributed news and information.
I had the honor of meeting him on several occasions while at International Data Corporation, a subsidiary of IDG. He presented the image of being jolly and extremely friendly. While that image was largely true, he was a far more complex man. His knowledge of the IT market was deep and very broad. He didn't just know about technology, however. He thought about what it did, what it could do and the potential impact it would have on all of us.
On several occasions, I saw Pat sitting in the front row in the auditorium when I was presenting research done by my team at IDC. He had reports I had authored in his hands. The reports were marked up in seveal different highlighter colors. I was surprised that the chairman of such a large enterprise had taken the time to read something I had written about the system software or virtualization technology markets.
After the sessions, he always came up to me and commented on both the style and substance of my presentation. He always asked soft-sounding, but very insightful questions that demonstrated that he understood the topic, had thought about it at great length and wanted to know more. Sometimes, he appeared to be thinking about creating a new journal or website. Other times, he wanted my opinion of a startup that IDG Ventures, his venture capital firm, was evaluating. I always came away impressed by both his respect of the people on his extended team and his drive to help the industry understand itself.
He will be missed.