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RIP Jay Cross: The Kingdom of Ideas

There have been two people who have loomed large over my thinking about education, learning, technology, and social interaction: Stephen Downes and Jay Cross. Both were my earliest contact points in blogging about learning and technology. Both have been exceptionally generous with their time, with their ideas, and with their support and networking. I can’t imagine where I would be without either as they have been a strand through my thinking about innovation and learning since early 2000.

Today I heard the devastating news that Jay Cross had suddenly passed away. It was draining and numbing news. Many colleagues have already shared their shock, pain, and sorrow: Jane Hart, Curtis Bonk, Clark Quinn, and Alan Levine.

Jay was an exceptionally generous person. He built networks better than anyone I know. He connected with people across business, academia, and roughly any sector. He invested in people. He invested in relationships. I learned the importance of keeping in touch with people through Jay’s modelling. I learned the importance of story telling. I learned the importance of having big, sloppy ideas. I’m privileged to have known Jay. I wish, as all of his connections and friends do now, that I had been more “like Jay” in my friendship toward him.

In 2002 when I was setting up elearnspace, I interviewed Jay. From our discussion:

Intellectually, it’s a great time to be alive. One can have a whole lot of fun, there are no boundaries to what one can do. Intangibility is great! The kingdom of ideas is upon us!

Thank you Jay for being a tinkerer, a mentor, a friend. I will miss you. RIP Jay.