Guy Kewney, one of the finest journalists I have ever had the honour of working with, passed away in the early hours of this morning after a long and brave battle with cancer.
Like so many people, I grew up reading Guy’s articles in magazines like Personal Computing World, Computing and PC Magazine. His work always oozed enthusiasm for good technology, delight at the good decisions of those charged with running the technology companies of the day, along with frustration at bad technology that could and should be better and annoyance at the silly decisions that held back progress. Through it all, Guy had a passion for technology, and for sharing insight, advice and guidance with the rest of us.
Tucked away inside that wise mind was an excited five-year old that wanted to escape and play with as much shiny stuff as possible and then share everything about it with the world (and usually break it – we never figured out how he managed to turn so much stuff into doorstops, but he always found a way). One of Guy’s greatest skills was being able to channel that sense of boyish wonder into clear, concise and informative articles that could appeal to everyone, without losing that sense of excitement and passion.
Over the last 20 years I’ve been fortunate enough to work with Guy in a number of guises. We worked together for many years at VNU – his desk used to be a few feet away from mine – and we would regularly share ideas, information, event invites and even review kit. Before that, Guy was one of the journalists who went out of his way to help me when I was a young and naive freelancer, trying to make some progress in the world of technology journalism.
Guy was one of the first people to offer me a helping hand, looking out for me at events, pointing me in the right direction and making sure I met the right people.
For many years Guy wrote for the publications and sections I’ve edited, such as Data Business, IT PRO, and the technology sections of Computing. As a commissioning editor, working with Guy was always fun, not because copy was late or anything (it never was), rather having conversations with him to flesh out a commission were as much fun as reading the finished article. He would always find a way to make a planned article even better, and his enthusiasm and passion never waned.
Press trips play an integral role in how we work and Guy and I went on more press trips together than either of us could remember. Nonetheless, there are several that will forever stand out.
At CeBIT, he would always keep an eye out for me and would make sure I didn’t get lost in the chaos. There were many trips with Microsoft, including the ‘fishing hats’ trip to Copenhagen for Microsoft’s IT Forum when the anecdotes and stories were flying to-and-fro for the entire trip. Not to mention trips that took us all over America and Europe in search of new technologies and new insights into computing. These were magical times, and sharing them with Guy made them all the more special.
Guy and I were on our last press trip together in Faro, Portugal at the end of 2008. It was a networking industry conference and we were able to enjoy the last of the summer sunshine before winter set in. I will always remember our last day, swapping notes and thoughts as we filed our last pieces of copy before settling down to a much needed beer and a chat as we relaxed before the flight home.
The encouragement and concern he showed for me in my early days remained twenty years later, when it was announced that I was leaving IT PRO. Guy was the first person to call me, not to ask about copy deadlines or his outstanding invoices, he just wanted to make sure I was OK.
It is one of many memories of Guy I will treasure forever.
Guy was a kind, caring and selfless person, and these qualities alone make him irreplaceable.
We miss you Guy. Thank you for everything.