Ed Iacobucci, the Father of OS/2 and Citrix, among other visionary business ventures, passed away this morning in his home. He had fought a battle with pancreatic cancer for over a year.
Ed will be remembered by many people for many things. To those in the PC/desktop business, he’ll be most remembered for being the “Father of OS/2” and the Founder of Citrix. Many people knew Ed better than I but through my brief encounters he made a lasting impression as a fair and thankful visionary, businessman, and leader.
I started my technology career as an intern at DCA in 1992, writing technical press releases and setting up analyst briefings and such. To be honest, I was in over my head, not understanding much of what I wrote. One of the more innovative press releases I wrote was on a partnership between DCA and a little known company called Citrix based in Coral Springs, Fla. DCA and Citrix had partnered to allow users to dial in and become a node on the network to connect to a Citrix WinView session. As typical in Marketing, I crafted a draft quote for Ed. The press release was all but done and this lowly intern had still not heard back from Ed for his approval on the quote. Nervous, I called Citrix HQ (email was not intra-company at that time and there was no Internet to speak of) and ended up speaking to Ed with one transfer. I asked him if he’d seen the quote and what he thought. He said yes, “Who wrote this!?” My reply, “I did sir, it was only intended as a draft quote.” Ed replied, “Jason, it is spot on, good job.”
With one sentence Ed instilled all the confidence an intern needed to persevere in the face of my first technical job.
I went on to work for Citrix’s PR firm, Copithorne & Bellows, where I was the lead the Citrix account. I ended up co-writing some of the earlier product announcements for Citrix and crafting further draft quotes for Ed, including the first “WinFrame for Networks” Archived PR here. I have had a few jobs since then but have continued to associated with the Citrix community and Windows management products ever since.
Ed made another lasting impression on me at the first Citrix Thinergy (now called Synergy) in 1998. It was at the Dolphin Hotel at Disney. Ed took the time during the conference to walk over to every vendor’s booth, shake their hand, look them in the eye, and told them, “Thank you, for sponsoring our first show, we want you to grow with Citrix.” For companies that embrace and extend Citrix, the Citrix Ready group continues that philosophy today, I experience it firsthand.
Looking back at Ed’s accomplishments, I ponder one simple question, “How would my career have been different in the last two decades if Ed had not started Citrix and kick started the entire remote session Windows, and in turn, viable virtual desktop industry?” How many of you could ask yourself the same?
Is a simple thank you enough? Not nearly. So I decided to share my own personal thoughts of what Ed’s impact on the industry has been. My definition of a successful career is how many people did you help along the way? The ripple effect of Ed’s decisions can hardly be counted. Thank you Ed, you will be missed.