It was early 2008 and I was thrilled to be joining the budding social-professional scene in NYC. I was young, enthusiastic and out of my league. I attended conferences, read countless blogs, tweeted and did everything I could to learn about this incredible industry.
I was at a conference in Tribeca when I noticed the name tag of the guy sitting next to me - Allen Stern, CenterNetworks. To be honest, I was starstruck. I had been reading CenterNetworks regularly for some time, and here was one of the names I'd seen countless time. Here he was, sitting right next to me!
Like a true social media groopie, I probably came across as a young, energetic and a little weird. Allen took it all in stride, and we ended up bonding over the remainder of the event. Over the next few years, we traded emails and conversations on various social networking platforms, staying in touch across states and later across continents. Whether it was talking mobile tech at a Jeff Pulver breakfast, talking tech on Facebook, the pain of commuting to Manhattan from his old neighborhood in Brooklyn on Twitter (close to where I was living) or more recently about fitness and wellness on Google+, Allen was a brilliant guy and a great friend.
Allen was the influencer who was in it for the people.
Allen, I was honored to be one of your people.
I drew inspiration from your journey and will never forget how your giant heart made me feel like one of the guys when I was just getting started. Your quest for wellness was an inspiration. Thank you for everything.