Chris Squire – Bassist of YES, a tremendously influential group and for a good part of my life my favorite band. – died unexpectedly of Leukemia.
I have mixed feelings for Chris. In my opinion he was the best and worst thing to happen to YES. He was best in that he, like the bass he played, kept the band together as a formative machine. His hands off approach allowed others decide the creative direction on an album by album basis. Since YES has a famously rotating lineup this allowed YES to create amazing albums, some very popular and others – Relayer, Talk, and Magnification just as amazing but not very popular. He also allowed some seriously horrible albums (like Fly from Here and Heaven and Earth*)to be made with the YES logo and he allowed long stretches of time to go by without any recorded music (hey, the money was in the touring and to Chris it was a business first). As the band got older I thought that every year that passed without some crazy Jon Anderson conceived magnum opus was a hugely lost opportunity. YES may be a touring band by business but it’s the recordings that will become the long term legacy. Chris was a manager more than a creator even though he technically was a PIC.
*Ironically Fly from Here and Heaven and Earth may be total dogs musically but their album art is among the finest YES has ever had.
Satoru Iwata – President of Nintendo. Died unexpectedly of a Bile duct tumor (Cholangiocarcinoma). This is the guy who was instrumental in bringing the world the the character of Kirby, the Wii and the Wii U. He was a major person who influenced millions, maybe hundreds of millions who will never know his name and he didn’t believe in firing people. Satoru was a creator who happened to also manage people, technically not a PIC but from everything I read about him, he was more artist than manager, or maybe the perfect hybrid.
Margaret Campbell, A simple woman from Orlando Florida. She loved her family, especially the children and lived a long life. She died of old age with her loved ones near by. Margaret was family. She was completely on the outside of the world of work, professional or otherwise.
Normally at the end of the post I have some interesting comment for the point I was trying to make. Maybe I could say something about how being an individual contributor sometimes doesn’t always mean not having any who report to you. I could also say the reverse is true, that you can still not be a PIC even if you aren’t technically someone’s boss. I could say that you can punch out completely and not be apart of the system.
I think the only point I really can make at the end of this one is that no matter what your path, the end is the same. I guess that’s what makes traveling the path so Interesting and challenging.