I remember talking to Nick Givotovsky the first time* at an early Internet Identity Workshop, when he pulled me aside to share some ideas, and immediately stripped my gears. The guy was as smart as they come, and articulate to an extreme equaled by few. I had to stop him every few sentences to get him to dumb it down a bit, or at least to let me catch up. Many conversations followed, in many settings. Every encounter with Nick was engaging and mind-sharpening.
We became friends, or as close as people get when they’re mutually engaged in too many projects while enjoying each other’s company, minds and hearts. I called him “Nicky G.”
Best I can recall, Nick came to nearly every IIW, plus workshops on VRM, networking and much more. He always contributed, always brought a warm smile and good sense of humor. He was serious, but didn’t take himself too seriously. A rare combination. Also notable was Nick’s mode of engagement. He was always original, often challenging, but never hostile or obstructive. And his mind was always open, always curious, always ready to step up and participate.
As I recall, the last I saw Nick was at the IIW this past May. He left a bit early to get back to his farm in Cornwall, Connecticut. I remember him talking about this old tractor he had, and how much he enjoyed operating it. He died this last Friday after falling off (what I assume is) that tractor. More of the story is here and here. (I share those links there for the record, but they are not pleasant reading.)
Nick’s last post on one of the many lists in which he participated told the story of his older brother’s death. “I think he did it astonishingly ‘right’, if such a thing can be said of dying,” Nick wrote.
Alas, Nick could hardly have died more wrong, and at just 44 years young. He leaves his wife, two kids, and many shocked and saddened friends.
*On 28 June 2020, this piece by Steve Larsen, about what in retrospect I believe was the most seminal gathering in the history of the Internet as we’ve come to know it since, revealed to me that Nick and I were both at there (in 1996), and I actually knew Nick from way back then.