For those who wish to find out more, his family can be reached @ ForJad_TJ_Duwaik@Yahoo.com, or at:
The Duwaik/Hartley Family
12476 E. Cedar Circle
Aurora, CA 80012
update: Jad will be honored on Friday, January 27th at 9am
Horan & McConaty
3201 South Parker Road
Aurora, CO 80014
I met Jad in San Francisco back in 2000, just as the first Internet dot-com era was coming to a close. At that time, Jad was organizing an entrepreneurial networking group called GreenHouseForStartups. He had moved out to San Francisco in 1999, after the Denver ISP he had founded was acquired. With his first win under his belt, Jad thought Silicon Valley would be the natural place for him to go next. While many other entrepreneurs (like me) in the bay area shared Jad's sentiments & optimism, unfortunately for him (and us) the plug was just about to get pulled on round 1 of the Internet boom. Still, we became fast friends and enjoyed sharing thoughts & conversations about the Next Big Idea and how we might get a new startup off the ground.
Jad spent a few years enduring the post-boom dot-com crash, and most of the money he'd earned from his first acquisition was put into 2-3 other ventures he hoped would turn into further successes. Alas, it was not to be. Times were tough in the valley, and Jad had no way of knowing the next boom was at least another 3-5 years off. Jad did make a name for himself rather famously by authoring a piece called 'Diary of a Failure' that ran in the San Francisco Chronicle in late 2001. With that he became a bit of a poster child for internet entrepreneurship, but i think he enjoyed the PR regardless. Although the article was pretty depressing -- believe me, it was a depressing time for ALL of us who stayed here through it -- still, Jad struck me as optimistic by nature and i was sure he'd bounce back in the future.
In 2001, Jad decided to switch gears and go back east, to try and make it as a writer in New York (or teacher? apologies if i'm getting any of the facts wrong here... i'm sprinkling some links to his writing during the time that may have more accurate details). He was in NYC when 9/11 occurred, and he wrote about that experience. For a short time he also thought about going to the Middle East to learn more about the challenges taking place there, but after thinking about it for awhile decided to stay in NY and became a math teacher.
Then in 2003, Jad got the itch to travel and see more of the world. Ever the entrepreneur, he decided China was the next big wave of opportunity, and so he moved to Liaoning to teach English. He also started writing a regular newsletter on his experiences in China which i found fascinating. it was interesting to hear about his interaction with a new culture, and his efforts to learn Chinese (language, culture, people). i occasionally would IM jad late at night and catchup with him. one time i helped another friend of his in China do some AdWords buys, to help drive traffic to a tourism site for the city he was staying in. he wrote some great stories and poems about the Chinese, and about color and women. i think he was really starting to get into the flow of China. i hope so, i really would like to think he was full of optimism again before he passed on.
I don't know if this short story captures the flavor of Jad, but i thought it important to write down what i remember. He was a good friend and a thoughtful person. He had wonderful ideas -- though some a bit far-fetched, but that's an entrepreneur for you. His creativity and writing were a joy, and they made me laugh, made me think. It's sad he passed on so young, because he had so much still to offer the world. But i hope he enjoyed as much of it as he could, and i know we all enjoyed Jad and our time with him.
So here's to Jad, aka TJ, aka TokyoJad -- my friend, fellow entrepreneur, cherished traveling companion on the road ahead.
Peace be with you my friend.
- Dave McClure
Redwood City, California
January 20, 2006