Last night before going to sleep my friend Hugh MacLeod shared a post on the passing of our friend Alan Weinkrantz.
I was so in denial, I sent Alan a message as if he would be able to answer me back.
A few minutes later I saw a few more friends confirming of Alan's tragic passing I sat sleepless for the next few hours.
This has been truly a tough 7 days .
- family member got diagnosed with cancer
- my nephew was hit by a car while riding his bike
- and the Orlando tragedy hit close to home
Part of Alan Weinkrantz's Legacy from My Perspective
Instead of continuing to share how badly my week went. I want to give you some of the reasons why Alan always will be an important figure in my life.
Alan Weinkrantz Improved my Storytelling
If you browse around this blog for a few links you will find that since March 2012 I have been using my own photography to tell stories.
Before that I used Creative Commons pictures I found around the web. I have to thank Alan for opening my eyes into something I was clearly not paying the right attention to.
My friend Mark Hayward brought Alan into my life
In March 2012 I remember my friend Mark Hayward asking me to help him do a 140 conference Meetup here in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Since I was going to be at SXSWi he asked me to go by Jeff Pulver's party and meet with a man called Alan Weinkrantz.
I remember spending part of the day at a Citrix event. My friend Chris Brogan had a meet and greet. At that time I was working closely with him as part of the Human Business Works Agency.
It was a very rainy day and I had to get to Jeff's party so I walked with Pablo Tirado under the rain and arrived at the event soaked.
My First Meeting with Alan at Jeff Pulver's #SXSW Party
We asked for Alan and this very energetic and caring individuals came over to me. He welcomed me and in minutes introduced me to Jeff Pulver.
For the rest of the night we chatted and got to know each other. Also made plans for Jeff and Alan's trip to Puerto Rico for the 140 conference event.
The weeks went by and I was sitting at the San Juan Marriott with my family and Mark Hayward when Alan Weinkrantz walked through the lobby. At that time I had a proximity app named Highlight that alerted me of individuals who were near me.
I sent him a message welcoming him to the Island. He asked me if there was a place where he could go on a photowalk. I picked Old San Juan since it's one of my favorite places to walk around.
We drove into Old San Juan and as soon as we got out of the car Alan started taking pictures of the parking in the underground parking lot. He also introduced me to this app called instagram and the cool features it had to share pictures and tell a story quickly.
Alan's No Bullshit Approach and Making Us Better
As we walked along near la Perla in Old San Juan. Alan asked me what type of pictures did I use for my blogs.
I explained that I used creative commons pictures.
Without any hesitation and in a very polite way Alan Weinkrantz called me Lazy. In seconds I quickly understood where we was coming from.
He was nice enough to follow up with advice on how I could do a better job telling stories with my own photography.
Alan did two things in less than 30 minutes of chatting he got me interested in photography and made me a fan of Instagram.
Next few days where enlightening
I spent a few days with Alan on his trip to Puerto Rico. He made me fall in love with photography. His simple and no Bullshit advice made me a better person and blogger.
Alan, One of the Most Hard Working Selfless Men I know
We got ready for the event and Alan made sure he put his spotlight on many local entrepreneurs.
He asked me to nominate a few and he walked around taking video as he normally would interviewing folks. Here is a video of that event about 4 years ago.
A Rock Star Dad
If you spoke to Alan he would always make sure to ask about your family first. He took the time to remember names. He also shared some awesome parenting advice.
It was normal for him to talk about my daughter and how much he remembered his Daughter Lauren. Years ago during SXSW I got to meet Alan's son Aaron who seems to have the same work ethic as Alan.
When Alan spoke of his kids his eyes would light up and you could see he loved them dearly.
Through Alan I got closer to the Israeli startup scene.
Alan's love for Israel brought me closer to Israel.
Via those connections I have learned a ton and have had access to some very successful and awesome entrepreneurs. There are many experiences that I have had thanks to Alan's connections and folks he introduced me too that I now call friends.
Learning about Judaism
Alan also made me go to my first Open Chabad where I met Rabbi Mordechai Lightstone. According to Rabbi Mordechai Alan helped him with the event a few times. I myself was invited by Alan and also made a few friends thanks to be the only Puerto Rican at that event. Who knew a non practicing individual could have so much fun at a religious event.
That is how caring Alan was, he made you feel comfortable in any scenario.
Three Grown Men in an Austin Pedicab
The second year I went to Open Chabad in Austin during SXSW, I remember having one of the funniest highlights of my trip with Alan and Jeff. All three of us sat in a Pedicab and I could not stop laughing during the whole ride. I am still not sure how all three of us were able to fit in the small Pedicab. Thankfully all three of us had lost enough weight that year that we made it happen. The moment was a fun moment with Alan and Jeff that will be cherished.
Alan had the practical long term business solution
Every Time I had a business glitch and Alan found out he shared his knowledge and experience so I would not go through it again. Practical business advice that could only be given by someone like Alan with so many life and business experiences. Advice that can be applied over and over again and it works everytime.
My Last Meeting with Alan
Last year during SXSW 2015 I got to spend some time with Alan and his friends. He was so busy working on his many projects I did not get to sit down and spend as much time as in previous years. But it made me happy to see Alan doing what he loved. I remember he even apologized for not being able to stop what he was doing. I owed him so much I was happy that I got to spend some time with him. Little did I know it would be the last time we would see each other in person.
This year I missed the opportunity to spend time with Alan. Since I skipped going to SXSW. I would always check up on him.
Alan was always on the go and that made his feed a big highlight on all the networks I followed him in. His photography told the story of what he was doing and where he was at. So it was easy to keep track of him even when I was not chatting directly with him.
El Presidente and a Citizen of the World.
He always joked around that his title was El Presidente when it came to business. Over time I realize that Alan was El Presidente and a Citizen of the world.
He believed in Equality and always would make quick comparisons how a startup in Tel Aviv was not any different than one in San Juan, New York , or Manila.
He reminded me constantly that we are all humans and we need to find ways to coexist and collaborate.
Alan was an inspiration for many.
I woke up this morning after not sleeping well because I found out last night of his tragic passing yesterday in Tel Aviv.
I found my Facebook feed filled with stories of awesome experiences, opportunities, and connections. All those stories were created by Alan's amazing body of work.
Alan was a Mentor to Many and To Me
Alan to me was a mentor in many aspects of my life.
- I want to be an awesome dad like Alan.
- I want to be an awesome connector like Alan.
- I want to be as Business Savvy As Alan.
- I want to be as good telling a story as Alan.
In summary I want to thank Alan for making such a huge impact in my life. I am glad I told him on many occasions and he would brush it off. Many of the things I do in my regular operation of my business I learned from Alan.
May I have the opportunity to experience that awesome light of positive energy once again brother.
Alan you are loved and you will be missed.