Firstly, I would like to give my condolences to Aaron’s family and partner.
As many around the world mourn the loss of Aaron Swartz, I look at the faces of many friends and colleagues whom have spent the last year working with him here at ThoughtWorks. Each remembering having lunch with Aaron, attending his talks, supporting his work, and advocating for him personally.
I remember having brief discussions with Aaron a few weeks back about the similar work our teams were doing to increase the impacts online social activists could effect on information policy. He was few in words but passionate nonetheless. We spoke about how important it was to make our platforms as open as possible, how information transparency should be pervasive through the Internet, public policy, and obviously with respect to academia and the government.
At no point during these brief and short interactions, did Aaron ever give off an air of arrogance or authority. He only spoke as someone who wholeheartedly believed in his ideals and was willing to share them with whomever would listen.
Today, while looking at all these sad faces and hearing of these kind yet newly painful memories, I regret that I had the ability to speak with Aaron more, but never took the opportunity to do so. I don’t feel this way because I could brag about sitting near the “legendary” Aaron Swartz who helped put an end to SOPA, aided in the creation of the RSS specification and Reddit, and so much more. But, more so because he was a genuinely passionate and humble person that fully applied his knowledge and abilities in various ways to improve the lives of others. And that, is how I will remember Aaron Swartz.