Remember Aaron Swartz


So much love to all of you who have lost this brilliant young man

That, primarily is my experience of Aaron. Seeing my friends similarly electrified, energised, inspired, challenged, focussed, redirected or moved after speaking with him. Sometimes, honestly, it seemed like they were high on his genius, on the inspiration, clarity, fun and ideas that flowed from him and in those interactions.

Hours before Aaron died another brilliant man wrote to me in a rush of excitement about the new ideas he had from conversations with Aaron and Taren. Reeling in shock at the news, a bright young woman told me how Aaron had pushed her hard, helping her strengthen and clarify plans for the important organisation she is building.

Aaron’s genius, generosity and legacy, are well recorded here, and across the public record. His acheivements are mammoth, and out of scale with our ideas of what one young man can do.

I find myself thinking about the less recordable: the fires of ideas those conversations sparked. The ways my friends are better, wiser, and have done more good in the world because of conversations and friendships with Aaron. The way that experience has clearly been a common one: dozens, hundreds, thousands changed in ways small and large by his openness, passion, generosity and incredible brilliance.

And the way that ripples ever outward, each of them sharing the ideas, the learning, the wisdom and the stories from those conversations with countless others. And those people sharing them again. Each of us a little better for it.