Remember Aaron Swartz

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An awful lot of memories made me laugh

The last time we went for lunch I said to him “hey, you always tell us you’re so shy and that’s why you don’t talk much. But I saw you on the cover of Wired yesterday and there you are standing on a stage, talking to hundreds of people. Explain that.” And he smiled, you know the way he smiled, and said “oh, that’s simple. I have a technique. As I’m speaking, when I look around the crowd to make eye contact with people, I just don’t make eye contact with anyone. I look between them, so everyone thinks I’m looking at the guy next to them.”

I don’t know why, but I’ve often thought of that conversation, and it’s always made me chuckle. I guess it’s also a tiny portrait of him, out there overcoming his own inhibitions to do what he did, which I found so inspiring and, despite everything, will continue to find so inspiring.