International Data Group (IDG) announced yesterday that its Founder and Chairman, Patrick J. McGovern, died March 19 at Stanford Hospital in Palo Alto, California. Having worked at IDG for five years before coming to Akamai, the news made me profoundly sad. But this post is a celebration of a life well lived and the huge legacy he left in the world of tech media and beyond.
No matter where you were in the IDG food chain, Pat's generosity and kindness extended to every employee in his empire. I particularly enjoyed the holiday season, when he walked around just about every IDG building, meeting with every employee and personally handing out the Christmas bonuses. We awaited the arrival of "Uncle Pat" the way children wait for Santa Claus.
Let's spend a moment on what he did for the world of technology. The memorial article that appeared in every IDG publication yesterday explained:
In 1964, with the computer industry still in its infancy, McGovern founded International Data Corporation (IDC), now an IDG subsidiary, to provide the industry with timely and reliable statistics on information technology markets. Three years later, McGovern launched Computerworld, a weekly print publication dedicated to keeping computer buyers apprised of industry and product news. Computerworld became IDG's flagship publication, and in 1972, McGovern began exporting the Computerworld concept, launching Shukan Computer in Japan.
Over a span of 50 years, McGovern oversaw IDG's launch of more than 300 magazines and newspapers and championed the expansion of IDG's network to include more than 460 websites, 200 mobile apps and 700 events worldwide. Today, IDG brands are found in 97 countries and include CIO, CSO, Computerworld, GamePro, IDC, IDG Connect, IDG TechNetwork, IDG World Expo, InfoWorld, Macworld, Network World, PC World and TechHive.
I worked for CSO, first as senior editor, then as managing editor. Even before my employment there, I respected IDG publications for being among the first to take the world of information security seriously. Some of the best tech journalists I've ever known are of IDG and have been there for many years -- a testament to the family-like environment Pat created and maintained.
His legacy extends far beyond tech media.
In 2000, MIT created the McGovern Institute for Brain Research, made possible by a $350 million gift from Pat and his wife, Lore Harp McGovern. It was one of the largest philanthropic gifts in the history of higher education. As the IDG article noted, "The McGoverns dreamed of an institute whose ultimate goal would be to understand the human brain in health and disease."
A lot of lives will be made more whole going forward because of this work.
I'll never forget Pat's humble, kind nature. I wish him Godspeed.