(Larry Snyder: 1940-2007)
I was very upset to learn today that Larry Snyder has passed away., The 67 year-old was head of sales for Midnight Coders, the developers of WebOrb, an ASP.NET 2.0 replacement for Flash Remoting. I'd been in negotiations with Larry for the past 7 months to purchase WebOrb for my job at Mattel Toys. We were just getting the final P.O. signed when Mark Piller of Midnight Coders called me to give me the news that Larry had died last Saturday at his home in Texas.
Larry was not like any other "technical salesman" I had ever met. He knew the product he was selling inside and out, and really believed it would help us out. There was absolutely no B.S. from Larry. He knew how to talk to technical people, and where to draw the line. I could also tell from the way he he talked, that he really admired Mark Piller and the tech team at Midnight Coders. Larry was a persistent salesman, that is for sure, but always in lovable, big-hearted way. He had a personality as big as Texas, loved a good (clean) joke, and never seemed to get discouraged no matter what red-tape corporations like mine threw at him.
In our many phone conversations Larry relayed a funny story to me about Mattel. Larry had been a technical salesman for many years, and about 20 years ago, he was working on selling a different product to the company. It was the last day of the month, and still waiting for signature to make his sale, Larry took the initiaive and drove 100s of miles to the Mattel headquarters, trying to find the right person to sign the agreement. However, he had no idea where to find him. Mattel was (and is) a huge company with 1000s of people at their corporate offices, with extremely strict rules about who and what can come in an out of the buildings. Sitting in his car, contemplating his next move, an employee from Mattel walked over and asked Larry if he needed any help. Larry said "yes, he was trying to find someone to sign his sales agreement so he could make his month-end." It turned out, the guy he met in the paaking lot was the same guy that needed to sign the agreement. He got it signed, and made his numbers. That was Larry in a nut-shell. He was full of life, full of ideas, and always going the extra mile to make something happen.
I was on vacation last Thursday and Friday, and Larry left me a message on my phone while I was gone. When I came in Monday and listened to my voice-mail, I heard Larry's voice say "Hello Steve, this is Larry from Midnight Coders...". I did not let it get any further. I knew what Larry wanted, he wanted to know where we were with our P.O. I deleted the rest of message without listening to it. I would check the P.O. and call him later. If not, he would call back. He always did. I enquired about the P.O, then blissfully forgot about it. Until this morning, when Mark from Midnight Coders called to tell me about Larry. After I got off the phone with Mark, I remembered the voice mail. Larry always called me late in the day. If he left the message on Friday, I very possibly could have deleted the final sales call Larry ever made. I felt a chill around me. I wished I could listen to Larry "nag" me about the P.O. one more time, but I'd never hear from him again. No longer will I be so quick with '33' (fast worward) + '7' (delete) on my Cisco I.P. phone when listing to my voice mail.
Right now my plan is to make sure Larry's work was not in vain. since Larry never got to see us finally close the deal, I'm determined now to get it done as soon as possible. I wanted to finish this blog entry stating how our P.O. was finally approved, but I can't. It still needs one more signature. Still, Larry was so full of life, and such a presence, it's hard for me to believe that he's not out there somewhere, right now, waiting for the phone call that will tell him the sale is final. Honestly, don't worry Larry, I'm working on it. I promise.
Rest In Peace Larry,
(Read Mark Piller's Tribute To Larry Snyder here: http://www.themidnightcoders.com/blog/
Also, check out WebOrb here: http://www.themidnightcoders.com/. It really is a great way to connect Flash to back-end data nad services.