I was incredibly saddened to learn of the death on Christmas Day of Peter Wyckoff and his daughter Holly. Peter was not a close friend. He was an acquaintance. He was, what Malcolm Gladwell called a “weak tie” in his book the Tipping Point. But what I’m feeling now is not weak. Most of Peter’s and my connection existed within the pages of the social/business networking service LinkedIn. We were networkers. But, like sometimes happens, it was starting to feel like we were becoming friends. I actually met Peter before LinkedIn existed, at an Indian lunch spot in what was then called Multimedia Gulch in San Francisco. We also had occasional phone conversations and met once more in person again several months ago. We had recently emailed about meeting again in the new year. But LinkedIn was the place we met regularly. I liked Peter the moment I saw him. He had a warmth and a passion for people and music (he was a Jazz maven) and for cultures beyond the US. He was passionate about networking too. Peter introduced me to a number of wonderful people. Clearly his warmth and smarts touched many lives. Peter had more than 300 LinkedIn connections. And many endorsements from colleagues he’d worked with over the years. Peter liked to work incredibly hard for several years and then come up for air to assess his life and see what he wanted to do next. He worked as an entrepreneur and in senior roles at Matsushita and E*Trade. Peter and Holly died suddenly in a terrible and tragic random car crash midday during a heavy rainstorm in the Napa Valley. They are survived by his wife Susan (Holly’s mother) and their 11-year old son who were driving with them. They are survived too by very close friends. And many many others whose lives they touched. I heard this awful news by phone from Faye Chan. I had connected Peter and Faye because Peter wanted his wife to meet Faye because they share career interests. I did not know, but Peter’s wife and Faye have become close friends. I was out of town and missed Peter’s funeral yesterday. I did not know what to do when I got home late in the day. I looked up Peter’s profile on LinkedIn and just stared.
This Girl Scout knows how to reach people where they are. Her Venmo Comment move is brilliant.