Tom announced his retirement today, at 80 years old, after 45 years of Excellence and perhaps 10,000,000 miles flown.
I remember a photo of him sleeping on a bench in an airport in Siberia.
I remember him holding my young son just before we went on stage in Florida together twenty-four years ago.
I remember being at a small gathering he had in Vermont, where we argued about how many words go on a slide.
I remember meeting him after he gave a class at Stanford, in 1983, moments after his first book was gaining traction.
And I remember briefly controlling the rights to the computer game version of In Search of Excellence when I was at Spinnaker. Not to mention our delightful but rare duets.
So much of my best stuff is inspired, stolen or both from Tom, from Zig, from Roz, from Ben, from Steve and from Pema. Apparently, it helps to have a short first name.
Tom made it possible to get on stage and do this new thing, which led to TED talks and conferences and so many other forms of informal education by unauthorized teachers.
Even if you were never lucky enough to work with him, or fortunate enough to read his books, without a doubt, Tom Peters has had an impact on your life.
He created significance and opened the doors for others to do so as well. And in his words, okay word…