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  • #2189479

    Remembering Bob Artner


    by jasonhiner ·

    TechRepublic lost one of its greatest proponents this week with the unexpected passing of Bob Artner. Many TechRepublic members will remember Bob as the author of the popular “Artner’s Law” column and the voice of many of TechRepublic’s audiocasts. And Bob was also a common speaker for many ZDNet Video Whiteboards during the past year. He was always keenly interested in following and discussing the latest developments in IT, and he was a true technophile at heart.

    Since his untimely death, I have thought a lot about things that he told me over the years, the mentoring advice that he gave, times that he admonished me, things that we disagreed about, and the many things that we accomplished together. I will miss bouncing ideas off of him and debating new developments with him. And most of all I think will miss his self-deprecating humor. He and I had a lot of laughs, poking fun at ourselves and our own mistakes. If heaven does truly exist, then I believe there’s definitely a place in it for a guy like Bob Artner.

    Please post any memories or thoughts that you would like to share as we reflect on Bob’s passing.

    We also have a page dedicated to Bob’s memory:

All Comments

  • Author
    • #3061499


      by wayne m. ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I know I will miss Bob and feel saddened by the news of him passing away.

      I have only met Bob through his writing, which I have always found thought-provoking and well written. Mr. Artner’s writing showed a solid combination of strong content and a good writing style. These are what every writer strives for and it is to Bob’s credit that he succeeded while writing of technical issues, where so may of us fall short in expressing our ideas.

      My condolences to Mr. Artner’s family and all at TechRepublic. We will all miss Bob.

      Wayne Mack

      • #3061398

        A good man to work for

        by judyhpc ·

        In reply to Condolences

        First, thank you Jason for a wonderful, perfect way of relating what Bob Artner was all about. Through all my years of IT journalism I’ve worked for many managers and editors, and Bob is, and likely always will be, at the top of the list. One of the remarkable things about him was that he allowed his management team to manage, his writers to write, his editors to edit and everyone had a place at the ideas table and a chance to talk. I learned a great deal from his insights. I loved being part of the TR team and he was one of the big reasons.
        Judy Mottl

    • #3061498

      Bob was a great contributor

      by maxwell edison ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Bob was a great contributor to TechRepublic. His knowledge, insight, and professionalism will be missed. My sincere condolences to his family, friends, and coworkers.

    • #3061496

      His calmness is what I’ll remember most

      by rexworld ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I think what I’ll remember most about Bob is his calmness. There’s lots of strong-willed people with vastly differing viewpoints around here at work, so sometimes meetings get really heated. But Bob always seemed to be able to stay calm and collected. It’s way more than I could have done in his shoes.

      My prayers are with his family, and especially the four children he leaves behind.

    • #3061465

      Please watch the Whiteboard videos

      by peter spande ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I worked with Bob in many different capacities for over 5 years and the whiteboard videos (you can find them all on the memorial page) show the best of Bob the Professional. He had a love for learning and a love of explaining and teaching. When he found himself in a situation where he was encountering a new idea or sharing an idea that was new to the listener(s) his voice and body language changed.

      I have heard many stories about Bob in the past couple of days that reveal many sides of Bob I never had the chance to encounter. I hope his children will read someday read these posts and look at the memorial page to get glimpse a side of their father that may may not have seen. I hope they get a sense of how their father touched and influenced many, many people in his life.

      There is hardly a pixel of TechRepublic that Bob didn’t have some part in creating. I hope the TechRepublic of the future would make him proud.

      • #3061438

        remembering the non-IT things that Bob enjoyed

        by Anonymous ·

        In reply to Please watch the Whiteboard videos

        It was on matters outside of the workplace that Bob and I found common ground. Like the love of professional football we shared, and friendly bets that his 49ers would beat my Packers (I’ll miss our Monday payoff lunches — he almost always bought, regardless of who actually won the game).

        I’ll also miss seeing Bob in the fitness room, where he would watch my power yoga videos in disbelief, making comments like “They have GOT to be kidding!” as the ultra-fit models would twist themselves into pretzel-shaped poses they could hold for 30 seconds or more.

        Bob and I also shared a love of classic rock ‘n roll. We had heated debates about which CD was Neil Young’s best. My vote is for “Greendale” but Bob thought it a toss-up between “Rust Never Sleeps” and “After the Gold Rush.” We breathed a collective sigh of relief several months back when we learned that Neil was recovering nicely from his recent brain aneurism.

        At work, Bob and I certainly had our differences, but I found it nearly impossible to remain at odds with someone blasting “Tommy” after working hours when he thought everyone he could possibly disturb was already gone.

        Of course, as is true of many of my TechRepublic colleagues, one of the things I’ll miss the most about Bob are the anecdotes he was famous for sharing about his kids. He was enormously proud of them all. The world would be a much better place if all dads were as devoted to their children as Bob was to his. My heart goes out to them for their loss.

        • #3061413

          Bob was right

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to remembering the non-IT things that Bob enjoyed

          Neil’s best was After the Gold Rush.

          …….flyin’ mother nature’s silver seed to a new home in the sun.

          1) Tell Me Why
          2) After the Gold Rush
          3) Only Love Can Break Your Heart
          4) Southern Man
          5) Till the Morning Comes
          6) Oh, Lonesome Me
          7) Don’t Let It Bring You Down
          8) Birds
          9) When You Dance You Can Really Love
          10) I Believe in You
          11) Cripple Creek Ferry

        • #3061407

          …but have you REALLY listened to Greendale?

          by Anonymous ·

          In reply to Bob was right

          Don’t get me wrong, I love “After the Gold Rush” too, but “Greendale” hangs together unlike any other work of his, and Crazy Horse never sounded better.

          Bob DID go so far as to say that “Greendale” was Neil’s best work in the last decade, though. I’ll definitely miss swapping CDs (and opinions about them) with Bob.

        • #3062131

          Crazy Horse

          by maxwell edison ·

          In reply to …but have you REALLY listened to Greendale?

          I put my Crazy Horse LP on the turntable today. You’re right. It sounds great. (Yep, LPs and turntables.)

          By the way, it must have been great to have someone around to discuss all that classic rock music. No such luck for me — all too young.

    • #3061455

      Bob was a kindred spirit

      by Jay Garmon ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Bob was my boss at TechRepublic for almost my entire tenure with the company, and what often struck me was how much we had in common: a love of science fiction, self-effacing humor, and a sheer stubborn certainty that we were always right. We butted heads as often as we agreed (if not moreso), and I think this was due in equal measure to our commonalities as a our differences.

      What is often overlooked was Bob’s generosity. The phrase “you drive, I’ll buy” was his reflexive invitation to lunch. I’ve lost count of the number of Krispy Kreme breakfasts and ice cream socials he insisted on for the company. He even tagged along on company field trips to sci-fi movies, underwriting chili dogs and hamburgers along the way.

      There is a void now at TechRepublic that likely will never be filled, and this place will never be the same again.

    • #3061439

      Classic Bob

      by beth blakely ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      One thing you had to love about Bob was his ability to express himself uniquely. He’d always find a way to make his point.

      I just went through my Inbox and found this response he wrote to me about a mutual friend:

      “Not to get metaphysical or anything, but when I think of Ken I think of the movie ’12 O’clock High’ which contrasts the leadership style of two commanders: one a very empathetic, emotional officer deeply concerned for the fate of his men, who is replaced by Gregory Peck, who on the surface is tough, never giving an inch, etc.

      “Two of his subordinates are discussing the two commanders. One suggests that Peck lighten up and relate to his men as his predecessor did, and the other says, ‘The only difference between the two is that ….[Peck’s character] is two inches taller.’

      “Which is a long way of saying I absolutely agree with you…


      And I knew EXACTLY what he meant.

    • #3061409

      A loss to IT and IT writers

      by loraine ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Bob interviewed and hired me at TR just before Gartner bought out the company. Right away, I could tell he was a powerful intellect and terrific writer. I think one of his greatest contributions to TR – and perhaps one of the reason people find this site so accessible and IT-friendly – was his ATM theory of writing. Every single piece had to be written for a specific audience – an IT Manager or a consultant or a support person or a CIO. Every piece had to include a take-away: An article had to offer recommendations for action or provide something that could be applied in the daily work lives of our members. Finally, every piece had to be on mission, which for TR meant the piece had to help IT workers with their real world challenges and technology passions.

      To my mind, under Bob’s leadership, TR succeeded in achieving that mission. If you love this site, then Bob Artner touched your life.

      Personally, I most respected that Bob encouraged TR’s writers and editors to create and pursue our own ideas – he wasn’t afraid to let us experiment. That’s a rare trait in any writing field and fortunate are the writers who can work for such an editor.

    • #3061401

      In memory

      by jmarks ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I worked with Bob Artner in some capacity or another for more than six years. On a professional level, I will remember that he was an entertaining and compelling writer. Even when I wasn’t the editor of the Artner’s Law newsletter, I always found time to read his articles. In addition, I will remember that he was a good listener. I didn’t always win my battles, but I felt he afforded me the chance to make my case.

      I will also remember his love of sports and our shared TV interests. Bob was a proud supporter of the University of Louisville Cardinals and the Louisville Bats, and he was always willing to share his tickets when he couldn’t make a game.

      Bob and I watched many of the same television shows. In fact, I came into work Wednesday morning before Ted’s announcement anticipating a heated discussion of the Nip/Tuck season premiere the evening before. We were both fans of Law & Order, often debating the latest new character and comparing him or her to past characters we preferred, and The Closer, a new show that no one else seemed to watch.

      Bob never really had the stomach for Law & Order SVU–the graphic storylines that often involve children bothered him too much and hit too close to home. His four children were his life, and he was always willing to share entertaining anecdotes about them. Some people casually mention their children in passing. Bob wasn’t that person. His love for them–and his simple joy in their existence–was always evident.

      Even when I wasn’t working directly with Bob, you knew he was around. He had a certain presence, and it’s hard to realize that presence is gone. In its place is a vacuum–and many memories.

    • #3061396

      Thanks Bob and Good Bye.

      by j sheesley ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I had the honor of knowing Bob Artner for almost 9 years and working with him at two different companies – The Cobb Group and TechRepublic. At The Cobb Group, we were in two different teams, and although I didn’t interact with him regularly, in meetings it was obvious what a natural born leader he was. That intial impression was confirmed when I came to TechRepublic.

      Some people lead through their enthusiasm and their ability to excite a group of people and lead them passionately towards a goal. My sense of Bob was that he led through his intellect and sheer force of Will. When Bob made a plan, he presented it logically, thought out from end to end. If you disagreed, he would defend it with the innate confidence that he had thought out all of counter-arguments and potential drawbacks. He would expect your disagreement to also be based in logic and facts and for you to be able to defend yourself the same way he did. If ultimately proven wrong, whether by logic, history, or outcome, he wouldn’t take offense nor hold it against you.

      As such, Bob never whipped up passion nor appealed to emotion Because he believed he was Right along with his ability to express his beliefs intellecutally, you too would ultimately see his vision.

      Bob was a true Renaissance Man. He could carry on conversations about just about anything expertly. He chose his words carefully, and new the art of conversation. He spoke with authority. He spoke with intelligence. He knew when to listen and be silent.

      Bob was my boss. Bob was my friend. I’ll miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his friends and family.

      Thanks Bob.

    • #3061392
      Avatar photo

      RE: Remembering Bob Artner

      by Erik Eckel ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Bob’s dedication and commitment to building a compelling site for IT pros was unsurpassed. He deserves much of the credit for TechRepublic’s success.

      I still remember interviewing with him at a nearby restaurant, one that would prove to be a popular hangout for us over the years. In that first meeting he explained the company had enough money for six months. After that, who knows? Either we’d be a part of something great or we’d end up on the street, albeit with some intriguing new experiences on our resumes. I chose to join TechRepublic. Bob was certainly a deciding factor in my decision.

      I’ve never regretted it, not even during the lean years all technology organizations encountered in 2000-2001. Everyone should be so fortunate as to have the opportunity I did to work with such an outstanding, creative, no-limits crew and culture as I did then. Bob was a big part of that.

      Having worked with him closely for more than six years, I got to know him well. He could go deeper than Randy Moss on more topics than Terry Gross. That’s no exaggeration. From chess to IT to football to theology, he knew his material.

      I don’t know that he ever stopped to reflect on his accomplishments here. But I hope a part of him took time to realize that he was, indeed, part of something great.

      He’ll be missed.

    • #3061382

      The TechRepublic personality

      by Mark W. Kaelin ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      For me, Bob was and always will be the face of TechRepublic.

      As you can probably imagine, there are only so many job opportunities in Louisville, KY that have major editorial components. I interviewed for two other positions at TechRepublic before taking a position as a newsletter editor. The day (or so it seems) after each of those first two interviews, TechRepublic was sold ? first to Gartner and then to CNET. Each transition meant a general changing of the guard and (unfortunately for me) a hiring freeze. The one consistent factor, however, was Bob Artner.

      No matter what parent company sign was on the building, TechRepublic was always embodied by Bob and his conviction that TechRepublic should represent more than just a Web site. During each interview I was struck by the passion and conviction for TechRepublic that Bob always brought to the conversation. Each encounter reinforced my conviction to join the TechRepublic team.

      As you read through this thread you will encounter one overriding truth ? TechRepublic exists as it exists because Bob Artner made it that way. He will be sorely missed.

    • #3061364

      My Condolences

      by bfilmfan ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      My condolences to Bob’s children, family, friends and co-workers. From the comments I have seen posted, Bob appears to have been a well liked and respected man. It is obvious that he has touched many lives and will be remembered by friends and family for many years.

    • #3061334

      Remembering Bob

      by wordworker ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I met Bob when he was interviewing with The Cobb Group. We shared many article ideas between my dBASE journals and his Paradox journals, and later he managed me both at Cobb Group and at TechRepublic. He and I made a little consulting money together, selling Paradox for Windows solutions to stock brokers. Bob wrote the code, but he hated designing reports, so he farmed that work out to me.

      Even if you didn’t always agree with Bob’s position, it was always fun listening to him make his arguments. He was among the most eloquent speakers and best writers I’ve known.

      Only once did I ever see Bob get red-faced mad about anything. I wrote a column for TechRepublic in which I used the actual words he and I exchanged in a conversation about editorial salaries. I took care to make sure not to identify Bob or myself as the speakers in the column, but when Bob read it, he called me into his office. He was just sure someone would figure out I was talking about our conversation, and he was livid. “No one will know but us,” I told him. “Isn’t ANYTHING off limits for your columns?” he asked. “No!” I thundered back. He didn’t fire me over it, but I think if he hadn’t been so short-staffed, he might have.

      One of my favorite Bob stories was the one he told about when he was in college in Dayton. He was directing a play in which the lead character makes an impassioned speech while holding a rifle on another character and threatening to shoot. They had rehearsed for weeks using a broomstick. Not until opening night did they get an actual rifle. The character was to place a bullet in the chamber, say the line and point the rifle.

      Unfortunately, the prop bullet was too small to stay in the chamber, and when the actor put it in, it made a whizzing sound and fell, ker-plunk, out on the stage. Bob was watching, thinking “Palm the bullet! Palm the bullet!” But no. After the first time, the actor covered up. He picked up the bullet, said “Don’t think you’re getting off that easy.” Bob’s thinking “Palm the bullet!” but the actor put the bullet in the chamber AGAIN and restarted the oh-so-serious speech instead of palming it.

      By the time this happened, the audience was laughing, and Bob snuck out of the theater in shame and disgust. “So did he ever palm the bullet and finish the scene?” I asked. “I don’t know because I never went back,” Bob said. This text rendition can never do justice to the way Bob told that story in person.

      I learned a lot from Bob. Though our paths diverged when I left TechRepublic, we kept in touch and I considered him a good friend. I will miss him. My thoughts and prayers go out to his family and everyone who knew him.

      Edit to add: Another funny Bob line: Asked how often he went to Corner Cafe, answered “Oh not that often.” But you go to the restaurant with him and before you hit the seats, a glass is hitting the table as someone says “Diet Coke with a lime, Mr. Artner?”

    • #3061315

      A strong influence

      by Veronica Combs ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Bob hired me in April 2000 and was always very clear about the risks involved in taking a job with an Internet start-up. Those risks appeared, time and again, over the years, but so did the rewards. I learned a lot from Bob and am grateful to have had the chance to work with him.
      One thing that I remember about Bob was his music collection. Lots of people had stacks of CDs in their offices, so you got to know what they liked to listen to. You never did know, however, what kind of music you were going to hear coming from Bob’s office. I said to him once before a meeting in his office, “Who was listening to show tunes earlier today?” He smiled, it had been him.
      What I remember most about him was his devotion to his church and his children. I always admired the depth of his commitment to his faith and to his kids.
      My thoughts are with them and his family.

    • #3061305

      Odd What You Remember …

      by Ken Hardin ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      We had a Trivial Pursuit tournament way back in the early days of TechRepublic — it’s hard to keep track of all the random images that surround that time now, but this one stands out to me.

      Whenever our team would opt for a pop culture category, Bob (who was pathologically well-read in almost every subject) would cat-call “shallow.”

      Whenever Bob’s team would pick Arts & Literature, I’d retort “pompous.”

      I’m pretty sure Bob’s team won.

    • #3061241

      Reply To: Remembering Bob Artner

      by chas_m_edwards ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      What sad news to lose our friend & colleague Bob Artner this week. Bob’s intelligence burst out of him in fully-formed paragraphs with a confidence that inspired those of us around him, and I’m thankful I had the opportunity to know him and learn from him.

      • #3062133

        The Memories are Many

        by rbooth ·

        In reply to Reply To: Remembering Bob Artner

        I was priviledged to work with Bob at the Cobb Group and TechRepublic, having the pleasure of knowing him for almost 15 years. Bob was intelligent, witty, passionate, and one of the few people that seemed to have a robust knowledge of everything.

        I always admired his frankness and ability to communicate where he stood so eloquently. My memories are many of Bob…and the lines are blurred from one place of employment to another – from his tenacity in building a business to his adoration for his children – the world will truly miss Bob.

    • #3062004

      A tragic loss

      by Scott Lowe ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I worked with Bob only a couple of times on projects for TechRepublic, but each time was a joy – from my chats with him, it was clear that he loved this stuff. I didn’t know him that well personally, but loved reading “Artner’s Laws” every time a new one came out. He definitely had great insight about the right way to run an IT organization.

      My best wishes to his family and to the TechRepublic family that is surely mourning the tragic loss of a fine individual at a very young age.


    • #3061913

      Worth Remembering

      by talentonloan ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I track a few sites around like Tech Republic, and the very fact that I would remember the name of anyone who made consistent quality contributions is a marvel. So to remember Bob is to recall the insights and human spirit that transcend even what must have been outstanding technical abilities. Bob must have known something about life.

      Condolences to the TR gang and to family and friends. May God rest his soul. Memory eternal.

    • #3063558

      well done…

      by thinkdata ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      TechRepublic was blessed by Bob, but we of the community are also blessed by TechRepublic. This testimonial is a sign of an organization that knows its heart. In today’s world this is a rare and precious gift. doug yeager

      • #3063523

        Absolutely agree

        by Scott Lowe ·

        In reply to well done…


        You are absolutely right. So few organizations today would take the time to really remember someone like this and share it with the community.

        Thanks, TR, for sharing Bob with us!


    • #3063449

      Your legacy will live on.

      by wizzleg ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      My condolences to Bob’s family. He will be surely missed here. We will always remember you Bob..

    • #3063294

      My book report to Bob

      by stephen howard-sarin ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Bob and I both worked at CNET after our former employers were acquired; me in San Francisco, him in Louisville. So I knew Bob mainly from relatively impersonal conference calls, cross-country e-mail threads, and the occasional management get-together.

      It was during one of the latter that I first really connected with Bob, the richly informed human being you see described by his closer co-workers. We were in a big conference room, brainstorming on strategic threats and directions for CNET — very much an excuse for bloviating windbags, so I naturally jumped right in.

      Thinking I was quite clever, I made some comment (thankfully fogged over by time) about world economic systems, quoting as source material a book I’d recently read: “The Commanding Heights: The Battle Between Government and the Marketplace That Is Remaking the Modern World” by Daniel Yergin and Joseph Stanislaw.

      Bob had read that book.

      I followed by mentioning that Yergin was a favorite writer of mine, because of his earlier work, “The Prize: The Epic Quest for Oil, Money & Power.”

      Bob had read that book, too.

      Luckily for me, Bob loved Yergin’s books and his ability to write about the history of the oil business or economics and make such topics fascinating reads (even for liberal arts majors like me). Our strategic plans for CNET did not pan out, but I left knowing that across the country there was a kindred spirit who thought the world was full of interesting things to read, to know, and to talk about. And only some of those things have to do with your day job.

      Stephen Howard-Sarin

      [b]Postscript[/b]: A couple of months ago, Bob and I were talking about his kids and homework. (My first had just turned 1-year-old, so I was hungry for advice.) He was describing one of his kid’s frustrations with a set of mathematics problems. They were hard, and the child didn’t enjoy working on them. Bob was concerned that the touchy-feely bent of modern education these days wasn’t always helpful for his kids. As he retold it, Bob’s fatherly advice was this: “A lot of things in life are math problems. It doesn’t matter how you feel about them, you just have to do the math.”

      • #3063219

        A great vaccum

        by ggatech ·

        In reply to My book report to Bob

        A great vaccum indeed has been created in such a time that people like Bob been need to for tell a way forward,he shall be remember may his soul rest in peace.

    • #3063285

      How did he die?

      by jakcap ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      How did Bob die?

      • #3063161

        Serving an ace

        by wordworker ·

        In reply to How did he die?

        Bob suffered a heart attack while playing tennis. As a fellow racquet sport enthusiast, I hope he had just hit the match-winning ace serve.

    • #3053554

      Once in a life

      by arthurp ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      Once in a life there is someone who touches yours’, even if it’s only briefly; often we are better for this fleeting moment whether it be praise, encouragement, advice or counsel, it means that that person has cared enough to give you their time. Bob certainly made more than enough time to help, and guide

      Someone once said to me, that physically the person is no longer with you, but they live on in the memories of their friends and family; who remember the good times with a smile and the love that they have received with a warm heart.


    • #2834507

      Thank You

      by maggie.artner ·

      In reply to Remembering Bob Artner

      I really appreciate all of your memories of my father. You have no idea how much this means to me. Once again thank you very much!

      -Maggie Artner

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