Don Tuite formally announced his retirement on April 17 in Electronic Design magazine and it is a bitter sweet moment. Don and I converse regularly on social media and we both live in Redwood City so he's not leaving my life at the moment, but I remember when he first came to Electronic Design after many years as a working engineer.
We had a couple of phone conversations about clients and stories he was working on when we both discovered that we were in the same town. From then on, Don had an open invitation to come down, have coffee, walk in our nearby park, and even take one of our team on a flight in his private plane (which she called the thrill of a lifetime since she had always wanted to become a private pilot).
The conversations about technology, politics and social change is what I really enjoyed about Don's visits and calls. We never stayed on the subject very long. Once we got the business done it was on to other topics. It was the discussion of how media was changing, however, that got me thinking about my own public relations business and what value it had, and eventually brought me to the place that I knew I had to shut it down, fire all the clients and start focusing on what was needed to be said, not what a corporate committee wanted to say.
Most of the other marketers journalists I talked to during that time didn't have a lot of good things to say about me and what was forming in my head, but Don was one of the few who were not judgmental or dismissive. As a true scientific mind he response was always "you might be right."
His final column rightly reviews the changes he saw in the past decade and reminds me of the discussion we had a decade ago about Marshal McLuhan and adds the work of a mathematician that fed into McLuhan's work... something I never knew. It was a good justification of my decision.
So I get what the rest of you don't, the opportunity to continue my relationship with smart man and a good guy. Congratulations Don. Looking forward to what you're are going to do with your time.