Kristen S Kuhns [ksk]

 
  City of Birth:
Worthington, Ohio
 
 

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Kristen's Story > Categories > Interesting People

"Bruce Lundeen" 

 

Date Range: 05/16/1912 To 12/31/2009   Comments: 0   Views: 4,860
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I was still pretty new at this stuff. Running around like the proverbial chicken (poor ole' thing with its head cut off), trying to get the organization operational. We had sponsors, speakers, attendees, location, volunteers. It was all going smoothly. Sorta'.

I co-founded a non-profit organization aimed at bringing technology to those in the SF Bay area who were tired of the drive to Silicon Valley for all-things-tech. We launched EBIG.org in 2001 - around the time of the first tech implosion - and had lots of tech groups focused on the popular technologies of the time (a decade ago that now seems like a lifetime in tech). We had Sun, Microsoft, Borland, BEA, and other big companies backing us. Speakers and SIGs (Special Interest Groups) galore.

But we were missing the "Start-Ups" group. The one where entrepreneurs came to hear success and failure stories (which are usually more helpful than the success stories, because those often have a heavy hand of luck+timing), learn from VCs (Venture Capitalists), angel investors, acquisition teams, lawyers, finance people, and so on.

The group leaders and sponsors put together an agenda for the year covering relevant topics - technology, team, marketing, money, exit strategies. Now we wondered - would they come?

I was putting together the table I'd schlepped in to lay out name tags printed frantically before I'd left (why did everyone always wait until the last minute to register?) and running around making sure there was water, that the speakers worked, the conference room wasn't freezing, etc. Where were my volunteers? Voicemails - usually sick/running late, etc.

Suddenly a gravely voice behind me says, "Hi, how can I help?" and I turn around to see Santa Claus holding out a $20. "I just saw this event in the tech calendar and thought I'd come check it out. What can I do to help?"

I was always grateful that ANYONE ever showed up to any events and wanted to treat them all like princes, but I took advantage of his offer and asked him to help me move the table over and put him to work.



It was Bruce Lundeen. I smiled (who couldn't help but smile back at his grinning reflection?) and we started chatting. Usually - especially when short handed - I didn't have a lot of time to chat because setting up was always rushed, but Bruce followed me around, helping, and telling me about himself. Usually the people who used that time to chat were in need of something - advice, a listening ear, introductions, etc. Bruce was just... well, he just made me smile. I always smiled a lot whenever Bruce was around.

At that time he was focusing on the Weemote, a remote control device for children. I didn't even have kids but the potential was obvious. Bruce was never shy about his showing off his inventions and eager to discuss his ideas. But most telling about the gentle spirit that Bruce was how he always had time to listen, advise, help, suggest.

Bruce showed up I believe to almost EVERY event from that day forward. I would see him there early, willing to help, walking around talking with some other eager entrepreneur. He gave advice, listened, commiserated, and provided introductions using his vast network to connect people with what they needed - patent attorneys, CPAs, advisory boards. Never once did I hear Bruce ever ASK for anything. He just wanted to be there, to be a part of it, to help, to advise, and most of all to support. I also hadn't realized he was driving quite a distance each way to attend evening events - to be part of it; always the first to arrive and usually one of the last to leave.

I just can't express in words how sorry I am to learn of Bruce's passing. I know he had some heath problems but I can't even remember when he missed one of those meetings over the years. A truly gentle, kind and giving soul. Not so many people we can truly say the world is a worse off place without, but without Bruce, it really is.

Bruce's memorial service will be held today, Saturday October 1 at 3PM:

First Lutheran Church, Palo Alto.
600 Homer Avenue
Palo Alto, CA 94301





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