An addicted insider’s account of our real lives in the era of the realtime, social web.

Confession #115: Remembering Jody Sherman

Jody never took a call by saying “Hello.” He always answered by barking his own name into the phone: “Jody.” As if that voice could have belonged anyone else. He was often in a hurry. There was always something big just about to happen.

During the height of the first Internet boom, I visited Jody when he was running business development for another fast-rising company in San Francisco. He was dressed in a suit, spoke fast as he showed off his office, and said the word “billions” a few times. After I received the opening monologue on how huge this latest endeavor would be, Jody pulled out a fistful of gaming tokens. The office was right across the street from an arcade at Pier 39. “Here’s a bunch of tokens. Anytime you want to play, just stop by office first. I’ve got a drawer filled with these.”

That was Jody. A hyperactive kid in a business suit who wanted to have fun while convincing everyone of how epic and unprecedented this was all going to be.

I was once on the phone with Jody as he was giving me turn-by-turn directions to his apartment. As I got close, Jody interrupted himself: “Sorry dude, I’ve got to take this call.” I just kept driving for five minutes until he came back on the line and asked me where I was. “Oh dude, you went way too far, you’ve got to turn around.” That was Jody. He was the GPS that guided you. He was the call-waiting that interrupted you. You didn’t quite know where he was leading, but for some reason, you couldn’t help but follow. There was something about hearing, “Jody” on the other end of that line.

Jody was ambitious and loyal. He was entertaining as hell. And he was always a little crazy. As the Internet grew up, it spawned a lot of big personalities. But Jody always remained one of the biggest. He made this place a little more unpredictable and a little more fun, and he was a really good guy. He loved to talk. He loved to talk big. It’s hard to explain, but if you knew Jody Sherman you’ll know what I mean by this: He was memorable in the moment. Whenever you were talking to him, you knew the conversation itself would become an anecdote. “I just talked to Jody, you’ll never believe the hilarious thing he said this time…”

Jody made the Internet business feel like Hollywood. He was the fast talking agent, the producer with the big plans, and the guy in the box office window begging you to buy a ticket and a bucket of popcorn. When the lights went down, you’d realize that Jody also played many of the characters in the movie. I suppose now we know that when the movie would end and the theater would empty, Jody would often remain in this world of his creation, alone in the darkness.

Like everyone who knew him, I was shocked to hear of his death. I wanted to know what happened. I wanted to know how a guy who was such an energetic force could be gone. I wanted to ask a billion questions. But in that moment, I found that just one word came out of my mouth: Jody.

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My name is Dave Pell, internet superhero. This blog provides an addicted insider's account of what's happening to us in the era of the realtime, social web. You can read more about the site, grab the rss feed, follow me on twitter, join the Facebook page, or get email updates.