When I read on Twitter (of course) last night that Allen Stern had passed away, I couldn’t take it in. At my age, my friends do die occasionally, but not people who were much younger than I and who had made such an investment in becoming healthy recently.
I met Allen at a NewMedia meeting in New York. We had so many friends in common that we stayed in touch through his move to Austin, and I saw him when I went there to attend SXSW. I was also an early and forever customer of Cloud Contacts and a reader of Center Networks. But for some unknown reason, Allen was always asking me for business advice.
I say unknown because he had already successfully started two businesses, Center Networks and Cloud Contacts, and while I knew him he embarked on his third, the lifestyle and fitness site that sprung from his inspiring weight loss last year. He lost over 125 pounds, mostly through fruit smoothies and then green smoothies. In the process, he met tons of new people and reinvented himself in every way. He was walking miles and chronicling his distances, just like any one of us fitness freaks.
We were drawn closer because about the same time he began juicing and losing weight, I became vegan, and his smoothie recipes attracted me. We had many conversations about whether you ought to drink your meals or eat them.
When he asked me to advise him as he attempted to sell Cloud Contacts without disturbing the information of its clients, I spoke to him quite often about that issue as well.
I’m a complete non-believer, but I’m still asking “whoever” did this why they’d take away someone who worked so hard to stay alive. I am so sad that I feel the (unaccustomed) need to blame somebody, anybody, for this untimely death. But for all I know, Allen is happy and I should just shut up. I will miss you, my friend.