Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Paul Reynolds: A Contribution

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  • Alastair Thompson,


    I just saw him in the street a week or so ago. Seemed hale and hearty....

    That's really rather shocking.

    RIP Paul. And thanks....


    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 220 posts Report

  • TheotherSimonYoung,

    Gutted. Paul's office was next to ours in the HB Building, and we would always meet when either Paul or I were on our way somewhere. I remember thinking I'd love to ask him out for a proper coffee and a meal sometime ... I guess I should realise these thoughts are to be acted on, not just mused upon.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 2 posts Report

  • Pauline Dawson,

    I am so shocked. I met with Paul for the first time when he was in Dunedin a week or 2 ago. Over a coffee we made plans, discussed ideas, drew diagrams and laughed. I was so impressed with his passion and enthusiasm and ability to see the big picture.

    A terrible loss

    Mosgiel • Since Feb 2008 • 26 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Graham Beattie blogs this morning:

    He encouraged me in the first place to becomer a blogger and subsequently he taught me everything I know about blogging. I was/am pretty much computer-illiterate and I recall his great patience with me as he taught me the ins and outs of the cyber world I was entering. For quite a while I would make a monthly visit to McGovern Online's offices in Auckland for another lesson on the gentle art of blogging.These visits gradually became less and less frequent but my e-mail queries continued with the last one being only 10 days ago.

    Paul was an enormous supporter of public libraries and literary festivals and created many of their websites. He was a kind and generous friend whom I shall miss enormously. New Zealand has been robbed of a man who gave much and still had much to offer. What a bloody tragedy.

    And Helen, to you, my love and deepest sympathy.My thoughts are with you at this very sad time.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Robyn Gallagher,

    I'm feeling really weird about this. When I heard last night on Twitter that Paul Reynolds had died, my first thought was the namesake Telecom CEO.

    Then I had a look at his People Points blog and thought, oh, yeah, that guy - the one who asked a question at the Great Blend in 2006. That's the only memory I have of him.

    And it bothers me that he's lead this amazing life, done all this important stuff, been an active part of the interweb community for years and yet his achievements have more or less totally passed me by.

    I feel like maybe I've been living in a bubble for the past 15 years, ignoring the greatness going on in the neighbourhood around me. Perhaps I can take this as a sign to expand my horizons.

    My thoughts are with those whose lives were touched by @littlehigh.

    Since Nov 2006 • 1946 posts Report

  • Alec Morgan,

    The unexpected demise of valued people provokes existential thoughts, treat everyone better, have that coffee indeed.

    Paul brings back memories of the clunky past–netscape vs. explorer, ihug offers flat rate, etc. and his knowledge seemed to balloon as the years went by, mirroring the development of the internet world he conveyed so well to many of us listeners and readers. He was so not the ‘other’ Paul Reynolds!

    Tokerau Beach • Since Nov 2006 • 124 posts Report

  • Russell Brown,

    Paul brings back memories of the clunky past–netscape vs. explorer, ihug offers flat rate, etc.

    Yeah, for me too.

    and his knowledge seemed to balloon as the years went by

    Absolutely. His last few years were his most influential, as he was able to take up roles where he could make a difference on a broader scale. He just knew so much.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22850 posts Report

  • Brenda Leeuwenberg,

    I too met Paul in the mid 90s, when he was so encouraging of webgrrls, the web, the possibilities. We had many excellent conversations then and many more over the years.

    Most recently he has been a strong supporter of and advocate for NZ On Screen, keenly petitioning for the embedding functionality on the site and promoting us through his networks.

    I'll miss him, the country will miss him, he was a wonderful man.

    Wellington • Since Oct 2008 • 41 posts Report

  • Pete Sime,

    It's a big loss for the library world. I remember being very impressed with him at the Library Association conference in 2007 when I was a proto-librarian and I made an effort to follow his blog and his commentary in other sectors - such as on Radio NZ - ever since. We definitely feel his loss here at the National Library. Rest in peace Paul.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 171 posts Report

  • dc_red,

    Awful news. I really enjoyed listening to him on Radio NZ (Friday mornings IIRC). Great content to go with his great voice.

    Oil Patch, Alberta • Since Nov 2006 • 706 posts Report

  • Don Christie,

    Very nicely put. I am trying to keep track of links because I think it is important have as much written down about Paul as possible. He was a very influential thinker.

    Sticking them here for now (sorry about the cross link) but I hope that someone closer to him could take up the task.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    I'm feeling upset at the loss of a rare intellectually-generous visionary and warm genuine man who I first met about 20 years ago before the internet loomed so large. It was a privilege re-connecting in person over the past few years after long hearing his voice in conversations about stewarding knowledge, national identity and transformative potential.

    I will always treasure that at Kiwi Foo camp earlier this year when I signed up for Twitter from the same spot I first ever switched on a computer, Paul instantly realised the significance from another room and in under a minute had re-tweeted my first message to his followers. He was so good at getting people on their way.

    My best wishes to his partner Helen, their family and all the friends and colleagues whose lives this wonderful man has touched.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Jen Ferguson,

    I don't think I've ever met anyone with quite so many ideas as Paul had. I remember meeting him for a coffee a few years back when we first started doing PR for Google and feeling like the slowest person in the room - I literally couldn't keep up with his amazing train of thought. What he was talking about then was - still is - light years ahead of its time.

    I've been similarly awestruck every time I've seen him since, not least last week at the Social Media Junction where he was without a doubt the most interesting speaker of the day.

    The world will definitely be a less interesting place without Paul around.

    Peckham Rye, London • Since Jan 2007 • 26 posts Report

  • Jackie Clark,

    I didn't know Paul, but I am tremendously sorry that someone you cared about so much, Rusell, has died. Big hugs to you, my friend.

    Mt Eden, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 3136 posts Report

  • Tim Michie,

    Always an appreciated voice on IT issues known and unknown to me and a joy each time a regular radio spot was his contribution, personably given and with warm hearted understanding for the inexperienced and industry alike.

    I expect he will be missed by many.

    Auckward • Since Nov 2006 • 614 posts Report

  • Allison Dobbie,

    This is such a sad loss. We learned so much from Paul, he helped shape the way that Auckland City Libraries delivers its services today. He was passionate and inspiring. He broadened my horizons about what is possible. Plus he was the one who introduced me to the world of podcasts and the Archers. We will miss him enormously, his contribution lives on.

    Auckland • Since May 2010 • 1 posts Report

  • Hilary Stace,

    Russell, thanks for this tribute. In the mid 90s Paul came to advise the Dictionary of NZ Biography on the potential of getting such information on-line, which led to history.net and eventually Te Ara. I wasn't involved in those discussions but he was friendly, and generous with his time with the ordinary workers too. Ditto with various digital information seminars at the National Library.

    Hello Allison.

    Wgtn • Since Jun 2008 • 3229 posts Report

  • Pete Sime,

    Paul's valedictory lecture as adjunct director of the National Library can be heard here. The National Library has archived it for posterity, but it can only be heard in house.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 171 posts Report

  • Pete Sime,

    I should say it has also been archived at the National Library. You can access the first link from any computer.

    Dunedin • Since Apr 2008 • 171 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    Isn't there also a third Paul Reynolds, from the same nation?

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Sacha,

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19745 posts Report

  • Craig Ranapia,

    He just knew so much.

    And had the very rare talent for making very complex matters accessible without crossing the line into patronising dumbing-down for the tech-tard hoi polloi. Reynolds was a "public intellectual" in the very best, non-wanky sense.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report

  • John Holley,


    I dealt with Paul on and off for close to 20 years. Paul was always someone I enjoyed talking to.

    It a great loss for the ICT community and his family.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 143 posts Report

  • Kumara Republic,

    PS. Rust in peace, Paul. (sic)

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5446 posts Report

  • Paul Brislen,

    I said this over on Janet Wilson's site (in answer to Bill R's rant about how stupid social media is):

    We last caught up at the Social Media Junction where he was speaking about museums.

    He was gracious as usual (”I’m not the other Paul Reynolds”) and bumptious (”These lights are too bright”, they were too) and just typically Paul, getting stuck into Thatcher and then complaining about conference hosts who don’t have clocks on the wall so speakers can’t tell how long they’ve got left.

    I got to heckle him for that (”Buy a watch”) and he got to complain that I never shut up and now he won’t get to badger me for an iPad and we won’t get talk about how it might be the saving of the newspaper industry and that is that.

    Here’s to you Paul Reynolds – the original, the one and only.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 200 posts Report

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