Today is the fifth anniversary of my great friend Daniel Jacoby's death. If you're a regular reader you know I miss him and think of him often, and perhaps today is no different in that regard. In fact, I not only think of him, I think like him, and this is the most valuable of all the things Daniel gave me.
But one thing is different today, because I spent some time thinking about how strange it is that people's lifetimes are finite. You exist, you do stuff, and you die, and depending on what you did while you are alive other people are affected by your existence. (Most notably, if you have kids, they go on to affect others, and their kids, and their kids, and so on...) At some level the most important thing you can do is to leave a legacy, to make the world better in some way. I hope the work I've put into Digital Pathology while at Aperio will be like this, for example.
In addition to making the world better in some way, there is another kind of legacy, too; you can show other people how they can make the world better. That has a lot of leverage. The people we remember the best - the ones who have had the greatest impact - are the ones who have shown us how we can make the world better. Maybe we don't use that information explicitly, but the glimpse is there, ratholed away, and affects us whether we realize it or not. Daniel definitely contributed in this way; I know any number of people who are different - better - because of their interactions with Daniel. He is gone, but his legacy lives on in each of us...