I think that most of us have experienced times when we were steadily going about our lives, absorbed in our daily routines and tasks, often content in the knowledge that whatever it was, we were making steady progress on all fronts; and then life suddenly throws a curveball.
Imagine a person whom you regard as an mentor and a role model, someone whom you have the utmost respect and admiration for. You may not see or hear from him everyday, but you catch up regularly and always come away with new insights and a sense of assurance that you can never go wrong by heeding his advice. During trying times, this person’s actions and demeanour alone restores faith in the world.
Now, imagine if that person is suddenly called away, never to return.
On this day, with the dawn came terrible news in the form of an email and a phone call. Mark Templeton, a person very dear to everyone at Plunify, is no longer with us. The same Mark, with whom Kirvy and I had spoken just a week or two ago, with whom we had eagerly made plans to meet in person next month despite normally being on different sides of the Pacific.
The first time Kirvy and I met Mark was when we were looking for seed funding for Plunify. Us being a no-name startup from Singapore, it seemed perfectly logical that someone of Mark’s stature would exchange a few pleasantries and send us on our way. Of course that was not the case — we were struck by his openness and willingness to listen; one thing led to another, and about a year and a half later, Mark became an investor and mentor not only to Plunify but to Kirvy and me. He always made himself available for questions and advice, and never hesitated to offer his help.
He is, in a nutshell, everything that I aspire to be — a brilliant engineer, a successful entrepreneur, a passionate contributor to our community, and a family man. The generosity of spirit and faith he bestowed upon us from day one was frankly, astonishing and gave us strength on many a day when things got hairy. Simply put, Mark is one of the nicest people whom Kirvy and I have had the honor and pleasure of knowing.
One of my fondest memories of Mark was when I arrived at the office one morning to find him perched on a ladder, upper body halfway into the false ceiling, installing LAN cables for the office. The sight of an industry giant who could have summoned throngs of people to do what he was doing, but who chose instead to do it himself, was and still is, to me, the very embodiment of a true engineer. I asked him why he did it, and Mark simply shrugged and said, “Because I can.” It is one of those moments that I will cherish forever.
To Mark: Thank you from the bottom of our hearts. There is so much we want to say. You left an indelible impression on us. We will always be inspired by your words and deeds, and strive to be the company and human beings that you believed we can become.