Monday, April 12, 2010


“If the astrologists who centered around the Porta Roma had cried out to him as he passed that he still had before him a third of his years… and some of his finest sculpture, painting and architecture ... he would have laughed, tiredly. But they would have been right[1].”

Last Saturday I was honored by a Lifetime Achievement Award from my colleagues at Nonprofit Technology Network (NTEN.) After hearing Jane Meseck, a friend and colleague from Microsoft, speak about some of the things I had done, I was humbled and speechless. I remember saying “wow” and “thank you” and paraphrasing Mark Twain that the rumors of my lifetime have been a bit premature.

Then I remembered a story about one of my heroes, Michelangelo Buonarroti. He lived almost 90 years and is arguably the greatest artist of the Renaissance. Irving Stone wrote a wonderful book about his life called "The Agony and the Ecstasy." In it he told the story of Michelangelo returning to Rome, where he would live the rest of his life, in 1534 at the age of 58. If someone had told him that he had a third of his life yet to live and some of his finest art yet to create, he would not have believed them. But it would have been true.

What this story says to me is that whether we have gray hair yet or not, there is always more to do, always more we can contribute, and we should never give up on our visions of how the world can be a better place. And that we can impact the lives of those who will come after us.

I said some other things that day and told the story of the truck. [2] But I don't remember much else.It reminded me that there is a story for each occasion, each crossroad. What will yours be?

[1] Irving Stone, The Agony and the Ecstasy, New York: Signet, 1961, p 667.

[2] These stories and others are posted in my book in progress, "Letters to a Young Manager".


  1. Congratulations on your award Ed - in my short association with you I found you to be an inspirational leader, extremely well informed and visionary in your consolidated technology focus for NGO's. I am also pleased to hear that there is more to come :0)
    Anwen Robinson

  2. WOW Ed that is fantastic news...sorry I have been slow to see this. Good things happen to good people and you are certainly in that group. Congradulations and hope I can toast you in person when you come to Seattle in May.