What About Bob? (RIP Bob Goyetche)

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Do you like the Six Pixels of Separation Podcast?

If you do, you have to give a little credit for its existence to Bob Goyetche. A kind, warm and loving human being, who sadly and suddenly passed away last Friday

Let’s go back in time.

September 2006 (over ten years ago). Long before we all had Facebook to connect, the word got out that an unconference called, Podcamp Boston, would be taking place over a weekend just outside of Boston. At that point in time, the Six Pixels of Separation podcast was only a few months old. Candidly, I felt like I was falling behind everyone else. At that point, there was already a “holy trinity” of marketing and communications podcasts that were happening (Joseph Jaffe‘s Across The Sound, Neville Hobson and Shel Holtz‘s For Immediate Release and Terry Fallis and David JonesInside PR). If you were in our space, you listened to these shows. Religiously. I was the new kid on the block. I thought this PodCamp weekend would be rocket fuel for my podcast. There was so much I did not know. From the gear to record a show, to the best hosting and beyond. Well, it turns out that this road trip from Montreal to Boston would be one of the most pivotal moments in my professional and personal life.

Was anyone going to be there? 

The unconference wave was in full-effect. These self-organized meet-ups, where agendas and speakers were formed once everyone was in the room were all the rage. Still, I was booking hotels and taking on 10 hours of driving, without having any clarity that people would actually showed up. I knew a few people from Montreal (Julien Smith and Hugh McGuire). I knew two of the organizers of the event (Chris Brogan and Christopher S. Penn). You may recognize these names now. Back then, who knew? It turns out that this event really was ground zero for the podcasting and social media community (and many of the luminaries who are now attached to it and, somewhat, famous because of it). The list of attendees is, literally, now a who’s who of the biggest names in blogging, social media, podcasting and beyond. Many have gone on to build not only significant relationships while meeting at PodCamp, but large and powerful businesses as well. It’s a strange thing. And, without exaggeration, it was our own little Woodstock moment. Especially, when I look back at the pictures, and reflect on how many of these people have not just ascended in their respective professions and podcasting, but the lifelong friendships that were made. To this day, I count this event as the place that I met some of my closest friends. It was crazy… in every sense of the word.

This is where I first met Bob Goyetche… in his protein form.

I knew who he was. We were connected online. I knew his work. Bob was one of the podcasting pioneers. He started back in 2004 with The Bob And AJ Show as well as the CatFishShow (his wife’s podcast). He founded ROGIC – one of Canada’s first podcast networks. By PodCamp Boston, Bob was doing another weekly show called, Canadian Podcast Buffet with his co-host Mark Blevis. From there, Mark and Bob launched their own event, Podcasters Across Borders, which I attended multiple times. I remember meeting Bob at PodCamp Boston (there are photos of this online… somewhere) and thinking to myself two things:

  1. If everyone is as nice and sincere as this guy, I think I found a real community that I want to stay connected to and invested in.
  2. I have no chance of making a run at my own podcast, look at how far behind I am! Bob had a handful of shows and had been doing it for years.

Lessons learned. Friendships developed. 

As with all events like this, people get busy. Lives get filled. Work takes up more time. Children are born. Families need their time. You lose touch. This is the sad reality. I had not seen Bob in years. With that, we were very closely connected. Always. Thank you, Facebook, Twitter and social media. Digital connectivity is a funny thing. You can not see someone in their protein form for a very long time, but feel like you know what’s going, how they’re doing, and you “feel” like you see them all of the time. Bob was always there in my feed. Then, suddenly on Friday morning, I saw a slew of Facebook messages that would gut me. Bob had very suddenly passed away. There are no words. I’ve been wandering around in a haze ever since. Feeling terrible for his wife and son. Feeling terrible for not making a more sincere effort to see him more often (he doesn’t live that far away from me). Feeling terrible that he was so young, and had so much more to give our world. Feeling terrible that podcasting is a format that is, finally, getting more credibility and audience, and that he should be celebrated and thanked for his countless, tireless and selfless contributions to making that happen. Feeling terrible. Just feeling terrible.

Bob was 47 years old. He leaves behind his wife Cathy (Cat), son, Simon, family, friends and a very large and sad podcasting community. RIP Bob Goyetche.