Howard was the only person I'd heard of that was on the team developing HotWired. He'd written some Virtual something book that I'd gotten for Christmas, a few years back.
I first met Howard in 1994 at HotWired, where I became his assistant. I helped him build his website and he hired me to work with him at his startup Electric Minds. That didn't exactly turn out.
October 2001: Howard in Tokyo
He was certainly the most noticable person around. Howard is a fashion bomb - garish colours and flamboyant patterns. I once heard him say "There's no such thing as gratuitously psychedelic;" his wardrobe certainly reflects that. I've been fortunate to inherit some of his shirts - they have never failed to elicit compliments.
The same sense of fun apparent in his clothes was transmuted throughout the offices of Wired during the brief time he was there. He had a broad enthusiasm, a belief in people, that if you encouraged people, they could perform admirably in a global jam band.
He's been working to teach me the craft of writing for years now, and it might be working. As a freelancer, it's been invaluable to have a role-model. Howard is a model freelancer - living well, challenging himself, expanding his mind. He works at home, near his family, his wife Judy, daughter Mamie, their dog Rosie, and cat Twilight. The house, in Marin, is barely adequate for the loving bedlam generated between all the Rheingolds.
We started working at Wired, and in the years since I've made a point of visiting him about once a month when I'm in San Francisco. I met up with him in Tokyo as well, where I took a photo of him that adorned the book jacket of Smart Mobs, Howard's book about the social impact of mobile technologies.
He's often encouraged many of my adventures. Introducing me to people like Joi and Hattori, in Japan, for example. Or forwarding me information about Online Personals. He sent me on to Aikido. If it weren't for him, I might never have talked on with Rebecca, and heard that she'd been bitch slapped by the anti-christ.
visit him at Rheingold.com