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The geek's geek

When I first met +Steve Lacey , back in 2004, he was working at Microsoft on the Flight Simulator team and I could instantly tell he was a geek's geek (IE, a pioneer everyone looked up to). You can see the video we did together here: (Silverlight required)

I instantly took to him. Why? Well, for one, he was humble. Some developers have an attitude of "I can code, so I am better than you." Steve had no such airs. He took the time to take me through the technology putting up with all my idiotic questions. It was very cool technology, basically the latest iteration of 3D buildings in Flight Similator that popped up as you flew around the world.

But he had something else. Passion for what he did and for what his teammates did. That's something that stood out, even inside Microsoft which is full of passionate technologists. He proudly walked me around and introduced me to everyone. Later, when he got to Google, he did the same thing, only he didn't feel the need to take the spotlight, preferring to stay in the background and chat with my other friend, +Buzz Bruggeman. Unfortunately that video was deleted due to Podtech, the startup I worked for, going out of business. Sigh. He noted that visit on his blog:

I infrequently kept in touch with Steve over the last few years, but I always had great respect for him, and watched as he worked at Google and I always heard great things from his coworkers. His bio is at

So, tonight, when I heard he was killed yesterday in a car wreck I just sat there stunned. The news is at:

He was a little younger than me, has two kids that are in between my kids' ages, a great wife and was one of those geeks who just had it all.

I just don't know what to make of this, especially after the horrific news this weekend in Norway. Senseless deaths that serve no purpose.

Well, except to remind each other that all we really have is today and a hug from our families and that your lasting impact can be measured both on the things you build as well as how you treat people day-to-day and the spark you have in your eyes for the work you're doing, the family you are nurturing, and the team you are hanging out with.

Me? I hugged my son while he fell to sleep and cried.

I'm already hearing his family is starting a fund for his kids' education. I think I'll redirect some of the $1,000 I was talking about the other day toward that and I'll let you know if I hear anything else about those plans. I'll see if I can get more news from his wife +Nabila Lacey (please don't bug her too much, I can't even imagine what she's going through right now).

Goodbye Steve. You were a great one. You were the geek's geek.

His Google+ account:

I also saw Louis Gray write something about this, and get a lot of reactions: Same with Ben Parr:
Nick Dixon's profile photoKristian Tuinzing's profile photoPhil Campbell's profile photoMohammad Eskandari's profile photo
So sad news. I have followed his work from a distance
I'm very to hear of the loss of your friend, Robert.
RIP Steve. Worked with him briefly and remain shocked. 
What a tragedy.
RIP Steve.
May God give his family & loved ones the strength to deal with this tragedy
why do such people have to die!
Thanks for the post and your summary, Robert.
RIP,the geek's geek.
RIP steve , sad .. this really highlights how road rage can really impact lives of people not involved at all with the incident
It's always the good people. So sorry for his family. I've used a lot of stuff he has worked on and enjoyed it. Hopefully it will live on in some form or another. RIP Steve.
And just a day after his wedding anniversary too! My heartfelt condolences to his family
thanks for sharing that Robert. Just saw the news report about 3 hours ago but they had no names as it was about 2 hours after the wreck. I hope they fry the guy who killed him.
No way!!! I met Steve at Gnomedex some years ago. We hit it off right away, due to being both Brits and naturally, geeks.

We stayed connected through various means ever since. He was such a smart and thoroughly nice bloke whom a had a lot of respect for.

What a sad loss. I'm shocked.
My thoughts go out to his family.

RIP Steve :(
Whoa! how very sad my heart goes out to his wife and whole family for such a tragic loss from a senseless insane act of selfishness and self indulgence by another human being...God Bless Steve Lacey RIP and his family...
bala rs
Really Sad !! Reading Steve's reputation I added him to my circle. Later in the post I c he s no more..
My thoughts and condolences go out to +Steve Lacey's family. This is a tragic reminder of how everything can be taken away so quickly and without warning. Be nice to people and don't stress the small stuff.
I am far more terrified of idiots like this than DUIs.
A tragic loss of a top engineer and fellow Googler :( RIP Steve. Thoughts are with his family.
Is there any links to make donations to the education fund? My thoughts go out to his family and may he rest in peace and never forgotten.
Just shows that we need to take time to treasure all the important things we have in life. Pray for all those killed or suffering from deaths around the world, let God provide them strength and healing.
Such talent.. what a life he lived.. condolences.
It's sad that he has died. My heart goes out to his family. I hope that Google is still working on cars that drive themselves, so that someday soon we don't have to lose so many so often, on such a trivial thing as driving to work.
Deep down sad. How can family and friend overcome such a senseless death ! My thoughts go to them.
A great loss, I will pray for him and his family.
You summed Steve up well Robert, thank you for writing. I had dinner with him shortly after his decision to go to Google and was again struck by his approach. His intelligence, humility and passion were equal in stature. Thoughts and prayers go out to his family. A big loss.
In a time when the world needs great fathers, husbands, and geeks this is a major hit to us all. I never met Steve Lacey, but I have seen his name numerous times within the Google ranks and always appreciated his work. It definitely makes you stand back and reflect on the world because at any time it can be pulled out from beneath your feet.
Flight Simulator was one of the most amazing programs for its time. I'm a Mac user and not being a hardcore gamer, it was the one program that made me appreciate gaming on the Windows and the PC. I still have an old version with the World Trade Center towers. Sad to see his talent leave us in such a tragic way.
Can we tag things as +sucky
:( I was a huge fan of Flight Simulator back in the day.
Steve was my good friend and neighbor. He got me "in" to Google+. Such a great guy--fantastic husband and father. Send good thoughts to his family. Two kids were robbed of their father and a wonderful wife is shattered.
how fragile, transient, and absolutely precious the little time we spend on this planet really is. RIP Steve...
Shocked and saddened to hear this news, especially after realizing that this was the husband of my ex-coworker Nabila. Nabila, so very sorry to hear this and feeling terrible for you and your little kids. Hope you somehow manage to find the strength to pull through this tragedy.
RIP thanks for Chrome Video. May your legacy live on.
+Robert Scoble, your mention about hugging your son while he fell asleep brought tears to my eyes. As a parent myself of a two young kids, I'm deeply saddended, and can only imagine what +Steve Lacey's kids must be going through. Goes to show that we can never ever take anything for granted. Senseless is an understatement when it comes to losing people this way, and for no fault of their own. It's infuriating and sad that people do not realize that they might end up destroying not just someone's life, but also families and relationships when they sit behind the wheel drunk!
That is so sad :( RIP Steve. My thoughts go out to the family.
It's always sad to lose someone who was so influential on people's lives, regardless if we knew him personally or not. My prayers go out to his family.
+Robert Scoble As others have said, if the family decides there's something the community can do for them, please share that. Always heart breaking when a parent is taken unexpectedly from their young family.
I had the privilege of meeting Steve in Seattle during the development of FSX and especially enjoyed his passionate geek talk. Condolences to his family and co-workers from the IVAO development team.
Just a day or so after his 10th anniversary makes it that much more tragic. Condolences to his wife, children, friends, and loved ones.
Steve , was a great guy.. probably smartest coder and nicest , humblest bloke I've been fortunate enough to meet and work with.
I still remember coming up to Howden ( up North ) tto meet with Steve and Phil on countless occasions in the early 90's during our press association jdays , and also our visit to Silicon Valley in 94 .
My heart goes to his family and and friends

Truly a great great guy.

I've always looked up to developers, since I was young. The world is poorer when one of its coders bites the dust. Ty for this post.
Hey Robert, turns out that Podtech video does still exist. I found it on this page (, 18th item down titled Get a tour of Google's Kirkland Office. Looks like the individual blog landing page is broken (likely due to Podtech's WP install being rooted, note spam links in the footer). The .mov is still there and accessible, if you feel like uploading it somewhere. Sounds like Steve was a wonderful and humble human being. Sad to hear of this.
Robert so it may seem , what sucks is someone unrelated had to pay for it , my condolences go out to his family to bear this loss
Thanks Robert. I have been near tears ever since hearing of this this morning.
I remember Steve so well....he will truly be missed.
Awful, awful news. I knew Steve in 1994 at the Press Association before he came to the US, and he was a truly smart bloke, something for us junior coders to aspire to. Only just found him on Google+ and he's gone.
Horrible, meaningless loss. I hope current road ragers may come across this story and at least prevent future loss by changing their habits.
i just found out. so so sad, i knew steve before he moved stateside and we chatted on the odd occasion. he was a brilliant guy in all areas of his life and it's sad that we always loose the best. my thoughts go out for his wife and children and is a reminder we MUST get in as much as we can out of life and love and look after our children's dreams.