By: Richard Brewer-Hay
I’ve tried writing this blog post 6 times now but keep having to stop. I am truly at a loss. As most of you know, I had the amazingly good fortune to take a vacation with my family these past two weeks. During my trip I was surprisingly very good about staying “checked out” on the other side of the world. However, I did check a few Facebook user groups from time to time and it was the news I read on my last day of my holiday last week that I’m still stunned and saddened to have to write about now. Last Wednesday, I read a blog post on TameBay – Farewell Sue Bailey – letting me know that Sue Bailey, TameBay’s co-founder and co-editor, had died.
For those of you who have read eBay Ink since we launched back in early 2008, I think it’s pretty evident that the most precious gift I cherish about this job is the connections I’ve been able to make with people both near and far. It’s why I was attracted to the job in the first place and it’s why I still thrive off it today. It’s also why I’m having such a tough time typing this.
Being a corporate blogger (still sounds like such a dirty word) means that, for the most part, I spend the majority of my time reporting the facts – the news – while trying to do it (sometimes admittedly poorly but most times successfully) without much spin. For the deeper analysis I read folks like Scot Wingo and, until very recently, Sue. In fact, if you need to see all that Sue means to the eBay community and specifically the value she brought to people over the years through TameBay, you need look no further than Scot Wingo’s “Bye Bye, Biddy” blog post of late last week. A really fitting tribute to someone who wasn’t afraid to ask the right question at the right or wrong time:
The best thing about having Sue at event is she was one tough cookie. She would be the first person at the microphone to call an eBay/Google/Amazon/etc. exec out about some policy that clearly didn’t make sense. Much to the delight of the audience they would frequently be up there stammering and totally flummoxed about how to react because Sue’s question would include a trap they couldn’t possibly extricate themselves from. – Scot Wingo
I only met Sue in-person a few times over the past 3+ years but I knew from the beginning that she “got it.” My final post around eBay Live! Chicago 2008 shows that front and center:
TameBay’s Sue Bailey obviously attended the same conference I did because I couldn’t agree with her more in her final assessment of the week in Chicago. She quotes Lorrie from the Power Seller panel on Saturday afternoon: “people are working their backsides off to make you successful… there are a lot of new faces up here. We’re sorry for the mistakes of the past, come join us for the future”.
My favorite memory of Sue comes from my first visit to the eBay UK office in Richmond back in August, 2008. She traveled all the way from France to join her TameBay partner, Chris Dawson, and I for dinner near the eBay office. I took the photo above of Sue after I’d finished what can only be described as the largest Ploughmans lunch known to man. Sure we talked about eBay but more importantly we just chatted about all things under the sun. She gave me her constructive criticism and feedback on what was working on the blog and what wasn’t and I’ve taken that feedback with me ever since. It was after that dinner with Chris and Sue that I first started to think about the “5 Minutes With…” concept; the need to show the people behind the decisions and work that come out of our company every day.
After I sent my condolences to Chris and Dan last week, I decided to take my last walk on the beach before coming home with the family. I walked with my iPod and set it to random – I have thousands of songs on there – and the first song to play was “Amazing Grace” performed by the Royal Scots Dragoon Guards. I took the below picture too. Whenever I look at this picture and think back to that solo walk on the beach I will think of Sue and the short but fun laughs we had together over that huge ploughmans in Richmond. Another reminder that every day counts.
I’m sending all the sympathy I can to Sue’s family and friends. You have my sincerest condolences.
Goodbye Sue. You will be missed by many.