On Tuesday morning I was shocked to get an email from Jennifer at ILM Professional Services informing us that Farhan Muhammad, the CEO of ILM, had passed away in his sleep on Sunday night. I see Farhan regularly and I've worked with him and his firm on projects for several years. To my knowledge he had no health issues and he was a mere 41 years old! Farhan and I had been emailing back and forth just days prior on a project that I was framing up to get him and his firm involved in. This news was so unimaginable it took a while to even process it. In the past decade I've done several projects with Farhan over the course of three different companies. He was a true partner in every aspect of the word. I knew that if Farhan told me that the consultants he had to work on a project were great, I didn’t need to verify. I knew as a fellow technologist I could just go with what he said. He was an "ace in the hole" so to speak. When I knew I needed to extend beyond my team, and get some outside folks in, him and his firm would rise to the challenge. And, if he knew he couldn't, he would be plain and direct and help redirect to a path that would work.
I remember on multiple occasions calling him that I needed help getting a project started, and needed to start yesterday with a solid team that could execute in weeks not months. He was always able to make magic happen.
On top of being a great business partner, he was also just an awesome guy. You couldn't work with him long without seeing the pride and joy he had in his family. His wife and their two kids came up in conversations a lot. My heart goes out to them with this sudden and unexpected loss. Farhan was born in Pakistan and moved here straight after high school. His extended family was a big part of his life as well, and one of the drivers to extra bedrooms in their home so they could stay for weeks and months at a time.
Perhaps the most amazing thing is after a near decade of doing projects, technology projects with high risk, I don't even remember a single time having a meeting or discussion with Farhan that was frustrating, challenging or dredging through a project gone wrong or technology poorly designed. That's amazing!
I was right in the middle of framing up the next project I wanted to work with Farhan and his team on. I was really eager to get Farhan's take on the approach, and we were excited to totally reinvent how this service worked and how people would engage with it. I’m really saddened to not have the opportunity to do that again.
To all of Farhan's family, friends and coworkers I want to send my deepest sympathies and regrets. I was able to attend the funeral service today to pay my respects and it was so nice to hear from so many that had great memories of working and living with him. His impact will be felt for a very long time, and he will not be forgotten. The Twin Cities technology community lost a great technologist, entrepreneur and supporter this week.