Remembering Sam Albert

While all grandfathers are proud of their grandchildren, few would make speeches about them. But Sam Albert – who died on Sunday, February 16th, at the age of 72 years – was so fond of his grandson Cameron that he opened every Basex conference by reading an e-mail written to him by Cameron about his use of the latest technologies. Cameron was just six years old when he started e-mailing his grandfather

Cameron is not the only precocious Albert. Sam attended the American University, majored in mathematics, and won the prized Root-Tilden Scholarship to the NYU Law School. He went on to spend 30 years working at IBM, where he created IBM’s business partner program and pioneered relationship programs with the management consulting, accounting, and legal communities. Upon leaving IBM, he founded Sam Albert Associates, an independent consultancy specializing in developing strategic relationships in the IT industry.

Sam, however, was known to many thousands not so much by name as by voice. Ten years ago, he launched CompuTips, on WINS, a New York City radio station. He shared his knowledge daily in his usually boisterous voice, always full of life and always eager to help out those who needed help with their computing tasks.

I first met Sam when he called Basex right after a news release for our first Strategic Thinkers conference hit the wire.  He introduced himself and asked to be admitted as a member of the press.  We chatted for a bit and I turned the tables on him: given his stentorian tones, I told him he could attend if he would agree to be the conference moderator.  It turned out we were both headed for Lotusphere the following week, so we met in person in Orlando.  Since that time, Sam became a fixture at our events and had joined our Board of Advisors.  Just last week, we decided that Sam should receive a Basex Excellence Award (or “Basey”) for meritorious service to the IT industry.  I never got to tell him of our decision, but his daughter promised me that Cameron would attend our next conference to accept the award for his “Poppy.”

Jonathan B. Spira is CEO and Chief Analyst at Basex

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