I do not always look at my full twitter stream, but am both glad and saddened to read this message today:

The photo at the top was when I got to meet Jay in person for the first time 2008. I was in San Francisco to speak at a Wordcamp; I am only guessing but think that Jay saw my blog post at this trip and reached out. He picked me up at my hotel, drove me first to this spot to get photos of the Golden Gate Bridge, and then on out to lunch in Sausalito.

What he really wanted to do was to share with my the beauty of the redwoods in Muir Woods (likely my first closeup encounter with the redwood giants).

I’m not the one to try and summarize Jay, he was a rather Renaissance guy in a humble package – artist, businessman, elearning guru, internet visionary, traveler. He was extremely early on the web- his long standing web site and later blog was one I do remember coming across in the early 1990s when I first dipped my toes in the web. See his trace in the Internet Archive:

internet time

The very name of his domain internettime.com shows his prescience– seeing that warping of business and elearning practices in a new realm of “Internet Time”. I remember on that one day visit, he showed me the humble spot (I think it was a trailer park?) in Sausalito where The Well was born.

In 2000 he was forecasting the future via his “Time Machine”:

The Network Economy (circa 2002)
Networks changed everything. We’re all connected. Nothing is ever finished. Old authority has given way to individual autonomy. You play by new rules or drop out of the game.
Business & Organizations (circa 2002)

Business is in permanent white water. Passengers on the clue train know that hyperlinks subvert hierarchy, markets are conversations, honest conversation drives out hype, and power flows to the customer. Markets are global. Changes are rapid.


Technology (circa 2002)
All of us are jacked into the Internet 24/7. Broadband and fiber have put interactive video on most desktops in the office and set-tops at home. Virtual private networks and individualization have eliminated firewall problems. Cornea and fingerprint scans insure that people are who they say they are. Wireless connectivity frees people to work wherever they please. We run applications and store files on the Internet, making them accessible from anywhere. Swarms of personal software agents continuously crawl the net, screening and feeding information to individual personal portals. An unimaginable array of connected gadgets and gizmos both complicate and simplify our lives.[1] The toaster talks.


We don’t need no stinkin’ classrooms

At our place of work, high resolution surround-screens flash with images and pulse with sound. On screen, the latest version of Windows makes it look as if you’re really looking through squeaky-clean windows at people you’re talking with and scenes you visit. It feels more and more like You Are There.

Personal portals connect us seemlessly to customers, colleagues, and learning resources. Smart systems and personalized bots track our preferences, performance, accomplishments, and learning signature in order to recommend learning experiences we may enjoy. Learners bozo-filter content whose evaluations by others fail to meet their standards. Collaborative filters suggest links enjoyed by others in one’s professional and social communities. One link may call up an informative customer comment, the next a celebrity lecture on the net. An entire world of learning is but a micropayment away.

Not that all learning takes place on a desktop. People learn in smart rooms, from wireless portables, anywhere they please. Receiving learning or being entertained or “going” to work, all these are as easy as turning on the tap.

Well, maybe he missed on the talking toaster.

Clark Quinn said the death was a surprise; Jay had just blogged 2 days prior, as normal.

I cannot recall how Jay and I connected online, but likely it was the early blog days. And I honestly did not have another path crossing with him after that one day in 2008. I had some hopes to visit on a next visit to the Bay Area; that was supposed to be last March on my return trip from Canada, but I routed my way more directly home.


I was moved by his honest and brave post earlier this year I’ve Been Depressed. You?:

I’ve been depressed.

Telling you this will blow my chances of running for president, but what the hell: I have been clinically depressed for the last two years. It’s a form of going crazy. I lost interest in my work, stopped blogging and taking photos. I became a near-hermit.

Having followed his work and that one day together, he might have been one of the last people I would have guessed was dealing with depression.

Internet Time will not be the same without you Jay. Thanks for all you did for so many of us.

Top /Featured Photo Credit: flickr photo by cogdogblog http://flickr.com/photos/cogdog/2774011832 shared under a Creative Commons (BY) license

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An early 90s builder of web stuff and blogging Alan Levine barks at CogDogBlog.com on web storytelling (#ds106 #4life), photography, bending WordPress, and serendipity in the infinite internet river. He thinks it's weird to write about himself in the third person. And he is 100% into the Fediverse (or tells himself so) Tooting as @cogdog@cosocial.ca


  1. I, too, saw the tweet and had the same sinking feeling of loss. I remember meeting Jay in a galaxy far away (actually one of the first edubloggingconferences, hosted by Pat Delaney in SF at Galileo High School’s library). He was a rapt listener. Learned a lot from him that day including the permanent alert in my head that what he blogged and thought about was worth my attention.

    I reach up and pull down my copy of Informal Learning, dip in and find this quote about ‘meta-learners’, “Lack-lustre learners show up unprepared. They fear to look stupid and are afraid to experiment.They don’t seem to know how they are doing. They feel that learning is imposed upon them.” Well, that is Jay, in a nutshell, a connector but also not one to suffer fools lightly. Or maybe I am wrong. I do know the one time I met him he was generous. He shared and listened. I learned from him in the way that he valued most–informally.

    I believe that the end of his book, Informal Learning, prefigured his death, but on his own terms. He tells the story of Bluma Zeigarnik who hypothesized that if you want people to remember what you are presenting then you leave it unfinished. Or as he put it, “If you want to keep something actively in mind, don’t close it out. Let it hang.”
    So much of what Jay did is unfinished, but that is fine. We will all leave the work unfinished, but he certainly gave us enough to carry on down the road he made. I think I will spend some of today remembering Jay Cross and most importantly in honor of him I will let it…………

    1. Thanks Terry for sharing, I am reaching now to order a copy of Jay’s book (late on that one). I’m glad you mentioned Pat Delaney, he was one of the first edubloggers I connected with and he has graciously met me several times in San Francisco. One of the fine people out there indeed.

  2. Terry…I remember that meeting at Galileo vividly as well. It was when I was first trying to realize the larger potentials of learning with the tools we were using, and Jay’s comments on the panel were so profound to me at the time. And then just two days ago I downloaded his new book. Informal learning is one of the most marked up and dog eared in my library, and I was so looking forward to this new effort as well.

    Very sad.

  3. I wasn’t aware that Jay Cross had passed away. Very sad. His book on informal learning has left a big impact on my views of teaching and training, especially his informal learning poster.


    I have never met him IRL, but I’m sure he’s proud to have left so many digital artifacts and lasting impressions for others to build on.

  4. We received this loevly email from Claire yesterday: Hi Jay and Christina,I just wanted to say thanks again for the amazing photos By the way my favourite shot was the one of us on the steps, Jeff has got his arm around me and there is streak of sunlight on the mountain behind.The activity shots were great too especially the two you put on the blog, oh and we can’t believe the number of clay pigeon discs exploding that you managed to get. The highland bull ones made us laugh too. Also after being slightly nervous about the pre wedding photos they looked great too (I think the ones of me looking apprehensive and stressed are quite funny in hindsight), and I was amazed at the confetti shots. I didn’t even think the confetti stayed around that long as it was so windy.Hope you are both well and busy,Claire

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