Dawn Patrol: Remembering Robert Klug
This morning I awoke to hear Robert Klug, a friend and industry colleague of 20 years passed suddenly from a heart attack. He was about to the same age as me, and he was taken far too soon.
Robert was an early innovator in the streaming media industry. I remember first getting to know him when I was living on the Sunshine Coast in Gibsons, British Columbia, in the early 2000s. He was on my call list, and his company Streaming Media Hosting was growing fast. We had an instant connection, and we soon found our way to doing business together. He left quite the impression on me—indeed, a personal one that I’ve been carrying around for almost two decades. Out of nowhere one day, a surfboard showed up at my door with a short note that read, “Thank you for making a difference.”
Although I don’t have that note, I still remember those words and will never part with the surfboard. Not only is it a genuine Robert August, but is was one of the first and few times a client had ever sent me a gift. I treasure the surfboard, but the words on the note are what really stay with me. That’s the kind of person that Robert was. He wanted you to know that you meant something to him personally and professionally. I took so much pride in knowing that the business we did together truly helped each of us. I have to say that it really made me a better salesperson.
In 2007, Robert wrote an Executive Vision of where the industry was going. It's not online, but it demonstrates the kind of foresight he had, as well as his passion for rock and roll: "Perhaps then, rather than history merely repeating itself, we will transcend history as we are freed from the constraints of time and space to interact in myriad ways. To quote the Who’s Pete Townshend, a visionary of another historical epoch of unbridled optimism, we’ll be able to access what we want “anyway, anyhow, anywhere we choose!" Then, in 2009, Robert’s company won the Reader’s Choice Award for Best Regional (North American) Delivery Network.
Our friendship and business grew, and by the time 2010 came along, Robert gave me a tour of his impressive facility in Los Angeles. The buzzing of bits, the massive power switches, cooling systems, and the racks made for an inspiring sight.
Robert had a passion for the industry, innovation, and most of all, people. As time went on, he pivoted to where the puck was heading and found success working in live event streaming, and VR. If you visit his Facebook page, you’ll find photos of him with people like Dave Grohl and Tom Petty.
A lifelong surfer dude, Robert just loved his toes on the board and the thrill of riding the next barrel, and he brought that passion to every aspect of his life. While I only got to see him about once a year when we'd bring our Streaming Media West conference to California, it was always something that I looked forward to. We'd always make plans in advance for a dinner, a drive to the beach, or a "make it up as we go" time.
His easy smile, never-ending creativity, and spontaneity made him a joy to be around. He always had a way of making me feel good about myself, and I’m certain I was not alone—it felt like that was his mission. He wouldn’t let a moment that we spent together go to waste.
I will miss Robert dearly, and I believe his sudden passing was yet another reminder to me and everyone who knew him to squeeze the most out of every single day. Life is precious, and it will throw all kinds of challenges at you. Don’t let those challenges win. Find a way to laugh, to dream, and to be there for others every single day. Because today will never come again.
Rest well, my friend. Thank you for bringing out the best in me.