Steve van der Watt and I competed fiercely against each other in South Africa. And I mean fiercely.  

So, when we finally met and sat together at South Africa’s Rugby World Cup victory in 1995, neither of us expected to like each other.

Well Steve, 22 years later I consider you one of the most loyal and dear friends that I have. In all that time, even when I knew you were going through some tough times, I don’t think I’ve ever seen you without your huge trademark grin, big bear hug and readiness for any adventure. If there was a trophy for sucking the marrow out of life, you’d not only win it, but probably share a beer in celebration with everyone out of it!

Your ability to see the bright side of life is infectious, but my real admiration for you is as a perpetual student and (at the same time) an old master of the fine craft of salesmanship. Most people reach a level of competence and then satisfice, but you continue to think about, deconstruct and find new ways to help people see and enjoy the value of the solution you’re selling. Like so many of your businesses in the past, I expect that Medici will enjoy the same massive growth at your hands and under your leadership.

As someone who fancies himself as a bit of a salesman, I always know where to turn to hone my skills. When I need a good laugh, and want to meet the many interesting people that gather around you to expand my own friend network, I know where to run. Thanks for all the life and business lessons: past and those to come. As one of my anchors when I first moved to Chicago, you may never know how much easier you made it for me to settle in and build a life here. And yes, I know exactly the abuse I’m going to take from you for posting this message! Bring it. And thank you.

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