Stan Flack, one of the "founding fathers" of all Mac Web sites, died of complications from a pre-existing illness. Former co-workers, Dennis Sellers and Jim Dalrymple have already offered their thoughts, with more I am sure to follow. Here are mine.
My memories of Stan date back to when I was first starting MacFixIt. He and Dave Moser were at the helm of MacCentral. The word blog hadn't been invented yet -- but that's what we were all doing. MacCentral was perhaps the first Mac Web site to seek out a broader audience beyond Mac technophiles. MacCentral placed a greater emphasis on design, seeking to appear more like a Web magazine than a blog. Its articles were generally written in a language that even a Mac newbie could understand. The formula worked. MacCentral went on to become one of the most popular (actually, I believe it became the most popular) Mac site on the Web.
It was a rough-and-tumble time for all of us in those early days of Web sites. The future was uncertain, the potential for making money was unclear. As a result, there was an understandable degree of competition among the dozen or so Mac sites. For some, this led to a lack of co-operation and even unfriendliness toward the other sites. Not so with Stan. At least in my interactions with him, he was always ready to be helpful, always supportive of what I was trying to do, and always generous with his advice and any other assistance he could provide.
We met at Macworld Expos on several occasions. Even the first time we got together, he treated me as if I was an old friend, inviting me to join him for drinks or dinner -- and insisting on picking up the tab. My conversations with Stan became one of the special treats of attending Macworld Expo.
A few years later, he sold MacCentral to Mac Publishing (the owners of Macworld). Again, he was leading the pack. He was perhaps the first and still only one of a few Web site owners to pull off such a deal. When I began my negotiations to sell MacFixIt, Stan once again was there to answer my questions and provide helpful advice.
After he left MacCentral (and went on to start MacMinute), I lost contact with him -- although I occasionally heard from others about what he was doing. I had no idea that he was so ill. It was a shock to learn of his death today. As a friend and colleague, I will miss him. As one of the pioneers in Mac journalism, we will all miss him.
It is truly a sad day today.