Pete Ferne

[UPDATE: Maisie, Pete’s daughter, has set up a site in his memory ]
Pete Ferne (@petef) passed away today. He was diagnosed with a brain tumor in the summer after some initial symptoms that he seemed to recover from and his condition quickly deteriorated once it was identified.

I worked with Pete at Jiva Technology for a year between 2008 and 2009 and we remained friends since. He was a big part of why I took the job after meeting him, Kevin and Jon in the 7 Stars after they had read a blogpost I had written about the startup they were working on. I had heard of Pete before, he had a great reputation amongst geeky types and he lived up to it on that evening (including the geometric hair design!). As we drank Doom Bar and they ate picked eggs (urgh!) it occurred to me that Pete was on another level as far as understanding the web and I was likely to learn a great deal from him. This proved to be true in spades! The next day, while still hungover, I accepted a job at Jiva.

Pete was one of those rare people who combined genuine talent with almost no ego whatsoever. In many ways he seemed to come from an earlier version of the web community – driven by exploring interesting technology rather than just making a quid (though he wasn’t averse to that!). He believed passionately in the ‘open web’ and had alot to do with firing my interests in this area and my subsequent volunteering with Mozilla.

He had spoken at big international conferences like ETech, was Chair of Bristol Wireless (which he was very proud of), is the only person I’ve known to have actually attended FOOCamp, founded the Bristol Hackspace and played a mean game of table-football!

We shared a love of Warren Ellis comics as well as a common viewpoint on the web and his presentation on chaos-maths at a Jiva bonding session remains one of the most fascinating things I have have witnessed.

He passed away the day after the start-up he has poured his heart into for the last two years finally went into open beta – I hope he was together enough to realise this had happened.

My thoughts go out to his wife and family and my thanks go to Pete for all he taught me and the support he gave me even after I left Jiva.

He’ll be missed.

16 responses to “Pete Ferne”

  1. Bitterly sad to learn this earlier today. It was always a pleasure to bump into him and catch up at regular gatherings like iglab, Bathcamp and Skill Swap.

    Sympathies to his family.

  2. I was shocked to hear the news. I can’t say I really knew Pete, having only met him once, but I can tell by your words he’ll be truly missed by many, many people.

    My sympathies to family and friends

  3. Lovely post, Matt. I didn’t know Pete very well but he spoke at Bathcamp and the energy and passion that you’ve described here were very much apparent. He’ll be much missed.

  4. Only met Pete a few times, but his openness, enthusiasm and talent always made an impression. Sympathies to all.

  5. I met Pete at a handful of local tech events and was struck by his intellect, charm, and wit. He will be missed.

    My thoughts are with his family.

  6. Matt, you put it so well: “genuine talent with almost no ego whatsoever” – spot on. Pete had time for anyone and was always ready to help. Why did it have to be his curious mind that succumbed to a tumour. Tragic.

  7. I’m just another person that didn’t know Pete very well, but I did get to share a pint with him and like everyone else I found him very modest with an infectious passion. He will be much missed but left a legacy that anyone would be proud of.

    My sympathies to family and friends

  8. Thanks everyone – Pete was truly a top bloke and while I don’t feel I did him justice I wanted to say more than 140 characters would allow..

  9. I had the pleasure of knowing Pete for 20 plus years our families have been intertwined even before I was born. I can remember one of the first meeting I had with Pete he live down stair form Deb in St Paul. I mush of been around 6, I had come round to play and my best friend was no were to be found! I eventually found Aaron in Pete’s flat glassed eye staring in to the biggest computer I had seen, the days of the Atari had passed.

    A kind, gentle man their aren’t many people like this in world he will be sorely missed

    I send you all my love and will see you soon
    Emily Cumming xxx

  10. Such an amazing, wonderful, kind, creative, intelligent and beautiful person. I thought he was the coolest big brother a girl could ever wish for when I met his little sister some 30 years ago; beautiful in every way. He gave me faith in ‘man’kind. Pete; I look forward to catching up some day in that parallel universe. xxxx

  11. It was a huge privilege to know Pete, and to count him as a friend. I always felt that his crop circle of a head contained a vast, unique treasure trove of knowledge and wisdom – and our world is a vastly poorer place without it.

  12. pete was a wonderfull uncle and a good kind person whenever he came down for christmas he was always happy and smileing me and the rest of the family will miss him so so so much…love you pete!!!!!

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