ifindkarma. elegance is refusal.

June 8, 2009

Thank you, Rajeev Motwani.

Filed under: ifindkarma!, life, the universe, and everything! — ifindkarma @ 1:35 pm

On Friday I learned from Manish and Naval that Rajeev Motwani had died.

Rajeev and Asha invested in Joyce’s and my company Renkoo four years ago, and it really was the case that his friendship and his time were the most valuable aspects of that investment. Over the years, he has been a great advisor, confidant, and friend.

We would meet regularly at the University Coffee Cafe in Palo Alto. Every time I talked with him, he made my ideas better — on both technical matters and human matters. On the former, he always asked about algorithms we were developing so that he could suggest ways to improve them; on the latter, he regularly reminded me to be patient so that I could improve myself.

Over the years I’ve gotten myself into many sticky situations, and Rajeev was always Socratic, calmly advising me and Joyce to be all we can be, and reminding us to believe in ourselves the way he believed in us.

My favorite story about Rajeev is when the going got tough for Renkoo, and we gave every investor an opportunity to exit, his words to me were assured and confident. “Why would I want to leave you?” he asked. “You’re just getting started.” When I pointed out that other people did want out, he seemed peeved but resolved that everyone reacts differently to difficult situations, and that he was not going anywhere. Great things happen as the result of struggle and experience, and the longer we toil, the more experienced we become.

I never wanted to bother him, but he regularly checked in with me, and frankly I don’t know where he found the time. I know he was busy with a million other things, but he always made time for me. In fact, my next call with him was supposed to be today.

I spent a lot of this weekend shocked and sad. I still can’t believe he’s gone. As I read peoples’ thoughts about him — among them Om, David, Ron Conway, and Sergey — one thing really came across: Rajeev Motwani was a kind man. Rajeev gave so much strength and wisdom to so many people that his legacy lives on in all the people we touch and all the work we do.

And that is the greatest compliment I can bestow on anyone. I will truly miss you, Rajeev. Thank you.


  1. Adam – It is eerie as to how similar one of our “Rajeev stories” is.

    During the dark days of the dot-com-bust of 2002-2003, he and Asha (with dot edu) patiently stood behind us at Vialto while other investors were getting cold feet. Long story short – we survived the winter and were acquired by Cisco in 2004. It was no questions asked, only support (financial, cajoling other investors) and counsel on staying the course…

    Simple, but a powerful ending to your blog post – “thank you Rajeev.” Indeed.

    Comment by Ramneek — June 8, 2009 @ 4:34 pm

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