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The May Report: Final Report – No Really


Let me start this, my final report, by saying, Jerry, you were right.  You outlived me. Without boring anyone with the lengthy details of my long failing health (just check out the last ten years of archives for the complete history of my journey to this moment), let me bring you up to speed.  I checked into St. Joseph’s Hospital on Friday June 14th near midnight because of an infection in my right foot.  It stunk so badly that my presence could be smelled a block before I arrived.  After several days of dealing with doctors and being pumped with antibiotics, the “healers” determined that it was limb threatening and the foot or leg may have to go.

I was wheeled into the operating theatre on Wednesday, June 19th early morning.  While in recovery, at 9:01 a.m. I stopped breathing and my biology was calling the shots. Despite much prayer and hope it was Game Over.

So if you have sent me any emails recently, don’t expect a response.

I had become less than motivated about the report over the past couple of years, which may have had as much to do with in increasing inability to get around easily as my general waning interest in Chicago’s tech community and this new generation of players.  I had seen much of this before, during our first run up.  Only now, many of the old retreads were still around making more noise than impact, and the most interesting entrepreneurs we’re leaving for anyplace but Chicago as soon as they showed a glimmer of promise.  Was I motivated to investigate and castigate yet another generation, in turn alienating myself?  Not really, once the Flips of the world had left the building, the party just wasn’t as much fun.

There are no doubts that many of you are a breathing a sigh of relief that they’ll never be the subject of another snarky headline or personally intrusive investigation.  You know who you are; I don’t have to remind anyone of my favorite subjects.  And then there’s my personal cast of Grabowskis, the folks who have been my “friends,” writers, confidantes, sounding boards, informants and midnight gabbing buddies.  You can all turn your phones off vibrate; there won’t be any more 2 AM calls.  We had a good run and I leave this life with no real regrets, at least none that I can print.  And to all those who are in the midst of suing me or were planning on doing so in the future, if you couldn’t get money from a rock, try getting it from a pile of ashes! 

I understand that my old Peanut Gallery is planning on throwing a party for me.   They’ll use my mailing list and this report to provide anyone who cares with the details, it will be in July.  Go ahead, get really, really drunk, act inappropriately and know that this time I won’t be there with a microphone to capture you in your moment of excess and write it up in the most embarrassing manner the next day.  Have a good time; you’ll have one more card in your pocket at the end of the night.  And until we meet again Jerry, Dave, Jeff (both of you), Steve, Terry, Gary, Nik, Bob, Fred, Brian, Chris, Flip, Phil, Paul, and the rest of you, your secrets are safe with me, I have carried them to the grave.

Thank you everyone for contributing to make the Themayreport – the essence of my life.

It’s been my life’s labor of love and passion.

One of my favorite videos    

I’ve left many voicemails over the years. Here’s just one of many   

One of my favorite movie lines: v=8vY-4zWKsJM  

BTW, My Mom is doing well after her heart surgery, may she live a long healthy life.

I love you Mom for all you’re support and love over the years, no matter how difficult I was.

To all my family, friends, faithful readers, supporters, detractors, gadflies, cronies and anyone else I hit my cane, I am signing off one last time.

Till we all meet again. I have to go now. This really is my final report. 

Ronald Peter May left this world on June 23rd 2013 at 11:47 p.m. 

I wanted a Celebration of Life and details of my celebration party will be forthcoming.

If you would like to leave me a note, please leave a comment below with any stories, memories or any comment you would like to leave at the bottom of this post11


54 comments on “The May Report: Final Report – No Really

  1. Rob

    Ron, If you are reading this on whatever it is they have in heaven, I met you twice and you wrote me up twice and you were as obnoxious and prying as you always are. Never afraid to rock the boat, I am sure you are rocking it now. RIP.

  2. Doug Wilson

    RIP Ron May. Thank you for devoting your life to the Chicago Tech Community. The loss of the unique role you defined for yourself will be felt by all members of this community.

  3. Tamale Chica

    Ron I met you back in 2001. You were always a character, and your own
    person. Mostly I remember you were “difficult” but that was your charm.
    And yes, like many you asked for my business card. Back then there
    were three well known tech journals, but yours was the one that endeared
    in our hearts and our minds, as will you. RIP. You were loved by many
    even if you did not know it.

  4. Tricia Tamkin

    Ron, your reports were always a pleasure to read. No one could get the story like you could. I always referred to you as the National Equirer of Chicago Technology. You will be missed, my friend.

  5. Brad Bauer

    RIP Ron. Thinking of the time you hit me with your cane and the time you chased me around House of Blues to try to get me to dish dirt on the USWeb/CKS acquisitions locally.

  6. Ron – I remember meeting you in the mid-1990′s, in the midst of the first Web 1.0 tech boom long before you had started your report and getting your advice about interviewing, my resume and my career.

    While I didn’t end up joining that company you had called me about, I’m glad we remained friends in the many years after.

    As a fellow University of Chicago attendee (and fellow not quite graduate) we shared a wide ranging conversations over the years. I moved away from Chicago back in 2006 so missed your more recent reporting on the Chicago tech scene – but I’m sorry we won’t be able to continue our conversations when I get back into town in the future.

    I hope your contributions and newsletters will be preserved as the bits of Chicago history that they are. While you were most definitely a character I know I’m far from alone in already missing you and your unique voice and contributions.

  7. Avery Cohen

    Sad to hear of your passing, Ron. We met long ago, when you were a recruiter in the Pick community, and you were one of the most interesting and memorable people in the room even back then. Your Chicago tech column was always a good read, and your role as gadfly and straight shooter in the tech investment community is not likely to be reprised. You were a Chicago original, a singular voice, never afraid to point out the Emperor’s new clothes were not all there.

    Godspeed, and blessings to your mother and brother.

  8. MillerDan

    Nothing Ron loved more than breaking news in the Chicago tech sector, and watching the mainstream media first try to ignore the scoop, and then try to catch up.

  9. Kevin

    Goodbye Ron. I’ve known you almost since I first moved to the US and always had fun reading your column or supplying you with information. I had the pleasure of watching a couple of unscrupulous partners squirm while wondering who could have given you the scoop!

    It was always fun to chat with you, and I was never quite sure what to expect!

    Rest in peace, mate.

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  11. Sunny K. Joshi

    Ron, I met you at Techweek last year and had no idea who you were; took you around the booths, and heard all the praises and criticisms people threw at you. You were honest, spoke your mind and always had your cane ready. I knew then, you shook the tech community with a bang. Godspeed sir. RIP.

  12. Jay

    Ron, oh Ron…you will be missed, but all the memories I have will always bring a smile to my face. You were such a good sport while I tormented you during the days at DBC. Bunny suits(you were a chick magnet on Good Friday, nice Jewish boy that you are), lamb heads(you squealed like a pig), firecrackers in your shoes, losing money to you when you actually lost weight (I think it was $100 bucks for 100 pounds) and all the rest. You were always “special” and the biggest gossip on the planet. I guess that’s what led you to the “Report”. Rest in Peace my friend.

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  14. jaginsburg

    Like so many, our paths first crossed a Chicago tech event. You looked at me, trying to place me, and when that failed, barked, “Give me your card!” I did, of course, and soon found myself on the mailing list of the most extraordinary “Report.” Quirky, insightful, rude, brilliant, entertaining, informative, gossipy, fascinating, fearless. What fun to be sitting in the cheap seats watching shots—sometimes cheap, sometimes oh so richly deserved—fly by. Wow.

    Chicago used to be filled with larger than life literary lions. From the old City News Bureau and “The Front Page” it inspired, to the likes of Mike Royko and Robert Ebert, Chicago was brimming with reporters who made you want to read. They were characters who cared deeply about the beats they covered: born journalists, always digging, always writing, only getting better with age.

    For all the bluster and broad swipes, it was always clear that you were trying to beat some truth into the conversation, batting away the blarney of press releases with joyful ease. Your position—feared by some, even hated by some—gave you a relished freedom. Whether you were a Royko or an Ebert is beside the point: You had a reporter’s hunger and a way with words. You stood on the outside, exactly where a reporter should be.

    Chicago still has some wonderful reporters and writers, but the infrastructure has been shredding for years in a perfect storm of disruptive innovation and legacy debt. Our newspapers limp along, shedding staff, cowering behind pay walls few care to scale. Television broadcasts struggle to report news that’s old news by the time it airs. Even WBEZ isn’t what it once was (http://www.chicagoreader.com/chicago/public-media-wbez-paid-contributors-dueling-critics/Content?oid=9998631).

    I don’t know how you managed to keep TMR going. I’m sure it was a bit Don Quixote, a combination of belief and sheer will. But it was amazing to watch. And you will be missed.

    Yours was an original voice.

  15. Charles Stack

    Ron, I have to admit that you “punked” me completely, by publishing your own last Report post-mortum! You were always an amazing guy to know and spend time with, and I enjoyed our online banter. Thanks for your support to Constant Compliance Inc. since Innovate Illinois 2005, you left some very large shoes to fill! Rest in peace, my friend….Chuck Stack, MPH, Vice-President of 2Ci

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  17. Gian Fulgoni

    RIP Ron.
    You marched to your own drummer, which is not something many people can say. And even though your health was deteriorating badly in recent years, I never heard you complain. For that you are to be admired. Two things I will never forget about you: 1) you tearing up and being overwhelmed at seeing the Rocky Mountains for the first time at the Divine meeting in Beaver Creek in 2000 and 2) your eyes opening so, so wide when you saw the steaks at Gibsons the time we had dinner there.
    I will miss your humor, sarcasm, insults, insights and occasional beautiful use of the English language.
    God bless you.
    Gian

  18. Josh London

    Ron,

    I’ll miss you.

    I was touched by our conversation a few months back at the MIT Forum. Your hands were bleeding so I knew inside me you were in your last days. You talked about a holocaust documentary on PBS which somehow led to a connection between a Czech woman with your Mother’s family, many who had died in the holocaust. It was touching, and I saw a side of you that many of us didn’t at the many public events where we saw you.

    You were, as you acknowledge, a difficult man to be around. But underneath that gruff exterior – and the loud shouts for the umpteenth time for our business cards – was a man of true passion and I believe, a caring soul. It just wasn’t easy to see it.

    So RIP my friend and I’ll give you my card when I arrive later.

  19. Stacey Royal

    I remember several conversations with you while I lived in Chicago, and I think you were an important part of celebrating the tech that has been created in Chicago. I know you were always trying to get gossip about someone while we talked, but I could never share too much, because I knew where it would end up. However, I always new I was at a great event if Ron May showed up. May you rest in peace and know Chicago won’t be the same without you.

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  21. John Jonelis

    MAY IS GONE

    We lost Ron May. There’re those that are bitter and those that’ll weep. There’s those that always revere him and swear by his widely circulated May Report—and then there’s the others that still feel the sting. Everybody has a powerful opinion, but I got more than one reason for liking the guy.

    I recall my first private equity meeting in a BIG room with an ENORMOUS conference table, a room packed with a double ring of tough investors—beer in hand, every face seasoned and hard. I sit back in a high-backed leather chair and listen to a terrific investment pitch that includes an impassioned plea—hugely impressive and compelling. And the oohs and aahs from these highly experienced men and women. How can I not invest in this offering? Everybody wants in!

    Then a voice cuts through the warm glow like somebody just pulled the ripcord on a chain saw. “I heard you give that same pitch two years ago. What happened to that venture?”

    The room goes silent a long moment. Then the speaker tries to wiggle out, but Ron
    keeps after him. Am I grateful? Hell yes! Ron May plucks me from certain destruction and I’ll never forget it. Then he goes after the next speaker, but that guy gives it right back to him, fighting like rats.

    Ron gets banned from that venue but not from others. I’m at another event when I hear that rasping holler: “Jonelis, you still writing that shit?” Well, yeah. Hello to you too, Ron. But I still love ya.

    Ron’s a blogger with the instincts of a newspaper reporter. More than once he shouts at me from across a room, “Jonelis are you going to get this out by morning, because I’ll call you every hour on the hour till you do!”

    That’s the way Chicago people encourage each other. Those of you at sophisticated New York events and California beach parties may not appreciate the Chicago way. Too bad. It’s a good way.

    The phone rings real early one morning and I feel around in the dark for the receiver. That voice again. “Jonelis, your magazine is a joke! You know who this is talking to you?” How can I not know? And he doesn’t stop with vulgar generalities. He goes on to tell me precisely what’s wrong. And yes—he’s got the problem nailed! Now I know what to do. That day, I make major changes. I’m still working on it. Thank you Ron!

    Just the other day he calls me from the hospital—just out of
    intensive care. He might lose his foot. He states the circumstances without griping. No, that’s not his concern. He’s gonna miss the FFF event—maybe even Techweek!

    So I get back from FFF with over 6,000 words of notes and I
    know what I gotta do. I send ‘em to Ron so he’s got material for a few articles while he’s in the hospital. And I let him know I’m praying for him. Then I give him a call. But so many people are trying to get this guy
    on the phone, his voicemail is all plugged up. I never hear that harsh, grating, magnificent voice again.

    G’by Ron.

    John Jonelis – ChicagoVentureMagazine.com

  22. TJ Weber

    Ron, the memories of our late night gatherings at Cafe Iberico after events we used to frequent will always remain with me. Your advice when I was only 19 years old while launching Airvertise will remain with me. Your coverage throughout the dot-com bust will remain with me. Thanks for all those years and I hope you are reading this looking upon us.

    For all readers, hopefully TMR can continue on.

    –t.j.

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  24. My kids came up to me and hugged me sweetly as I came home from teaching my evening college class last night.

    They thought I would need it since even they remember Mr. May sitting down with us at a dinner years ago, asking them all sorts of questions about what it’s like being their age. Asking questions is a good thing. In raising my children to lead a “Torah Driven Life” I am to teach them how to ask good questions.

    Ron would likely agree that asking better questions gives you better answers. Thank you Ron for teaching us how to bravely ask questions that need asking. Just look at the world around us today and see how afraid people are of questions and the visceral responses when finally asked. We need more Ron’s.

    In his own way, Ron seemed to be seeking to fulfill “Tzedek/Justice/צדקים ” and “Tikkun olam/fixing the world/תיקון עולם” by way of his questions and tenacity. I will always remember his good example in this respect.

    “Ron”, means “Song” in Hebrew. So, with that I’ll remember to hold back my “Lashon Hara/לשון הרע/Evil Tongue” and instead sing the praises of family, friends and my co-workers to encourage and build each other up.

    I just wish I could hand him one more glass of fruit juice at an event.

    G_d bless you Ron.

    David Flint
    Founder, http://TechVenue.com

  25. Melanie Adcock

    Dear Ron, Now that you’re gone I can finally appreciate all of the good moments we had writing together without worrying you’re going to bash me in your report like you did your other Assistant Editors. You were difficult to work with, but now I know I can do anything. I hope you didn’t suffer too much in your last week on Earth. I imagine you are now looking down from heaven feeling pleased about the progress I’ve made with my grammar. Let’s hope there won’t be too many tech greats inside the pearly gates getting themselves into a tither when they learn your name wasn’t taken off the guest list. Your friend, Melanie

  26. Jeff Gilbert

    I never met anyone more willing to do the heavy lifting. 2AM, 6AM, didn’t matter, Ron, you were always on the case. Maybe now you can get some well-deserved rest. Never much liked your “schtick” at tech events, but really liked the intelligent, kind, curious, compassionate human being you revealed at other times.

    Your M.O. has always been “print it and if it’s wrong, someone will contact you with the corrections”. Democratization of information was a big thing for you, as was integrity. Always willing to call out a faker.

    I’ll miss the late night conversations about politics. The ones about the supreme court were my favorites. You constantly amazed me with your knowledge of who was appointed by whom and whether they turned out more liberal or conservative than expected.

    You also treated everyone the same – whether cab driver or congressman. You were always interested to hear what they had to say and then happy to argue if you disagreed.

    Contrary to what some might say, I never found the May Report to be like the National Enquirer. That mag is all about fabricating reality. Yours was all about narrating it.

    I believe you were a force for good, even though there was frequently some collateral damage.

    The world is a poorer place in your absence. I doubt we will see another like you. Go in peace, my friend.

  27. SCOTT UPP

    30 YEARS AND COUNTING. ALWAYS A PAIN IN THE ASS AND PROUD. YOU BROUGHT NEW MEANING TO THE WORD CONFIDENTIAL. NO CHICAGO BUFFET WOULD ALLOW YOU TO REENTER. BUT SOMEHOW WE ALL LIKED YOU, YOUR INDEPENDENCE, INDIFFERENCE AND MOST OF ALL THE MAY REPORT. OUR BEST TO PAUL AND THE FAMILY. YOU WILL BE MISSED. YOU WERE UNIQUE, ONE OF A KIND. RIP

  28. Kevin Collopy

    Ron, I look back with great fondness at the many late nights hanging out at Gyros on the Spit with Dino and my buddies and you. You were, of course, a fixture there. Those were some really fun times. You were like a one man comedy show. You are truly a one of a kind character, and although I haven’t seen you in years, you left a lasting impression. You will truly be missed!

  29. syntress

    Ron, there will never be another like you. I will never forget how you beat me repeatedly with your cane the first time we met. Nor will I forget how you beat me with your cane the second time we met. I’m fairly certain that your cane had a mind of it’s own. We were lucky to have you in the Chicago Tech Community, you were always able to say it like you saw it. The team at Syntress, like many others, was fortunate to have been there with you these final years of The May Report.

  30. SCOTT UPP

    I’ve known Ron since the mid 80′s. Over the many years I have worked, socialized, scolded, attempted to educate, fed, clothed, been furious, and have cared deeply for the brilliant, frustrating, appreciative/unappreciative, unique, man child.

    I am grateful that my children had an opportunity to have dinner with Ron at our kitchen table.

    The mold has been broken.

    Ron lives large in all that have experienced him!

    Debbie Upp

  31. Pingback: Ron May, an Icon in the Chicago High Tech community | Tamale Chica Chronicles

  32. Chris

    Ron RIP you were as real as real gets and fearless to your core…You will be missed yet in some ways I am glad your suffering is over…Thanks for be true to yourself always…

    Chris

  33. So sorry to hear about this. I haven’t lived in Chicago since ’99, but I’ll always remember Ron’s questions at the MIT Entrepreneur’s Forum and his tireless quest for business cards to add to his email list. RIP Ron.

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  35. William Henderson

    Moved away from Chicago in 2004, but still subscribed to the May report…actually not sure how to unsubscribe;)

    Favorite quote:

    Bill, this is The May Report. We delve deep here. Can you give me more detail?

    Natch!

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