Farewell to a very good friend

By: Ann Cortissoz

A very good friend, Jim Dowd, passed away yesterday. He had been fighting brain cancer for over a year. About a month ago his wife asked friends to send them stories of life with Jim that they could read together as a family, and this is what I sent:

So, I had this idea of building a drone to collect biological information from whales and call it SnotBot.

Everybody I spoke with, including most of our staff and funders at that time, thought it was a crazy idea. To say I was disappointed by the lack of enthusiasm is an understatement. And then I spoke to Jim, and the tide turned. As soon as he heard it I think Jim said it was a “brilliant” idea.

So at a time when we had no money and an idea that pretty much everyone (apart from Jim) thought was crazy, we moved ahead. The Flying Car team of Jim and his partner Eric jumped in regardless of $$ and said, “Let’s make this happen.” I needed some enthusiasm, and Jim was the man.

Out of the gate we had the idea to try and raise non-traditional funding for SnotBot development through a Kickstarter campaign. During an early Kickstarter conversation I said, “Do you think having a celebrity like Sir Patrick Stewart would help…?” Jim said, “Are you fucking kidding me, absolutely!!”  So I called Sir Patrick and he quickly agreed. My idea was Patrick Stewart would be on camera and say: “I want you to support this important work…that is important to whales, our oceans etc.” Boring! Thank heavens we went with Jim’s idea – Let’s harass Sir Patrick in the name of science.

Preview YouTube video Snotbot Kickstarter: Harassing Sir Patrick Stewart For The Whales

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