I was at Berkeley over the weekend for Jim Gray‘s tribute. It was an excellent event. Lots of big names in Computer Science were there to celebrate Jim‘s life and career. It is absolutely amazing how many people Jim touched on a personal and professional level. Very moving and fascinating event. I highly recommend the recordings of the presentations.
My interactions with Jim started in 2003, when he sent me a message with just the words “right on!” as a comment to the WS-GAF paper (linked as CS-TR-825). It was what the team needed after all the negative feedback (even “$%@$#” words in private communications) we were receiving at the time. I met Jim at PDC03 and continued to interact with him. He was the reason I took the decision to join Microsoft in 2005 and the main reason I decided to leave CSD and Don Box‘s team in order to join Tony Hey in 2006. I was very lucky and honored to officially have him as my mentor within Microsoft. We exchanged lots of messages but, as it was typical of Jim, he made everyone feel special, everyone feel as if they had his full attention and he was the best mentor to a LOT of people.