Dave Kleinberg RIP

Back in 1985, I was a young programmer at Apple who wound up spending time in Japan, helping Apple evaluate options for supporting Japanese on the Mac.

This nascent project became the focus for Apple’s new Pacific division, and a manager was dutifully assigned. A former sales guy named Dave Kleinberg. Great. Just what I always wanted.

And yes, there were some early impedance miss-matches, but by the end of the project he’d earned my respect. There were countless details outside the scope of just “gettin’ er done” (the coding bit that I cared about), and Dave sweated the details. We wound up shipping KanjiTalk 1.0 in May of 1986, and this wound up being the foundation for Apple’s long term success in the Japanese market.

As a side benefit, Dave gave all team members the best project tchotchke ever – the KanjiTalk Monolith:

Why the post today? A member of the KanjiTalk team just sent me the link to Dave’s obituary.

Dead at age 53 from lung cancer. We’d seen him a year ago at the 25th anniversary get-together, and he’d seemed fine. I wish I’d told him then what I just wrote now.

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