It's Unfair


Eric Lefkofsky

On Thursday morning, as I was on my way to Florida to visit my parents, I got a call from Brad telling me that Adam London had suddenly and unexpectedly passed away.

Adam was Brad’s chief of staff at Uptake. He had worked for us for the past three years, shortly after graduating from University of Michigan.

He started at Lightbank as an Associate, helping us find great companies to invest in. He then moved to Groupon for a year to work with our Corporate Development team. And then he left to join Uptake as Brad‘s chief of Staff, which was just getting off the ground.

Adam was a true insider in our world; one of only a handful of people to work in three of our businesses – Lightbank, Groupon, and Uptake. In part because he was ambitious and wanted to have as broad an experience as possible, and in part because he was super talented and we were thrilled to have that talent touch so many of our companies.

Adam died in his sleep at 27 years old.

When Brad first called me, I was in shock. You just aren’t prepared to emotionally navigate the loss of a 27 year old. He wasn’t old, he wasn’t sick. To the contrary, he like most 27 year olds seemed invincible. Indestructible

Even now as I’m writing this, I haven’t fully come to terms with the loss. Adam had become a staple in our weekly management meetings, and somewhere in the back of my mind I keep thinking I’ll still see him on Monday - sitting a few seats away from me.

I knew Adam predominantly in a business capacity. I knew how his mind worked when it came to thinking about technology companies, and how to grow them.

I didn’t know him that well personally. Sadly, I’ve learned more about him in the past few days than in the past three years. Talking to people about what he was like, hearing stories from his friends, looking at photos on his Facebook page.

Seeing the reaction of co-workers who are devastated by the loss. Seeing people I care about cry because they miss him.

I knew Adam was a very talented young man. What I didn’t know is that he was also an amazing life force. Someone who made you feel good when you were around him.

The world is an incredibly unfair place at times. And for whatever reason, God didn’t set up a First-in-First-out inventory system when it comes to life and death where old people always die before young people.

I won’t try and explain Adam’s death or minimize the gravity of his passing, especially to his family and friends.

All I can do is offer my deepest condolences to those who knew him best (including Brad who worked closely with him over the past year) and try and honor his passing, in some small way, by continuing to work on the companies he loved and helped us build.

He was an amazing young man and I’m honored to have worked beside him.