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Confessions of an Old Fogey
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WMDG loses one of its own.

WMDG loses one of its own.

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So often, you don't hear about the developers who work behind the curtains here at Microsoft.  Today I'd like to talk a bit about one of them.

One of the key developers on Windows Multimedia at Microsoft is Syon Bhattacharya.  Syon was responsible for many of the internal pieces of the multimedia work on windows, much of the core code was written by him.  If you've ever watched an AVI file, or seen a windows media player visualization, you've been running his code.

He started at Microsoft in June of 1995, straight out of college, and worked in the multimedia group his entire career at Microsoft.  Coincidentally, he also came from Carnegie-Mellon University (I know a bunch of the other developers from CMU that came at the same time as Syon, but didn't know him until I joined this group).

Syon was an extraordinary developer, he had an encyclopedic knowledge of the internals of the multimedia code.  When we were doing the code reviews for XP SP2, when I'd see something that I thought was a vulnerability, I'd wander over to Syon's office to ask him.  Syon not only knew the code I was looking at, but he was able to reconstruct (from his head) all of the code paths in which the potentially vulnerable routine was called.  He's the person that the multimedia team went to when they had tough problems - there didn't seem to be a problem that he couldn't solve.

In addition to being a complete technical wizard, Syon was one of the nicest persons I've ever worked with, his unflagging good humor throughout development cycles was legend around this group.

Two years ago, Syon was diagnosed with stomach cancer.

He continued to work, although it was clear that the treatments were taking their toll on him - I often saw him walking down the hall looking horrible, I'm sure that the treatments were hideously uncomfortable, but he pressed on.

Over the summer, Syon took a leave of absence to concentrate his energies on fighting the cancer that was eating away at him.

Unfortunately, yesterday he lost that battle, he passed away at a hospice in Seattle.  His family and friends were with him at the end, and it was apparently very peaceful.  He was 30 years old.

We will all miss him, the world is a smaller place without him.

Edit: I'll be adding recollections to this post as they come in...

I've asked my group (and others) to collect their memories of Syon, here's what they wrote (in no particular order):

Ji Ma:

I know Syon since I was transferred to DirectShow group almost 6 years ago.  He was hard working soul and low profile person and easy to talk to.  He has amazing ability to solve very tough computer problem and was always willing go extra miles to help others and he knows so much and so deep about computer and programming that he can solve almost anything that no other people can.  I found him to be indispensable dependent technical resources and ideas.  When ever I have difficulty or lack of idea, I will look up to him for help and he always let me a hand.

He was easy going and willing to listen and we had very good work relation since many of his developed work was tested by me so we interact a lot and we were truly perfect match to each other and great team.  Many times, I just went to his office and we chat about many things in life and he was always willing to listen and provide valuable comments and genuinely enjoy and appreciate the conversation.  It is very rare in the working environment.  I will always remember him for that.  

I have several fruit trees and some vegetables grown in our garden.  When it was harvesting time, I brought some to our group and passed to many colleges, including him.  He always admires and grateful to what he get, an apple or a tomato or what ever.  I can tell he true enjoy and appreciate the friendship that we had. 

He talks very little about his personal life so it is mystery to me and I only know he lives around green lake area. 

Syon, may you rest in peace and we will always remember you.

Tracy Shew:

When I first came to Microsoft as a contractor five years ago, it was sometimes difficult and daunting to work with developers.  These were, after all, the people who had written the code for Windows.  Many of them sometimes acted as if they were aware of this fact, and of the distinction between their station and mine – a mere software tester.  The tester – developer relationship can be antagonistic at times, particularly if I had the gall to find a bug or regression in “their” code.  Sometimes, some developers had little time for my questions, and acted as if my concerns were unimportant.  This was discouraging for me, and made me question why I was working at Microsoft at times.

Syon, more than anyone else, gave me encouragement to continue.  He was a developer, and he was brilliant, but he never – and I mean never – acted as if my concerns were unimportant.  His door was always open, and he always seemed to have the answer ready – or if not, he knew the person to go to.  And he never made me feel ignorant or inferior to him for having to answer a question.  I quickly learned that Syon was a valuable resource, a wealth of information.  But it was much more than that.  Syon taught me, through his example, that I was not a “mere tester” – that I was making an equally valuable contribution to the product.  This encouraged me to continue at Microsoft, eventually becoming a full-time employee in test.

I had the pleasure to work closely with Syon for almost four years, being the main tester responsible for checking his code.  Syon’s skill was unquestionable; problems were very rare, and, if one was encountered, Syon was extraordinary at quickly locating the difficulty – even if it was outside his area.  I do not know the number of times he has trudged over to the lab to look at one of our machines.  “Why is it doing that?” we would ask, looking at a bazaar error message or a garbled, incomprehensible stack trace.  I sometimes felt that we took advantage of his openness and generosity – not many developers will “dirty their feet” by coming into the lab to look at a sick computer, unless you can first prove it is their code at fault – they would rather have a remote, at the very least, or have you port the bug off to the “owner” – something which is sometimes difficult to determine.  I tried to use Syon as an “avenue of last resort,” lest we overuse the resource – if we absolutely couldn’t determine the issue, and know one else knew what was happening, only then would we bring in Syon.  And, in four years of steady work, day to day, I can count on one hand the number of times we managed to stump him.  And never, not on a single occasion, did Syon refuse help because he was too busy, or because it was not his area, or for any reason at all for that matter.

Since Syon’s illness took him away from work, there hasn’t been a week go by that this resource hasn’t been missed.  Very frequently, an issue will come up, and someone will say, “If Syon were here, we could figure this out.”  His combination of knowledge, intuition towards problems, and plain generosity in sharing what he knew is unequalled.  People often use the word “irreplaceable” when they lose a colleague, but for us there is no degree of exaggeration in applying it.

For me, though, Syon was more than a resource.  He demonstrated to me the value that I was contributing to Microsoft, and a vision of the partnership that should exist between development and test, and between teams, where “ownership” should not be used either as a dividing line to avoid issues, nor as a way of assigning responsibility or blame.  Syon simply loved making the best code he could, and he loved solving problems, so he saw all of our contributions, whether development or test, assisting in this process.  He encouraged everyone around him to do their best, and to be excellent.  I wished I could have known him better – losing him is a tremendous blow, certainly professionally, but also personally.  Even though we had a professional rather than social relationship – you would have to call us colleagues rather than friends – I am grateful to him for many different things, and especially for the encouragement he gave.

Eric Rudolph:

Syon always was a team player, and he ended up being the backbone of the DirectShow product at Microsoft. After many other people had been reorganized, or had moved on, Syon stuck with DirectShow and not only supported it, but he also supported it's customers and all the accompanying hassles. Not only did he do this really well, but he did it with a gracefulness and humbleness that made it seem easy. Syon knew everything about everything, he was the go-to guy when it came to something that nobody else knew. I don't know a single person at Microsoft (myself included) who wouldn't use that kind of responsibility as a bargaining chip to further their career, but not Syon. When I asked him, "why don't you try and promote yourself more?" He would say, "oohhhh, I guess I'm just lazy." But Syon was anything _but_ lazy. Maybe unmotivated for self gain, but that was one of the things that was cool about him. On a personal note, Syon wasn't easy to get too close to, but I'm proud to count myself among his friends, and he was always up for doing anything. He was my personal movie critic, if I wanted to know if a movie was good, Syon was the first person I would ask. He was an amazing guy, and the effects of who he was and what he did to help people, will ripple outwards forever. I respect him immensely, he taught me many things while I had the chance to work with him.

Martin Puryear (Dev Manager for WMDG): 

Syon was one of those rare selfless people that willingly took on any task without a complaint, regardless of the task.  Sometimes the most important tasks are the most tedious as well - ensuring that myriad far-flung fixes were ported back and forth between different OSes; painstakingly crawling through very old Windows source code looking for security vulnerabilities.  I'm fairly certain that I never heard him ever utter a complaint - if he did, then I'm sure it was accompanied with a smile that seemed to say "well, these things happen." 

 Syon was a sterling example of the phrase "still waters run deep."  Over the years he built up considerable expertise in the multimedia arena, but you might not know it from watching his actions.  He always made time to help others, answering even the most basic questions.  Upon asking, one quickly discovered that he understood the overall system and how your question related - and he usually knew the technical details that you needed as well.  After RobinSp himself (overall architect for quartz/ActiveMovie/DirectShow), SyonB was the one to which we repeatedly went with hard problems facing that architecture. 

 Syon didn't have the "rough edges" sometimes found in SW engineers (including the stereotypical MS developer).  If you were wrong, he would couch his words with a soft-spoken "I believe the way it works is…."  He didn't have an egotistical bone in his body - in fact it was understood among managers that we needed to make sure that he got the recognition he deserved. 

 Syon was a class act - in this day and age, the industry needs more like him.  Truly, the world needs more like him.  He will be sorely missed as a coworker and a friend. 

Steve Rowe:

When I think of Syon I three adjectives come to mind:  quiet, helpful, and intelligent.  Syon was always soft spoken.  I never saw him get angry or snap at anyone.  He was always calm and collected.  Unlike some people who are good at what they do, he didn’t need to prove it.  He didn’t need the limelight.  Syon was always willing to help.  I never asked him a question he didn’t know the answer to and no matter how busy I’m sure he was, he always took the time to answer my questions.  All you had to do was ask and whatever small feature or tool or tweak you needed would be added.  I recall one time I stopped by to ask him to mock up a fix for a particular issue.  We didn’t need the full implementation, just a simple version to prove it would work.  The next day I had the complete version on my desk.  Syon was extremely intelligent.  He knew the system forwards and backwards.  He rarely had to consult the code, he just knew the answer.  We’ll miss his expertise around here but more importantly, we’ll miss him as a person.  It is rare someone so kind, so willing to help, and so smart comes along.

Tuan Le:

Hi Larry, please post another one from me.

 

At work, Syon is simply brilliant. Syon will take on any task, big or small, challenging or tedious, with the same level of enthusiastic (in his own quiet, pleasant demeanor), and always come through with amazing execution. It is obvious that Syon takes pride in what he works on and set a very high bar for himself. As a person, Syon is a confidence, generous, patient, gentle, and thoughtful person. Syon is simple wonderful to have as a co-worker, and a friend.

 

Syon is someone I instinctively trust and often share thought on things with. My kids love him! Syon always has things or toys to entertain them when ever they stop by his office. It’s hard for us to accept the fact that Syon has moved on, we often talk about Syon as if he is still with us. Of the many things that Syon enjoys, food and speed are high on his list. We talked often about different cuisine / food blog / car racing / driving school / traveling / etc, and we would go out a try a new restaurant whenever we get a chance. Syon enjoys trying and doing new things, he is always eager to join and share with us. We are very fortunate to have Syon in our lives, and he will miss all the good time we have with him.

Savvy Dani:

My first encounter with Syon’s hard-core technical skills was soon after I joined the group. There were some 20 odd high-priority non-trivial bugs that needed immediate attention on a Friday afternoon. I didn’t know the team well enough, but there were many strong voices saying ‘Give it Syon’ and I decided to play along. I understood why when I came back on Monday and all issues were resolved. When I tried to praise him, he just shrugged it off with a gentle, self-deprecating smile. I became a Syon fan after that. Time only added good things to my list - extremely smart, dedicated, gentle, compassionate, unruffled, good sense of humor and on and on. I don’t think anybody ever found anything negative in their interactions with him unless he was too good to be real.

But Syon was real enough when I got to know him better, What stands out for me during the two years I have worked with Syon are my 1:1s with him. I usually started my Fridays with his meeting. Since he was very quiet, we could not go beyond 15-20 minutes initially and that with me doing most of the talking. Since technical issues were a no-brainer for him, our meetings dwindled into silence soon. I told him frankly that we have got to do better, so we came up with this idea to talk about personal things and get to know each other in non-work related ways as well. Syon accepted this gamely and we went on for a year or more. There was a lot of laughing and a good number of discussions during this time. We talked about his love for car racing and taking his Audi for a spin on the safe track (?). We would catch up on the latest movies, good restaurants, his unsuccessful experiments with Indian recipes, my fluctuating aspirations to be a literary fiction writer etc. I suddenly realized this summer that our meetings had gotten longer and that he was doing most of the talking. We would go past the slotted hour and then walk down to lunch. When we exchanged hugs as he went on leave, I knew I was going to miss my friend.

Syon is not a typical Indian name and I asked him about it once. I believe there are two stories behind his name. a) He was named after Sayanacharya, a great Indian philosopher who lived in the 14th century A.D whose commentaries apparently defined the speed of light to be pretty close to the numbers we have today. b) He was born in London close to Syon park and his parents shortened his name to Sayana and then morphed it to Syon. ‘Acharya’ literally means Master, so Syon definitely lived up to his name.

Bertrand Lee:

Syon was from my ECE '95 cohort at CMU, and I remember seeing his name in the CMU newsgroups when he participated in various technical discussions.

 

However, I only got to know him a bit better when I worked with him in WMDG, and he struck me as one of the most knowledgeable engineers I have ever had the privilege to work with. As many would attest to, he was _the_ DirectShow guru, and any time I had some intractable DirectShow bug that I was making no headway into, I would consult Syon and he would very willingly come over and help me to debug the cause of the problem, which due to his deep expertise took hardly any time at all, even for the most complex problems.

 

More importantly however, he was one of the most gentle-natured and helpful people I've ever known, and I will always remember and miss him as a great person, coworker and friend.

 Steve Ball:

Hey Larry -
Although I barely knew Syon, and only had a very small set of direct interactions with him around DShow, I do have a few small observations from my experience in working with and near him over this past three years. 
 
Syon was a like Zen master.
 
While I run around like a headless chicken most of the time, being with Syon in a meeting or even simply passing him in the hall was always like being in the presence of a great Master.  His pace, his interactions, his movements were always intentional, methodical, calming, even charming.   He set an example just in his being who and how he was: collected, positive, responsive, and ready to embrace and solve even the toughest problems. 
 
Just being near him was a calming.  His presence, sincere smile, and the peaceful look in his eyes often felt to me like a gift and provided a simple and wonderful reminder to slow down, collect myself, and be thankful for the amazing resources and opportunities we have at our fingertips everyday.
 
His very presence was a gift, and his absence touches me deeply.
 
With best wishes to his closest friends and family,
-Steve
 
A Co-Worker:

I think you're experiencing what a lot of other people have: Syon was such a quiet, unassuming guy who didn't really like to talk about himself much that it wasn't easy to get to know him; he would probably have been embarassed by all this attention.  But everyone who came into contact with him remembers him as the kind, helpful, thoughtful person that he was.  As news of his passing has spread, we've been amazed at the number of people who've come forward with stories about Syon.  Some didn't even know he had been so sick - it just wasn't in his nature to talk about himself.  He died the way he lived: peacefully, with his quiet, inner strength shining through.

Alex Wetmore (friend from college):

Syon was always really quiet.  On our last visit together we were trying to remember how we met, but I'm not really sure.  From my freshman to junior years at CMU he spent a lot of time hanging out at my dorm room (my 4th year, his last year, I moved off campus and it wasn't as easy to do so). 
 
Recollections are hard.  He was so quiet, but with a great sense of humor.  He never wanted to be a burden on anyone.  In his freshman year he had a collapsed lung and didn't even tell anyway -- I saw him everyday and never learned about it until I didn't see him for two days and his roommate found out where he was.  He loved food which I think made the stomach cancer even harder.  He and my wife Christine used to go hunting around Seattle for the best fried chicken, hamburgers, or other comfort/junk food.  He also loved really good food and knew all of the best resturants in town (but was quiet about it...not the normal belltown foodie type).  I think he was social at heart and liked to be around people, but had a hard time opening up.
 
He was at CMU from 91 to 95, EE/CE

Alok Chakrabarti:

The most I remember about Syon:
1.  Whenever I had a stress issue to debug involving a whole bunch threads and random locks taken by components such as DDraw.  I would pull my hair out for a while, narrow it down a bit, and then get totally stuck.  The next step was to walk over to Syon office, ask him to connect the remote (mostly wdeb in those days of Win9x) and go through all those threads and finally figuring out what the problem was, and what to do about it -- mostly assign the bug to someone appropriate.  It became a common thing almost everyday, and I am sure he had enough work to do, but he never stopped taking the time to help out.
 
2.  His calmness and that smile: I have never seen Syon getting upset with anything.  He was so calm always.  And that slice of smile he had on his face -- I still remember so vividly.
 
3.  His typing speed: That was unbelievable!!! I still can't really type after working with PCs for about 19 years.  But his typing was just out of the world.  And he would thinking even faster that his typing.
 
I always will remember him as a person I wished I could be somewhat like, but knew I didn't even have a chance.  He was much younger than me, but still my hero, not to say just today -- I always thought that way.  Such a brilliant but unassuming person, so helpful and nice.  Syon has been so unique.
Wendy Liu:

When I first joined MS, Syon was recommended highly on the list as the goto guy for any technical question. He is one of the gurus on DSHOW.

 Syon was not the person who liked to talk too much at work. He always had a cool style and you never saw him rush in the hallway. When you chatted with him, he always spoke warmly, slowly and carried a smile; when you asked him for help, you never expected him to say no. From time to time, he brought fresh bagels and cream to put outside his office to share with us.

For the last four more years, I have got many helps from Syon. I still clearly remember that I once asked him to take a look at bug which I had been working for the whole day. As usual, he didn’t talk much, and sitting in front of the machine and his fingers moving quickly on the key board, his mind was completely on the bug. He tried various ways to poke it, and more than half an hour passed, we still didn’t get any clue. I began to apologize for the time and asked him to stop there. Still in deep thinking, he kept working. Then he said “Let’s try this.” Bingo! We found the problem.

Syon was one of the few people I have known who never showed any impatience or frustration. Even when he was telling me that his family doctor had mistaken his symptoms for years, he just sounded unhappy about it and there was no anger in his tone like what I felt at that moment. That was the only time I heard he complained, and it was in such a cool way.

It is a great loss for all of us to miss such a good colleague. We will always member him.

Wenhong Liu

Brent Mills:

While Syon and I were not close buddies, I always felt comfort in speaking with him, and he always made me curious enough to ask what he’s been up to and how he was doing (before he was sick).  I have not met a more genuinely nice man…Ever! 

After he left MS, I exchanged a few mails with him and he seemed positive as usual, but I couldn’t help thinking that bad news may be on the horizon….I don’t shed tears easily or often, but I remembered thinking to myself that any person and especially not one as good as he, should be going through something like this; the tears flowed.

I have and will continue to miss Syon and I hope he is in a better place.     

 Ted Youmans:

Six years (I think) and I have no anecdotes or stories. What is so surprising about this is that I liked Syon quite a bit. He was one of the nicest and most intelligent people I have had the pleasure of working with here as MS. When I actually came up against something in DShow that I couldn’t find an answer to, he was usually the only one that could answer it. I truly wish I had something to offer for your LJ or for the memory book, but I am coming up with a complete blank. Maybe it’s because I don’t take enough notice of day to day happenings or maybe it’s because the extraordinary was an every day occurrence for Syon and none of it sticks out any more than any other day. What I can say is that he will be sorely missed and this place hasn’t really been the same since he left.

Penelope Broomer:

Other than building checkins for Syon during Win2K, he was the point person for the multimedia team, I never got to work with him directly, I therefore consider myself to have been one of Syon’s friends rather than a colleague.  Syon came to our home two or three times, we love our curries and he was very polite about the home made curry we inflicted upon him during his last visit!

 

Like many, I have fond memories of Syon, one that springs to mind is the time that he rescued Stephen (stestrop) from the car park at Barnes & Noble in Bellevue.  I was working in the build lab at the time and it was my turn to be on the ‘late shift’, Stephen, facing another night in on his own, went off to Barnes & Nobel to pass some time.  He must have had a lot on his mind as it wasn’t until he was in the store browsing through the computer books that he realized that he didn’t have his car keys.  Concerned, as he thought he’d locked them in the car, he returned to the vehicle only to discover that he’d not only left them in the car but that the car was still running!  He called me in the build lab in a state of panic asking me to go and rescue him – this was as we were coming up to shipping Win2K - it was late in the evening, I was on my own and I couldn’t leave the build lab.  Several calls later Stephen asked me to try calling Syon in his office, Syon was still at work and without hesitation agreed to go to Stephen’s rescue, that’s just the kind of person he was.

Soccer Liu:

I remember him as an soft-spoken and sharp thinking gentleman. I worked with him on only on several instances. I had a couple of conversations with him. I really miss him.

Robin Speed (and Eric Rudolph):

I guess this old email from Eric sums up Syon rather nicely work-wise..

 He was also a really nice guy – sounds bland but in this case it is true.  He never pushed himself forward – almost to a frustrating level - but always had time for everyone.  People all over knew and respected him.  Someone the word humble truly applied to.  What an unfair world.

 Robin

 _____________________________________________
From: Eric Rudolph
Sent: Tuesday, May 04, 1999 8:53 PM
To: Robin Speed
Subject: Syon B, Master Brain

 Whatever we're paying Syon, it's not enough. He always knows exactly how to fix any weird compiler, linker, or base class problems I'm having. The man's a genious.

 

  • Syon was a car nut of note. When I'd go to his house to visit him while he was on sick leave, I'd invariably find him watching Fifth Gear or some other car-related show. One of the fun things we got to do before he got too sick to move around much was visit with a local car enthusiast who very kindly gave us a tour of his collection, and then took Syon for a ride in one of his spectacular cars. The image of Syon smiling that shy half-smile of his through the window of that car is the one I'll always remember.

    http://home.comcast.net/~syon.bhattacharya/enzo_0.jpg
  • sad ..
  • "A friend of Syon's" - thank you. I couldn't figure out how to work in the car nut into the story, since I didn't know the details, I know he used to go to SIR to race his Audi from time to time, but...
  • Syon was always ready to tackle a problem and did so with the quiet cheerfulness that was his nature. And he never disappointed. Syon will be sorely missed.
  • this is beautiful. It's how I'd want to be remembered.
  • Wipes tears. Thanks. Now I miss someone that I never got to meet, would certainly admire, and most of all would want to have learned from in providing grace and gentleness in my life and for those whose lives I touch.

    I read once that "The key to immortality is living a life worth remembering." Thank you for being the remembrance for Syon's immortality. His greatness lives on in you.
  • If you'd like to do something in Syon's memory, donations to Gilda's Club (http://gildasclubseattle.org/Info/WaysToHelp.htm) or the Evergreen Hospice (http://www.evergreenhealthcare.org/showpage.asp?sec=131, including "Make A Gift" and mention "For Hospice" if so desired) would be appreciated.
  • Moving from 'Syon is' to 'Syon was' is a cheap trick.
  • When I came to Microsoft I was taken aback by the combativeness that characterized a lot of meetings, even purely technical ones. It was clear that the loudest voices would be heard in many cases, and I hoped as a Program Manager there was good correlation between "smart" and "loud". Syon showed us another path. I remember several meetings with opinions loudly flying about a technical issue. Then, at the inevitable lull, Syon quietly offered the correct answer. There were bewildered looks of embarassment ... a silence. The Syon selflessly offered to "code it up". An he would, with fingers flying faster than I could type gibberish. One of the regrets I'll always have is never taking the time, as Savi did, to get to know more about the personal side of this good man.
  • Earlier today I went to Syon's memorial. Is was touching, sad, funny, and I was glad to hear that many people helped Syon through the last steps of his journey.

    This is the blog entry I made on my internal (to Microsoft) blog. It was dated Thursday, December 16.

    Last night at 6:00 my day at Microsoft ended as the worst day I've had here. Martin Puryear came into my new office on the third floor where I was fiddling with a game (testing audio in Longhorn) and told me Savvy Dani had just sent email to everyone on the team. I knew immediately that Syon Bhattacharya had passed away. I knew this day was probably coming and I dreaded that the year would end sadly. And now it has.

    Words cannot even begin to describe the tremendous respect I have for Syon. There are plenty of smart people at Microsoft, and really smart people are not that rare. But no one I have met here at Microsoft has the combination of super smarts and humility that Syon has. At no time, despite all of the pressures, did Syon ever refuse to help me. I doubt that my experience was unique. The term "invaluable resource" must have been invented to describe Syon.

    This is the second time that I have experienced the death of a co-worker due to cancer. Each time it is a wrenching experience that snaps you into the reality of the important things in life as if a bracingly cold wind hits you as you walk outside. I'm very sad that I didn't feel like I knew Syon well enough to visit him after he went on his final leave. Those of you who knew him better than I, had your lives enriched because of it, I am sure. For most of this year, I was able to stand on the shoulders of a giant. I can't believe that I won't be able to drop into his office to say hello any more. Goodbye, Syon. Rest easy.
  • Syon typifies all that is/can be good about Microsoft. We need more people to emulate his grace because he's definitely going to be be missed. We miss you. Rest in peace.
  • I never heard of this name till I saw it on the newsletter. "This is how I want to be remembered" like somebody said in the posts more than sums it for me to what a great soul Syon was.

    It is really humbling to read about the great person that he was inspite of being of the best in business. A rare jewel!

    May god fulfil all the things Syon would have liked to see happen in his life time. May his soul rest in peace
  • I was saddened to hear the news today about Syon. I worked with him years ago when he first started at Microsoft. He’s one of the smartest and hard working individuals I’ve ever known. He was very serious about his job and always had a smile on his face. He will be missed.
  • I met Syon for the first time at a mutual friend's party. He struck me as the quiet, strong type. Although we didn't talk much he definitely seemed like a man of substance. I saw him at our friend's party once or twice after then.

    I didnt see Syon for a long time until we both ended up in building 50. We'd bump into each other every now and then and talk about things but mostly about our mutual friend, who was going having some health problems.

    One such time I mentioned to Syon that he seemed to have lost a lot of weight. He mentioned he had been ill and when asked with what, he mentioned plainly and with no emotion whatsoever, as if he were describing somebody we both barely knew, that he had stomach cancer!

    As I was reeling under that, it occurred to me what a rare, refined, dignified human being Syon was. In all his discussion about our friend's health he never once brought up the fact that he was going through something much worse. How could someone so young have such a calm demeanor about this? He was too young to have to go through this. I felt deeply saddened.

    Syon and I then lived close enough in Seattle that we'd see each other at Whole Foods and Scarecrow and other places. Upon seeing him, I'd remember his condition and start feeling down, but then we'd chat a bit and somehow it was always uplifting and the sadness would go away. He was that great!

    Rest in peace Syon. I now discover that you were a superstar at work. Not suprising at all.
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