April 21, 2022
“Scott Zarrow had a library.”
So began Rabbi Marc Fitzerman’s eulogy of Scott Zarrow, a former client and philanthropist who became a friend, whom I think about often. Scott called me up one day after he finished an add-on to his house that was equal to or bigger than the original footprint and wanted my help in connecting the new part to the Internet in the old part.
Scott’s office in the original 1930s home was awe-inspiring to me. Originally a sitting room with a bay window, one wall was filled floor to ceiling with books covering topics as diverse and far-ranging as Scott himself. Architecture, oil and gas, energy, law, dance, art, Scottish history. You name it. For a book geek like myself, it was the Library of Alexandria. From an antique desk situated in the window, it seemed he presided over the pursuit of knowledge. Prior to the remodel, this office was often also a study space for his girls and he clearly enjoyed being able to help out, offer guidance, etc.
Scott introduced me to early HPNA networking devices, aka PowerLine. He’d heard about being able to run “sorta Ethernet” over home wiring. I was skeptical but open to the possibility. Scott was always exploring new possibilities, encouraged this in me, and I would then take the ball and run with it. It didn’t take much, because I had spent a lifetime thinking outside the box…asking What If to many questions. In the office, life, you name it.
In this scenario, we learned that because the old and new houses were served electrically by separate breaker boxes, there was no way for the data signal, embedded and encoded over house wiring, to make the jump. Nonetheless, it was the first of several networking experiments carried out at Scott’s place on 30th Place.
When WiFi of the day wasn’t sufficient to punch through a 1930s plaster-walled home, we installed an array of wireless mesh devices, which I later used EVERYWHERE, in offices and homes all over the place — even pushing WiFi “shotgun-style” as a directed beam in downtown Drumright, OK between two offices.
As Alison Zarrow said about her father: “Our dad supported us no matter how far-fetched or improbable the idea might seem.”
Scott’s been gone almost 10 years now, but I think of him and his library often. His encouragement of learning and experimentation for its own sake is something I missed in my life, and since my 2018 epiphany, I’ve sought to turn my creative volume UP from the background noise it has been for too long. Creating and editing videos, re-learning graphics design software, and reading books from sci-fi to economics to climate change to green technologies. I like to think that much like Scott, I’m helping guide my daughter toward a 21st-Century life of questioning and exploration, much like Scott did.
I don’t think he would object to the Steve Jobs 1997 “Think Different” tribute. Rest in Peace, Scott, and may your memory continue to be a blessing. And may you continue to inspire.
Here’s to the crazy ones.
The round pegs in the square holes.
The ones who see things differently.
They’re not fond of rules.
And they have no respect for the status quo.
You can quote them, disagree with them,
glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them.
Because they change things.
They push the human race forward.
While some may see them as the crazy ones,
we see genius.
Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world, are the ones who do.