So, farewell Bob Heller, aged 80. Bob made journalism about business, particularly management, into a real “profession”.
He was the founder editor of Management Today. A prolific and clear writer. And a recruiter of talent.
Among the talent he recruited was Nick Newman, now plying his trade as a great cartoonist and as a satirist.
Among the talent he managed was me. When editor of Computing he was my editorial director. Good advice was given and sometimes acted upon. He tutored me when I first went on TV.
We had long lunches in Soho with his favourite drink blanc de blanc.
Cut and paste the best
Bob was often criticised for some of his books: they were just a cut-and-paste job, it was said. But if you are the leading writer on business and editing the best magazine on management, why not cut-and-paste from the best?
He wrote well about the IT industry, his best being his book The Fate of IBM in 1994.
He believed that capitalism would generate enough jobs for the workforce despite the productivity of new technologies. He commissioned himself and wrote a column along those lines in Computing to counter my arguments. I had to pay him through my contribs budget which, at his rates, drained it for that month. I wonder what he would think now.