It is with a lot of sadness that we are writing these lines to tell you that Luis Martínez de Bartolomé, also known as “Laso”, (github @lasote), Conan co-founder, colleague, friend, and the best partner I could ever imagine, has passed away after almost 3 years being diagnosed with cancer.
We are writing this post for several reasons. One of them is that he was a visible and active member of the community. He attended tons of events, did conference talks, met users that lately became colleagues, collaborators or friends, and engaged online with many people. We thought the community deserved to know it, in the same way we need to express and mourn our loss, we also take this moment to show our luck and gratitude for having been a part of his life, and we think many people out there will share our sentiments. Also, not only for being our colleague or friend, but we think Laso was a truly exceptional human being and deserves to be remembered. Maybe these lines can bring some love to his family and friends, and bring his kids in the future some understanding of the large impact his father had on us, the community and even the world.
I have received tons of messages, expressing the pain, but also celebrating Luis’ life, and highlighting some of his best personality and human traits. I’d like to summarize three of them here to share them with you and his loved ones.
The first one, his incredible, amazing, almost unnatural technical talent. I have never seen anyone like him, going from zero to full comprehensive solutions in new technologies he had never used before, with good mastering of the tools, in just a few hours. And not only being a super fast learner or talented coder, but he had a great background experience and intuition to drive things always in the right direction, with balanced and pragmatic designs and solutions, and technical excellence overall. It is not great these days to talk about 10X engineers, but he really was exceptional, being able to do things that no one did before. The most talented SW engineer I have ever met.
But two human traits were consistently highlighted, that are the real important ones. The ones that will stay with us forever, beyond the technical professional aspects, and we will remember when we remember Laso. The first one was his smile. A real, authentic one. This didn’t mean that he was a hundred percent of the time smiling, we also called him sometimes an “old grumpy caveman”, when he would be ranting about something. But that is also what made his smile authentic, something from the heart, something contagious. I still remember his smile when showing the ecographies of his future daughter and son. You might think I remember this now, but the truth is that I have always cherished that memory, even before he was sick, because it was something truly remarkable. It was easy to be optimistic when seeing that smile, even in the bad moments, even during his illness, that smile made a difference. A true declaration of a good way to see and live a life, hopefully his memory would help the world to smile more.
The other important highlighted trait was honesty. Honest work, honest principles, honest behavior. He would fight till the end for whatever he thought it was correct. No compromises, no shortcuts, no lying, no cheating. That honesty was reflected in hard work, high transparency and the incredible amount of trust that he generated around. No matter what it was, professional or personal, you knew that he was going to deliver no matter what. As a personal anecdote as my business partner, we never had a “founders/partner agreement contract” as all “good practices” in the entrepreneurial world recommend. We talked one day over lunch, agreed to share everything in equal parts and go all-in. We shook hands and never signed anything. He was Laso, it was completely unnecessary.
One thing that makes me especially happy about these Luis’ traits, is that he managed something that very few people in the world manage to do, he used them with a purpose, for something he believed in, and he managed to produce some good impact in the world with them.
And when I am talking about impact, I really mean world-scale impact. What he did, his work, has changed how software is developed in the world at a global scale, specially in the C and C++ world, but the many thousands of organizations, teams and companies using nowadays code that he wrote permeates all of our daily lives. From startups to medium and huge corporations in the Fortune 100, in finance and banking, automotive, transportation, embedded, industrial, robotics, AI, mobile, communications, engineering, space, research, farming, social, health, and a large etcetera, products developed using Conan are being used and improving the lives of hundreds of millions of people every day.
And still, similarly, or maybe because of his human traits, probably the impact he has had on many of our lives has been still more profound. I can see it in the people that knew him, even those that engaged with him mostly in professional contexts. Not to mention in the Conan team, including also ex-colleagues, all of us wouldn’t be where we are today if it was not thanks to him. I have got this feedback explicitly from different colleagues, which had their careers skyrocketing, with a clear before and after working with Laso. He was proud of it, I can see his smile thinking about the good impact he had on so many people.
So even if these days are very sad for his family, his friends, and us, I think it is also worth to pause just for a while in this race that is our daily lives, and appreciate, remember and be thankful for having shared with Laso some of his fruitful life. We are privileged to be able to continue his legacy. We have been very lucky to live with him this adventure, for learning so much from him, for being able to build together something that is impactful, for enjoying his presence, spirit and talent even after the diagnose, and even if he was not working for more than one year, to have his friendship, his smile and his care till the last moments.
I’d like to give special thanks to the Conan “barbarians”, a really great and brave team in difficult moments like this, because many of us counted him among our friends, even before working together in Conan. This is the team that we always dreamt about, and he was very proud of you. And also to the whole JFrog family, your values, your support, your care along these years goes above and beyond the expected. Your love and appreciation for Laso was mutual.
Many thanks to his family, for sharing a bit of him with us. Knowing how much he loved you, makes us only more grateful about the time we could enjoy with him. This feels terribly unfair to you, especially his children. And even though there are no words that can help in these moments, these lines are dedicated to you.
Finally, thank you Laso, wherever you are. It has been an honor, and you will be sorely missed, but you will also always be remembered and celebrated. Rest in peace, my friend.