The word went out earlier this week, by jungle drum, internet, and mojo wire, regarding the passing Mike Cook. Mike was (under various similar titles) the Vice President of TSR's creative departments under the Blume brothers, Gary Gygax, and Lorraine Williams. He was 60.
The thing I remember best of Mike was what I called at the time "Wisconsin Management Style". This meant using beer as a resource in smoothing the relationship between management and employee (this IS Wisconsin I'm talking about). There were a number of occasions when a general discussion or employee concern adjourned to the Next Door Pub for further discussion, or the designers were scheduled for an after-hours conference there. It sounds strange, but moving a concern out of the office and into a more relaxed setting did a lot to get around the normal problems of worker and management. It is a management and communication style that I've used to great effect - "Lemme get a coffee with you" or "So, who wants sushi?" - out on the West Coast.
This summer, as members of the late, great, TSR fraternity gather at conventions, memories will be revived and beers will be lifted in Mike's memory. He will be missed.
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