News and Politics

R.I.P. Tony Novak

I suppose that most of us have at least Googled our own name. Those of us who are involved in brand-building around a name as part of a business identity may do more. In my case I’ve monitored every occurrence of the name in media for about two decades. I have a stake in the use of the name in media because I use the URL TonyNovak.com, the twitter name @TonyNovak and various other social media accounts with the name. By now I’ve had thousands of articles and short columns published and distributed throughout the U.S. and it helps to keep tabs on where they turn up.

There are only five other people named “Tony Novak” who have turned up with any frequency in newspapers or publicized social media in the years that I’ve monitored the name. I follow their media footprint so I feel some connection to each one. I suppose it is just human nature to interpret part of their lives in terms of my own:

1. The attorney in Illinois (also Jewish and also seemed to be guided by value-based career decisions)

2. the European scholar who wrote “Poverty and the State” (his socioeconomic and political views are eerily similar to mine)

3. The talented Hawaiian photographer with Clifford Photography (interesting that photography is also my primary hobby and I’ve had a few public amateur photo shows in the Philadelphia area)

4. The weightlifter on YouTube  (I was also a weightlifter in my wrestling years)

5. the boxer (again, the parallel to my 30 year career and national championships in amateur wrestling)

6. The tech company executive (whose career paralleled my time line building the MedSave online insurance brokerage)

Of these six, the most prominent (in terms of media exposure) by far is the attorney from Illinois, partly because he handled some high profile cases that attracted newspaper coverage. Today I learned that he died at age 63. His elegantly written obituary ran in the newspaper in The News Gazette. Although I’ve never met or communicated with Tony Novak, it seems oddly like I’ve known him. I’ve read every item about his career every time he was in a newspaper for at least the past decade. We shared several things in common. He seemed like a very admirable leader and a valuable person to his communities. So, odd as it may be, today I feel a loss.

Rest in peace Tony Novak.

One thought on “R.I.P. Tony Novak

  1. Thinking about this like-name issue a bit more now, I noticed that there are 70 “Tony Novak” listings in LinkedIn. A quick glance through the list indicates that they appear to be legitimate unique listings of individuals living mostly in the U.S. Facebook indicates that there is a larger number of Tony Novaks living outside the U.S. Yet it is interesting that only a small handful have ever turned up in a Google search of news, publications or events outside of a social medial listing.

    A large part of that, especially in recent years, appears directly related to Google changes in search result process. Years ago, for example, a Google search might have indicated a mention of Tony Novak’s wedding announcement years ago is some small town newspaper. Now that information is filtered out of the Google news alert feature.

    Clearly the other Tony Novaks of the world have not wasted nearly as much time as I have with activities that lead to mentions in online publications.

    It is possible to deep dive for some of this older information through other search methods. Which leads me to the issue of state of big data now: I am already aware that there is some misinformation in some database where some other Tony Novak’s history is attached to my online record. It came up again yesterday when I was asked to verify some information for an account log-on where I had forgotten the username. It will be interesting to see how our collective data gathering and processing handles all this stuff going forward.

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