Jad Omar Duwaik
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Jad Omar Duwaik Founder of Greenhouse for Startups of San Francisco, Jad Duwaik died on January 14, 2006 in Shenyang, China. Born in 1970 in Oregon, he grew up in Colorado. Jad was an avid learner from an early age and had a passion for books, music, and learning. Jad was truly a unique individual whose life touched and inspired friends and family. Jad combined sharp intellect, a quick wit and wry sense of humor found in his column 'Lies Damned Lies' and his writings from China. Jad graduated from UCLA in 1995. Always the adventurer Jad moved to SF then to New York and in 2003 Jad moved to China. He fell in love with the culture, the people and the beauty of China. Jad is survived by his mother, Elizabeth Hartley of Camas, WA; father, Omar Duwaik of Aurora, CO; sister, Anissa of Idaho; sister, Kym Harris of WA; sisters Reema, Summer and Leena; brothers, Bassil, Ramsey and Gabriel of CO.

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Published in San Francisco Chronicle on Feb. 19, 2006.
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25 entries
August 14, 2018
Jad is missed everyday! I love that I can come here and witness how much he meant to so many people around the world. He was an amazing brother and my best friend. Thank you to everyone who has taken the time to write about your experience.
Anissa Duwaik
September 15, 2017
I met TJ (as he was known then) on September 10, 2001. It was my first day at a new job, where he was currently working soon after he had ended his stint in San Francisco. He showed me his piece published in the San Francisco Chronicle called "Diary of a Failure", outlining his story of his successes, troubles, and lessons learned in his entrepreneurial adventures in the pre and post dot-com boom and bust.

On September 11, 2001, the world changed. I lived in lower Manhattan, which was then covered in tanks, heavily armed military men, checkpoints requiring ID every block, and the smell of burning metal from the smoldering towers that lasted for at least 6 more months.

TJ offered his home in Brooklyn as a respite from the chaos. He was a great listener, but he also was able to help me put in context the emotions that everyone was going through, himself included, and how to adapt, adjust, and process all of them.

Back then I was a senior in college still trying to figure out my path in life. And TJ always was there to offer insights into any adventure or path I was thinking of pursuing.

After I left NYC, I chatted with him online all the time, with his handle, Shaxper. Over the last 16 years, I've worked for non-profits, for-profits, large multinational organizations, small agencies, doing everything from campaigns to fundraising to communications to user experience design and so much in between.

I can't help but think that TJ has sewn these seeds in my life to always challenge myself and explore the possibilities that life has to offer, even if they are scary and you have no idea if they will pan out.

I think about TJ often. I have a picture of him on my desk shelf, as a way to remind myself of potential and possibilities.

Strangely enough, 16 years after meeting TJ, I find myself starting my own company. I'm in the entrepreneurial space he talked so much about back in 2001. I wish he was here to mentor me now. I wish Greenhouse for Startups still existed. He always seemed to be able to tell what the future holds before any of the rest of us saw it coming, and I wish I had him there to guide me through that.

Also, strangely enough I've moved to Colorado and have visited the Denver Botanical Gardens that he loved so much (as I found out through his family through his obituary). Any time I visit it, I sit down on a bench and think of TJ meditating there about the world, his friends, his family, and his place in all of it.

I miss my friend.
Nina Baliga
January 23, 2016
Tonight, Jad is on my mind, and I am grateful for his example. I finally acted on something he inspired at UCLA.

Jad was remarkably well spoken, calm, thoughtful, and entertaining. He seemed to be able to talk to anyone, and to effortlessly steer the conversation into interesting places. It was never a dull or shallow conversation if he was part of it, but it always felt genuine--never pretentious, even if it was "deep." I commented on this one night, just complimenting him on his natural charisma.

He shook his head and said it was not natural, but learned, and that anyone could learn it. I disputed this, saying that no one can teach the kind of charm he had. I asked him how he'd learned this art. He said, "Toastmasters."

I had thought that was something like Rotary. For old men who wanted to sit around and tell stories and wear funny hats or something. He talked about it a bit, and I thought I ought to give it a shot. First, I'll say that with 20+ years of hindsight, I think we were both right. Certainly, you can study technique, and practice the skills, but not everyone will so easily inspire people to open up and engage in conversations like we all had.

In any case, I wanted to share some of the light that his life is still shining with anyone who comes across this entry. To his family, who I hope will find some joy in the fact that seeds that he planted, and things he nourished are still growing today.

Today, I joined Toastmasters. To work on skills that I need to sharpen to be a better spouse, manager, teacher, father, coach, friend and human being. And at least a little bit to honor a friend gone too soon.

I wish Jad was here to call and tell. I'll bet he'd laugh that it took this long, and then say, "Good for you."
Thomas Olson
July 12, 2015
Jad was a very good friend of mine, once upon a long-lost time. I met him at UCLA when I joined the Shakespeare club. Funny to realize that was almost twenty years ago now. He was bright, sweet, intelligent, funny... and it's not a stretch to say that he changed my life in certain ways. He introduced me to my current career. But, more than that, he was someone I could always talk to. He always had interesting observations to offer, he paid close attention, and he somehow, consistently managed to say just the right thing at the right moment.

Jad was generous with his friends. He genuinely seemed to care about people. I know he loved his brothers and sisters. He was always talking about them. When I think about him, what I remember most is his intellectual curiosity. He was constantly exploring ideas. And also, often, exploring the world.

He didn't play it safe. He could have. He could have stayed in Colorado and had a stable life and job. But instead, he took chances. Some of them didn't pan out. But I think he was brave to take the risks he did. I'm glad he got one last, good adventure in that final year.

I still think about him from time to time. I will always remember him with fond affection. Something happened recently that brought Jad to mind, and I realized that I never did make a comment in this guest book. I hope it's not too late.

He died so young- and he could have done so much more with his life. But for what it's worth, he got a lot in in a short amount of time. And through it all, I think he tried to be a good person. There's a song by Bob Dylan that always make me think of Jad. Just that yes, he was a friend of mine.
March 13, 2015
I'm not sure who posted this last entry. Your timing is perfect because I miss my son so much. I would like to hear more about you and Jad.
Elizabeth Hartley Kitchen
March 12, 2015
I knew Jad back when we both lived in San Francisco. He truly was a great guy. Very sorry to hear about his passing.
December 22, 2013
I met Jad during our time at UCLA in the early 90s. I remember him as bright, kind, generous, funny, vivacious young man and I think all of us are lessened by his passing.

Rest in peace, Jad.
Gregory Deych
March 19, 2006
Now comes the time that the guest book will be closing. As I read through the entries my heart, though still breaking, is warmed by the words that have been written about him by family and friends. Jad truly was a gift from God, not only for me and his dad, but to his sisters and brothers and all his extended family and friends. We have been the recipients of Jad's love, his encouragement and his genuine care for each of us. He has taken a part of each of our hearts but his spirit lives on. To honor him is to live life to the fullest, love each other and to remember all that he gave us. And to know we will see him again. I love you Jad.
Elizabeth Hartley
March 17, 2006
"Because I have loved life, I shall have no sorrow." Jad lived life to the fullest. He had so many wonderful journeys and accomplishments, but what amazes me the most about him was his ability to reach out and touch the lives of so many people. He will be dearly missed.
Kym Harris
March 17, 2006
Although I only met my Uncle Jad a few times, I know that he loved to write. I also love writing. So through this, we will always be connected. I hope peace will come to all family and friends who mourn.
Josie Harris
March 13, 2006
I know Elizabeth, Jad's mother. She loved him greatly and was a very devoted mother. I never had the privilege of meeting him, but know he was a very loving, young man.
Sandy Byerly
March 9, 2006
Jad was a charmer. He was so eager to know his heritage on his mom's side of the family. He never got tired of family stories and never ran out of questions to ask. Jad loved his family and reached out to all of us. My only regret is that I did not have more time to get to know him better. We will all treasure his memory and his love.
Vickie Barry
March 6, 2006
Jad was a glowing individual who touched many lives and saddens us all by leaving too soon
Gil & Diane Lewis
March 1, 2006
Brett Hartley
Rachel Hartley
Kaylynn Hartley
Kitaria Hartley
Kobe Hartley
Krystina Hartley
Brett Hartley
March 1, 2006
I met Jad at UCLA and then caught up with him again when I moved to San Francisco. He was very good to me when I first moved back here - introducing me to his friends, to the world of Tango and just generally being a good friend. I am sorry to learn that he is no longer with us - but am very grateful that I was able to spend time with him while he was here. His memory lives on.
Jennifer Dean
February 28, 2006
Jad was always full of the unexpected. He was bright in every sense, and full of life. His humor and wit were tempered and made as gracious as they were hillarious by his honesty, compassion, and humility. It is cruel that he is gone so suddenly, but it seems that he lived as fully as we can hope to. And he left much laughter and good will behind. My sincere condolences to his family. He will always be missed--and may his memory make us smile, laugh, and reach for our dreams more often than it makes us grieve.
Thomas Olson
February 28, 2006
I was well acquainted with the legend of Jad's wit long before I actually met him in the UCLA Shakespeare Group. The night he "returned" to the group we were reading Troilus and Cressida and I shared my copy of the play with him... I've never laughed so hard in my life. I will not forget his wit, charm or sparking eyes. My prayers are with his family.
Wendy Hunter
February 21, 2006
Those we have loved and lost will never be far from us when they live forever in our hearts.
Shannon Hartley
February 21, 2006
To few people in life choose to embrace chasing their dreams, no matter the costs. Jad lived for the chase. His example will be missed.
Donald Hartley
February 21, 2006
I am and will remain thankful for the times I spent with Jad and the laughter we shared. His presence will be missed and his memory always treasured.
Annabella Hayes
February 20, 2006
Jad will be missed. His mother Liz is one of my mother's best friends and I met Jad and Annisa at one of our extended family celebrations. Jad attended a conference in San Jose and stayed with me. I was so impressed. To his family.. Rejoice in the knowledge that he had such a positive influence on everyone me met.
Sandy Hart
February 20, 2006
Jad truly taught me the meaning of what it is to have compassion towards others. Especially those who need it the most. I am so grateful for knowing him.
T.J. Harrison
February 19, 2006
I think I speak for my whole family when I say that Jad did not die alone. For when he passed over, a little piece of all of us passed with him. We will always miss him incredibly.
Anissa Duwaik
February 19, 2006
Jad was a wonderfully creative person, talented writer & entrepreneur, and most of all a good friend. We spent several years in San Francisco pondering how to create startups, and several more connected online while he was in NY and China discussing Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness. I hope he found it... he will be missed and remembered fondly.

Jad Duwaik: Requiem for an Entrepreneur

- dave mcclure
sunday, 02/19/06
Dave McClure
February 19, 2006
We will never forget his laughter and joy in dancing
Sheila Downs
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