Prologue: The Power of Can't Not Do

I remember everything and nothing about August 9, 2013. I was sitting in a Seattle coffee shop when an e-mail flashed into my inbox. It was from a Wall Street Journal reporter I'd never heard of, asking if I knew anything about “the person whose plane had just crashed in East Haven, Connecticut.” I had no idea what the reporter was talking about and assumed he had the wrong guy. I reread it just to be sure and hit delete.

Moments later, my phone rang. Through a flood of tears, my friend Susan asked me not talk to any media or answer their calls. Then she told me why. After she hung up, the next flood of tears was down my face. I prayed, desperate for some miracle, any miracle, but I knew the truth. I actually knew a lot about the person whose plane had crashed. Susan had just lost her remarkable husband and her beautiful son. Another family, on the ground, had lost their two wonderful young girls with their whole lives ahead of them. And we all lost a damn good man.

That damn good man was Bill Henningsgaard. He had spent the first 20 years of his career building sales and international channels at Microsoft; he was universally respected. But he'd be the first to tell you that job was really just preparation for becoming a community leader, a catalyst, and an agent for positive social change in the fullest sense. He was the real deal. I had last spoken to Bill, my good friend and role model, just a few days before he and his 18-year-old son, ...

Get Can't Not Do: The Compelling Social Drive that Changes Our World now with O’Reilly online learning.

O’Reilly members experience live online training, plus books, videos, and digital content from 200+ publishers.