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Keep Smiling: a Telco 2.0 tribute to Keith McMahon

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We were shocked and saddened to learn this week of the early death of our colleague and friend Keith McMahon. It is a devastating blow for his family and friends, and a huge loss to us all. We understand from his family that he was diagnosed with a brain tumour last Friday 27th June, and died on Monday 30th June. He leaves a wife and two children of whom he was immensely proud, and to whom we offer our deepest condolences.

Keith started working with us in 2006, eventually closing down his Telebusillis blog to concentrate on his contribution to Telco 2.0. He had a fantastic grasp of the reality behind the numbers in almost every industry but particularly in telecoms, and a real talent for insight - the ability to find, understand, and express important issues well beyond the obvious. His analytical skills were backed by a wealth of practical experience gained in UK altnets and ISPs, in long-haul fibre builds throughout Latin America, and with Brazil’s biggest mobile operator.

He was a great and engaging presenter too - always colourful and often challenging, and a hugely enjoyable person to be with. He will be greatly missed by us all and the many clients, colleagues and friends he amassed throughout his busy and varied life.

Keith worked across our research and consulting business on many different projects, research reports and other publications. Among the many pieces that Keith either lead or contributed significantly to, in ‘BBC’s iPlayer nukes “all you can eat” ISP business model’ (2008), Keith was characteristically ahead of the curve in understanding the impact of video on broadband business models, and also showed his penchant for brutal attention-grabbing headlines, which he showed again in ‘Public Wifi: Destroying LTE/Mobile Value?’ (2011).

As well as contributing significantly to ‘Dealing with the ‘Disruptors’: Google, Apple, Facebook, Microsoft/Skype and Amazon’ (2012), he produced this gem on Amazon’s business model transformation. More recently, he was part of the team that delivered the Telco 2.0 Transformation Index.

As a person, Keith was warm, entertaining and fun to be with. He was highly intelligent, creative, and occasionally eccentric. He gave great value to clients and was a treasured colleague, even if his approach to deadlines evoked memories of the nickname he earned building telecoms networks in Latin America - ‘Il Pirata’.

Keith always signed his emails ‘Keep Smiling’. As hard as it is in the tragic circumstances of his early death, we would like to remember him with a smile, and hope this short video of Keith reflects a little of the qualities and the joy that we will remember him for.

(With thanks to Tom Davies at Keyline.tv for putting this video together.)

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