On Friday, I woke up in Vail, Colorado, to find an email notifying me that hours earlier a good friend of mine had passed away.

His name was Dr Michael Hirshorn. He was one of the founders of Cochlear, an original team member of Resmed and on the Board of Directors for Dynamic Hearing and a whole heap of other companies.
Sad news

I have known Mike since I first started in business when I was 25 years old. He had just started with Venture Capital firm, Nanyang Ventures, and I worked on the publicity surrounding his appointment and later on was invited to work from their very prestigious offices at the NAB Building in George Street, while I was getting my business off the ground in Sydney.

Working only metres from a man who was somewhat of a mentor to me on business and in personal life, was a privilege. He always gave me the time of day and would often come over to my desk if I was having a hard day and ask if I would like a coffee or a glass of wine.

We talked about everything imaginable and I was always in awe of his wisdom and the great advice he gave me. He was a remarkable man who achieved so much both personally and professionally. Many businesses in Australia would not be where they are today, if it had not been for Mike's influence, direction and business know-how.

I remember distinctly one day when we decided to go over the road for a glass of wine at the Establishment to talk about a business we both were working on, and he said to me "was I happy with my lot in life?" Of course, I wasn't... but I was only 25 or 26 years old. I wanted more. I was in a long-term relationship with an awesome person but we started to travel down different paths, my business was going through the roof but given that I was so ambitious - that wasn't enough and there were still so many things I wanted to do and achieve.

When I asked him the same question, he answered "yes". Mike was very happy with his "LOT" in life. At the time, I think he was in his late 40s and he had a very happy marriage to a woman he loved and adored. He had two step sons who he thought the world of and there would not be a week that went by that he didn't come to office and tell me about a proud moment he had had with the boys or that they had done something that made him laugh.

Career-wise he had achieved everything and venture capital was his next stage.

And he loved talking to people, getting to know them, sharing experiences and knowledge and giving the odd piece of good advice on my love life.

I will always treasure those times when we would sit for an hour or so and talk about business and life. He was an amazing mentor and a kind generous friend. Someone I will remember forever.
Mellissah Smith is a serial entrepreneur and business leader with more than 20 years' experience in marketing.
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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert, author, writer, public speaker and technology innovator. Having worked with more than 300 companies across technology, medical device, professional services, manufacturing, logistics, finance and health industries, Mellissah has a well-established reputation as an experienced marketing professional with more than 20 years experience. As the founder and managing director of Marketing Eye, she has taken the company from startup to a multi-million dollar enterprise with offices in Australia and the US. Mellissah is also the Editor in Chief of Marketing Eye Magazine, a quarterly magazine that cover marketing, entrepreneurship, travel, health and wellbeing. #mellissah #marketingeye

1 comment

  • Will Farge
    Will Farge
    25/11/11

    Thanks for your recollections of my dad, Mike.

    He was a wonderful mentor for James and myself, he gave us so much that we took for granted - I hope I can remember his guidance and advice for the rest of my life

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