Tech pioneer Jim Ayson remembered as ‘vocal, persistent communicator’
Candid, vocal, and persistent.
This was how Fernando Contreras Jr. described his friend and colleague Jim Ayson, one of the pioneers of the Internet in the Philippines, who died of a heart attack on Monday night at the age of 53.
In an online interview, Contreras, founding member of the Philippine Internet Service Organization, said that aside from being very active in cyberspace, Ayson had always spoken his heart out, especially on how technology can make the Philippines a better country.
“He will provide candid insights on current events. Very vocal about his stands on unfair practices and abuses. Even on the political side, he is persistent with his principles,” Contreras, co-founder of iPhil Communications Network Inc., told INQUIRER.net.
“He always thinks of how we can use technology to advance the status of the country,” he said.
Asked what he thought was Ayson’s greatest legacy both in the digital and non-digital worlds, Contreras said the late technology luminary was a good communicator and educator.
“He is a very good communicator. He can describe technical matters to the common people. From being a journalist to a blogger, he has the power communicate and educate well. He also documented some of the scenes behind the birth of the Internet in the Philippines,” he said, referring in part to Ayson’s account of how the Philippines first connected to the Internet in 1994, which was published in his blog “The Ayson Chronicles” (jimayson.wordpress.com).
Contreras said both he and Ayson shared the same vision as they both believed in the “power of technology” to be a tool for change and transformation.
“I think we both believe in the power of technology. The ability to change things through technology and technology as an equalizer to many divides. We share a passion for the state of the Internet and are providing as much insights, knowledge [as we can] for its betterment,” he added.
Contreras joined Ayson’s Philippine Cyberspace Review mailing list and tried to collaborate with him on various projects, such as Ayson’s works on cyber history and PhilMusic.com, the country’s longest-running music website. The two members of the Philippine Domain Administration Convenors worked together in the late 1990s and early 2000s for a position paper on the management of the .ph domain.
Contreras said he and Ayson got busy in their respective work, but managed to meet at least once a year for the founding anniversary of the Internet in the Philippines. They were also named as two of the Internet’s 10 most influential Filipinos by The Web Philippines.
Ayson is survived by his wife Chette and daughter Gabby.
His wake will be held at the Heritage in Taguig from Nov. 11, 3 p.m., to Nov. 13.
“It is still a shock for me. He has a baby who is less than a year old. I hope she gets to know what his father did for Philippine cyberspace,” Contreras added.
Ayson’s wife Chette confirmed his passing in a Facebook post: “My husband, my best friend and love of my life Jim Ayson joined our creator last night… Thank you for all your thoughts and prayers.”
Ayson, head of Smart Communications’ Internet and Media Partnerships, was instrumental in having the Twitter accounts of Alden Richards and Maine “Yaya Dub” Mendoza verified.