A Tribute To Ranjan Das

Back in October, my good friend Ranjan Das, the Managing Director of SAP India, passed away of a massive heart attack. He was an avid exerciser, and had just run a marathon earlier this year.

I’d never lost a close friend before this year, and in the span of just a few weeks, I lost two, both classmates from HBS. (My other friend was Christian Checa, who will get his own blog post at a later date)

Tomorrow, SAP will be holding a memorial dinner for Ranjan’s friends and colleagues in the Bay Area. SAP will be recording the event and presenting the video to Ranjan’s family. They asked any friends who wished to speak to prepare a 1-3 minute speech. Here is the text for mine:

What I’ll always remember about Ranjan is how he treated people. He was always kind and respectful, but a lot of people are kind and respectful. What really set him apart was how he gently, but firmly encouraged all of us to strive to be better.

I first met Ranjan back in business school, when he, Chris Wu, and I were elected to lead the high tech club. I was just a kid of 24 back then, and Ranjan had way more experience. But he never made us feel like we were kids. Instead, we became partners and friends, both in running the club as well as when we started our own companies that second year of b-school.

While we didn’t share in any hoped-for IPOs, we did get to share many other happy moments. We became dads, twice, and celebrated together at our sons’ birthdays. And after he joined SAP, we had many lunches in this very building, where I’d tell him about my latest crazy idea.

That’s how you could know what kind of friend Ranjan was. A good friend encourages your crazy ideas. A great friend tells you how to make them sane. Ranjan was a great friend. Whenever I had a crazy idea, Ranjan would tell me, “Chris, that’s a crazy idea. But here’s how it might work. Let me introduce you to a friend of mine who can help.”

I really miss him. Even now, when I think about Ranjan, I can still see him smiling, and I can hear his voice in my mind. He did so much for so many, and he made the lives of everyone in this room better. Aroon and Maanav, you already know this, but I want to tell you myself. Your father was a great man. He was a great friend. And I will miss him very, very much.

Goodbye, old friend.

5 thoughts on “A Tribute To Ranjan Das

  1. Anonymous

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  2. Short but sweet and heartfelt. It was moving for me to read it and reflect.

  3. Once again: Greetings to one and all:

    As we’re getting closer and closer to Christmas, many throughout the entire world are preparing, making sure that all of the presents that should have been bought, wrapped, and placed under the tree, has been taken care of, and that not even one present has been forgotten.

    Of course we know that this is just, most especially, the American way. Also the same is happening in different parts of the world as well, as all will know. Which, also is the way that it should be…I personally feel with people doing this, that is, showing love to others, is something that is very pleasing to our Lord, Jesus.

    Something that would please him far better would be…that we don’t leave Him out of our celebrating of his birthday. For this is really what Christmas is all about, you know.
    Then, we all know just how hard it is for people stay in balance. Seems that most people have a very difficult time with this. Seems that most go overboard, with just at times, getting one part of a whole situation centered within their mind (it sometimes being the miner part of the whole) with them then, loosing sight of major part.

    If we have enough people do this, which we often do, not only about Christmas but life in general, we end up with a lop sided world to live within. I know all do not see all of this as I do, for we each have our own way of viewing this world and its situation. Even so, if we look back at past history, or things that have been brought about in days gone by and, still much of it happening within our day and time…by people completely out of balance, having no feeling whatsoever for their fellowman, this should tell us something, even if nothing else does, or regardless of whether anything else does, or ever will.

    Much love,

    Your brother in Christ Jesus, who is both our Lord, and Savior.


  4. Puneet Wadhwa

    I was shocked and saddened to read about your friend Ranjan. I met him once at your house, the day of Jason’s Birthday party. He struck me as a nice down to earth guy. Truly unexplainable.

    You've honored him well in your essay.

  5. Anonymous


    Great Tribute for Ranjan. I met him randomly and he was such a nice guy and I was shocked that he was so accomplished because he was very down to earth.

    I do have to say that I think running marathons is not healthy, long distance runners dying of heart attacks is no longer an anomaly but a trend.

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