Michael’s Inspiration

Michael’s Inspiration

To brighten up the dull hospital room walls and, most importantly, to keep his focus on the people that matter most, Michael has an inspiration board to help him keep fighting and stay positive throughout his treatment.


“Dude, you’re on.” Those three words engraved a smile on my face and induced a panic in my heart.

Earlier this year an email circulated around the office from our friends at Make-A-Wish Canada about their most current initiative, Rope-For-Hope. Adrenaline-seeking philanthropists were invited to rappel down the side of Toronto’s City Hall. A follow up email from a colleague that read “Alen will do it” went out which warranted a response of “Hell yeah, I’ll do it.” My dear friend, colleague, and resident Oracle, Michael O’Connor Clarke said he’d do it too. Of course he would. He’s nuts and this is right in his wheelhouse. With the excitement of a pre-pubescent boy I filled out my form but stopped abruptly when I saw how much money I had to raise in order to participate – $1,500 bucks. I had little to no faith that I could raise that much money in such a short period of time. Before I was able to tell Michael I was out, he had already raised half.

That’s the kind of guy Michael is. He’s passionate and he cares about others more than himself. This isn’t the first time he’s given his time, money and effort to help others. As a co-creator of HoHoTO, Michael has raised upwards of $100K for the Daily Bread Food Bank, connected hundreds of people and brought awareness to a cause bigger than himself.

Shortly after raising the money for Rope-For-Hope, Michael was diagnosed with cancer, and asked me to take his place.

The day before I rappelled I thought, this isn’t right; it’s just not the same without him there. He needs to experience this with me. So, I did the next best thing I could think of. I bought a Go-Pro camera, opened up iMovie for the very first time and made Michael a little video of the whole thing.

When he saw the video from his bed in the ICU his eyes lit up and with all his might he blurted out “Fuckin’ awesome”.

No, Michael. You are fucking awesome.

This is just one story about how eager Michael is to help others. Now, Michael needs our help. I know these are tough times but please click on the “donate” button and contribute whatever you can. Every little bit helps a lot.

Alen Sadeh

The Anti-Mentor

Re-posted from Wise Hilda Knits, a delightful blog written by Kate Atherley aka Wise Hilda. She wrote this post about Michael’s wisdom and mentorship, which many of us have benefited from in the past.

Thank you Kate for letting us share your words.

The Anti-Mentor

Totally off-topic:
This story isn’t about me, but it begins with me.

I used to have another career. In an industry I didn’t really fit into. I liked a lot of the work, but I never felt passionate about what I did, and never really felt like I fit in.

About 15 years ago, my paths crossed with Michael O’Connor Clarke. He hired me to do a job for which I had neither the experience nor the qualifications. I’m still not sure how it turned out for him, but it was terrific for me: I got some amazing experience, learned a whole load of new things, and found myself a mentor.

Michael was my mentor for a few years, helping me out as I muddled my way through, trying to figure out what I wanted to be when I grew up. And he listened to me and supported me when I went through a difficult time in my personal life.

And then at lunch a few years ago, he delivered his final and best act of mentorship: he told me to go away. We both knew that I was unhappy and hadn’t really found my place in the tech world, but I didn’t have the courage to get out.

He didn’t want to be my mentor anymore because he didn’t want me to be in the position of needing his help. He didn’t want me to be in his industry anymore.

I’m not, and I’m happier and more fulfilled professionally than I ever was in my previous career. And Michael gets credit for helping me make that jump. I’ll forever be grateful to him for that.

It was with shock and sadness that I learned yesterday of his illness. Michael has been diagnosed with esophageal cancer, a very aggressive and difficult to treat cancer. I’m still processing this, I’ll be honest. There is a call for support that has been organized by his friends and colleagues.

And old and very dear friend lost his father to brain cancer recently, too. I just don’t know what to say.

Actually, I take that back. I do know what to say: Fuck cancer.

Michael is a Rockstar

This just proves what an absolute rockstar Michael O’Connor Clarke is.



If you have had the genuine pleasure of meeting Michael, you have likely been exposed to some of his famous phrases that make us understand the true meaning of LMAO. Gems like “What the ACTUAL f@$&” will forever remind us of Michael’s wit and way with words.

Some other favourites include:


Grab yer ankles, HoHoTOnians – it’s gonna be a wild ride.

No guarantees until the sheep are in the paddock or whatevahdafuckdametaphoriz.

Let me check my diary.

I will endeavour to ensure my seconds are suitably cleaned, dried and neatly presented, as no one should have to receive seconds that are… sloppy.

The skywriter is booked and I’ve optioned the free lawn space along the side of the Gardiner.

In the back garden…

While we were “hoovering”…

Holy shitballs on toast! Or, its alternate, Outfuckenstanding savoury tea biscuit.

It’s all gone pear-shaped.

Michael’s reply to a request to bring Purell to a meeting when a friend remarked about being under the weather: Purell doesn’t taste good. Stick to hot whiskey.

Michael’s advice to someone making a media appearance: break a leg. Kick ass. Do your thang. You’ll be awesome.

And a favourite: ne’er-do-wells can bite my transparent Irish arse*.

*Full disclosure: Michael’s arse is not actually all that transparent and does not constitute a reasonable window substitute. Some conditions apply. Professional driver, closed course. YMMV. WTGC.

We can’t wait for Michael to be back on his feet wrapped “in 4.5 yards of Shetland wool” (otherwise known as his kilt and sporran number).

Do you have a favourite “Michael-ism”? Please share in the comments below!