In Loving Memory of KJ Herr

(From the Praxis blog)


There is a GoFundMe campaign to help KJ’s family with funeral costs.  You can support them financially here:

I first met KJ Herr at a conference in Atlanta.  He enthusiastically approached me after my talk and said, “I started a business and it failed.  How do I overcome that and start again?”

His sincerity and earnestness stuck out.  He was admitting it was hard.  He hadn’t yet let the sting of the failure go, but he also knew he wanted to do more.  He had the spark.  His tenacity and the number of exciting projects he couldn’t stop talking about and working on make it incredibly difficult to deal with what has happened.  KJ is not with us any more, and it hurts.

I will never forget the interview and application process for KJ and working with him to find a business partner.  He wanted to get the most out of the program.  He was less concerned about challenges than he was about what he could gain.  He told me there was no point in doing something halfway, and he wanted to learn from the best how to create, innovate, and make the world a better, freer place.

KJ lived and breathed freedom.  He was actively involved with Students for Liberty and always engaging in intellectual and social pursuits revolving around themes of human liberty and flourishing.

I cannot begin to describe the difficulty in dealing with his passing.  We consider KJ family.  We miss him.  He was an irreplaceable part of the Praxis program and broader mission to inspire, educate, and encourage entrepreneurs.  He represented and exemplified our mission.  But he was so much more than that.  I only knew him through social media for a few years, and in person for less than a year.  I do not wish to speak for all that he was, only that which I knew him to be in my all too short time with him.  Words cannot express how much he is missed.

A few thoughts from our team and fellow participants:

“I had known KJ for a number of years. I remember when he opted-out of college and started “Robin Socks”, a company he had formed. Just before that I recall grabbing a beer with him in DC, talking about various ideas and ventures. That same night he had the gumption to ask John Mackey of Whole Foods a question about a business plan in front of a thousand people or so! Recently we were working on a little business plan that was gaining traction. KJ was a great guy and one of the few people who was willing to create something without looking for an exit, which is uncommon to see in the entrepreneurial space. I hope to further the business plan he had started in some shape or another over time. KJ was a bright and humble individual who didn’t waste time.” – Zac Corbett

“I’d known KJ for a few years through SFL and then working with him as he started Praxis. KJ and I shared a love of the San Antonio Spurs, which I always appreciated as it’s hard to find too many sports fans in the circles we were both part of. While I had not known KJ too well through our SFL work, his kindness did leave a mark on me, as it did with everyone he interacted with. It’s obvious why he was such good friends with Andrew Kaluza.

The time I was able to work with him through Praxis was a true pleasure. He gave a memorable speech at the opening seminar on his experience starting his own company, Robin Socks, and he was determined to gain as much experience as possible through the program so he could start his own company once again. I feel privileged to have been able to interact with him, particularly getting to discuss his ideas for new business ventures. KJ’s passion for entrepreneurship was infectious. I was very much looking forward to watching KJ create his own success through Praxis and beyond. It was clear he had the determination and ability to do so.

KJ, thank you for allowing me to be part of your life. You will be missed, friend.” – Cameron Sorsby

“I did not know KJ personally (to my great loss), but I interacted with him a few times in online Praxis discussions. He was so clearly everything that those who knew him better made him out to be – personable, creative, and dynamic.” – James Walpole

“From the day I met KJ, it was clear that he had not just a professional drive to accomplish things, but a deep, existential drive to see his plans to fruition in the world. He was an astonishing human being who had that rare capacity.” – Zak Slayback

“A couple of weeks before his passing, K.J. shared this on his Facebook page:

“Funny story/confession: This morning I decided I was going to stream a movie while eating breakfast instead of getting to work. As I get ready to load the movie, this captcha showed up to make sure I was a real person.”
stop wasting time
This funny little anecdote captures the spirit of K.J. perfectly for me: It shows him to be the kind of guy who could push himself and laugh at himself at the same time. While many people see the events around them as random, neutral, or boring, K.J. reacted to things as if they were both silly and serious, as if his everyday experiences were a series of invitations from the universe to laugh a little more and dream a little bigger. For the time he was with us, he did both of those things very very well.

On February 11 at 10:14pm 2015, K.J. wrote this on Facebook:

“At no time in my college career did I ever want to stay up and continue reading instead of going to bed. I only did it because I had to. Shout out to T.k. Coleman and the rest of the team at Praxis for putting together a curriculum that has me wanting to evade sleep and keep learning.”

A major part of my job is to challenge people to push themselves to study harder. Of all the bright young minds I’ve had the honor of coaching, K.J. is the literally the first person I’ve ever had to check up on for studying too much. “Go to sleep,” I would say, but his passion for knowledge would not be quenched. His love for learning kept him awake at night and it gave him the energy to make it through the next day.

Henry David Thoreau wrote, “On the death of a friend, we should consider that the fates through confidence have devolved on us the task of a double living, that we have henceforth to fulfill the promise of our friend’s life also, in our own, to the world.” I’ll have to live with my many unanswered questions concerning what K.J.’s future would have been like, but there is one thing I have no doubt about whatsoever: K.J. gave his all. He didn’t hold back. I feel like I owe it to him to allow that same spirit of zeal and determination to live in me. Thank you for being my teacher, K.J. The lessons you exemplified through the inspiring life you lived were not imparted to us in vain.” – T.K. Coleman

There is a GoFundMe campaign to help KJ’s family with funeral costs.  You can support them financially here:

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