A last minute breakfast meeting with a potential employee saved the life of a storage industry executive who gave up his seat on fateful American Airlines Flight 11 for a later time slot.
Jacob Herbst, CEO of FilesX, an Israeli start-up company, was driving to the airport after the 6:30 a.m. meeting when he first heard the news on the radio that Flight 11 had crashed into the World Trade Center.
"At first, I thought it was a joke because it was a light music channel, and maybe a caller was joking," he said. "I changed the station, heard the news there, and realized it was true."
Herbst is no stranger to brushes with death. He is an Israeli army veteran, with experience as a radar technician and an artillery specialist, and served in the '67, '74, and '82 wars in the Middle East.
"I was in war three times, but I was never this close to death," he said.
Herbst said it was an act of God that saved him. "I was scheduled for that flight," he said. "Nothing should have changed, but my buddy, Steve, popped his head out the window and said he has another meeting for me."
The Steve he referred to was Steve Duplessie, senior analyst at The Enterprise Storage Group, a Milford, Mass.-based consulting firm. At about 3 p.m. Monday, Herbst finished a meeting with Duplessie and was getting into his car to leave when Duplessie stuck his head out the window and asked him to come back up.
Duplessie gave Herbst the name and phone number of a potential employee. Herbst, who was in Boston to set up a U.S. headquarters for the company, later agreed to set up a meeting at 6:30 a.m. Tuesday morning.
Herbst almost decided to forgo the meeting because of his busy schedule, but instead rescheduled his Los Angeles-bound trip for 11 a.m.
FilesX develops hardware appliances that take requests for information off the Internet and then bypasses HTTP servers to get that information directly from a SAN.