John Perry Barlow, who died in San Francisco last week at age 70, was an important pioneer for internet freedom. But he was much, much more than that. He was the kind of Renaissance Man that today\u2019s internet moguls can\u2019t even dream of emulating. And that is a huge loss for the world of technology \u2014\u00a0and the world at large.\nBarlow\u2019s wide-ranging influence\nYou may not have heard of Barlow, but you\u2019ve probably been influenced by him in a wide variety of surprising ways. For one thing, he was a co-founder \u2014 and at his passing, vice chairman \u2014 of the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which is considered \u201cthe leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world.\u201d Back in 1990, when the EFF was formed, Barlow helped popularize the term \u201ccyberspace.\u201d He was a director of the WELL (Whole Earth \u2019Lectronic Link), the seminal online community, and he was an influential early voice at Wired magazine.\nBut technology was only a small part of the John Perry Barlow story. He was also a Wyoming cattle rancher and a Republican politician. Most notable for many, he wrote the words to dozens of popular Grateful Dead songs, including \u201cEstimated Prophet,\u201d \u201cCassidy,\u201d and \u201cThe Music Never Stopped.\u201d He took acid trips with Timothy Leary and was a friend to President Kennedy and his wife Jackie, who sent their son John F. Kennedy Jr. to work on Barlow\u2019s ranch in the late 1970s. Barlow worked on Dick Cheney\u2019s 1978 congressional campaign, though he later separated himself from the future vice president\u2019s policies.\nIronically, the fact that Barlow was so much more than an internet pioneer is part of the reason he was such an important figure in the rise of the internet. The wide range of Barlow\u2019s life didn\u2019t distract from his contributions to the internet; they informed and shaped those contributions in ways that many of today\u2019s callow, one-dimensional internet leaders would do well to study and emulate.\nThe New York Times, for example, noted that his support for the open internet arose in part from his experience with the Grateful Dead\u2019s success with the uncommon practice of allowing fans record their shows rather than strictly limiting recording to official albums. Music industry execs said encouraging so-called \u201cbootleg\u201d recordings would cost the band millions \u2014 instead it helped boost fan loyalty and lay the foundation of a multi-decade career, extremely unusual in the fickle world of pop music.\nSimilarly, his vision of cyberspace as a place where people could find their tribe was no doubt influenced by the community that coalesced around the Grateful Dead, bringing together like-minded folks from across the globe in the physical space of a concert.\nUseful lessons for today\u2019s internet moguls\nToday\u2019s internet leaders don\u2019t seem to care about any of that very much. They just want to sell you stuff. To them, the internet isn\u2019t a movement or an opportunity to change the world for the better. Instead, it\u2019s a mall, an opportunity to make money, perhaps with some new efficiencies and maybe a nod to \u201cnot being evil\u201d or \u201cconnecting the world\u201d \u2014\u00a0as long as that doesn\u2019t get in the way of getting stupid rich faster than ever before possible.\nAs a friend put it, Barlow never would have started Uber. Perhaps more to the point, Uber founder Travis Kalanick would never have made the internet into the shared, open platform that Barlow envisioned and worked so hard to help create.\nFor the internet\u2019s sake, for our sake, let\u2019s hope there are more brilliant, passionate, realistic, yet idealistic people like Barlow ready to contribute to a free, open and welcoming internet with room for community and connection as well as commerce. We need that now more than ever, but in the geopolitical and technological climate, I wouldn\u2019t hold your breath.