Walking around the Media Temple party after the first day of An Event Apart last night, something that Sarah Parmenter said in the second session of the day finally bounced into the correctly shaped hole in my brain for it to get through to me. She praised the web community for being just that: a community. She talked about how she found it to be a friendly, non-competitive place that encouraged sharing and co-learning almost inherently (due, in part, to “view source” itself).
What occurred to me last night as I walked around Frank with a cold beer and a delicious cookie in hand, is… I didn’t go to school for this. I learned my trade—developing for the web—on the web, from these people.
I’ve made a living for the past 12 years as a programmer. I feed and clothe my family and put a roof over their head because of people like Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer, who not only championed web standards before most of us knew what that meant, but documented their journeys, wrote books, blog posts, blog templates, and so, so much more, but didn’t even stop there. Not only is there An Event Apart, there’s the free web site: A List Apart, the free podcast The Big Web Show (hosted by Mr. Zeldman himself, and among a network half populated by people in his current or former employ), and the publisher A Book Apart.
To Jeffrey, Eric, Sarah, Jason Santa Maria, Luke Wroblewski, Kristina Halvorson, Ethan Marcotte, Jeremy Keith, Andy Clarke, and Jared Spool, I am indebted to you, minus royalties from the many of your books I have purchased, and, maybe a wee little bit of the conference pass price.
So, you know, 12 years of income minus $17.53 or so.
Other speakers this week, I’m only omitting you because you’re a new discovery for me. I may be writing another thank you letter to you in a few weeks/months/years.
UPDATE: I can’t believe I forgot Jared Spool in my initial post. For shame.