Commentary Work

Zeldman marks 10 years…

And I mark nine and a half. Web design guru Jeffrey Zeldman wrote two weeks ago about the occasion of the 10th anniversary of the launch of his personal web site, just a few months after publishing his first commercial web work, for a movie.

That summer of 1995, sometime in June or July, Tony Barr (the owner of Barr Systems, where I then worked as Publications Editor) walked into my office and said words to the effect of, “Craig, we need to have a web site and you’re the one to build it.” Sometime that July, my then boss Paul Firth, the marketing director, and I went to Orlando to a seminar on “Internet Marketing” where we didn’t learn much besides the fact that everyone else present was new at this stuff too. That trip also marked another more personal milestone, but that’s perhaps a story for another time.

My first encounter with Jeffrey Zeldman came sometime when I worked for Barr and started reading A List Apart, on online magazine for web developers which he founded, probably during 1999 or 2000. I didn’t know specifically of Zeldman though until my friend Erin pointed his personal site out to me in 2001 or 2002 and I connected him to A List Apart at that time. I met Jeffrey in the Fall of 2003 at the WebDevShare conference at Indiana University, where he was the keynote speaker. He autographed my copy of his book and couldn’t believe that I brought it with me on the plane in hopes of getting it signed. I met him again this year at the SXSW Interactive conference in Austin, Texas and even had my photo taken with him. He reminds me of a lot of guys I grew up with in “New York’s Southern Branch Office” (Miami if you can’t figure that out).

We launched the Barr Systems web site within days of the 1996 New Year. I stuck around Barr until the Winter of 2001 doing less and less print and more and more web (with some programming thrown in), until I left for the slightly less green, but more friendly pastures of the University of Florida, where I had worked before Barr. (If you ever want to see me head for a door, just suggest that I become a programmer.) I don’t recall exactly when I first launched my personal site with an “tilde” URL, but it was probably in 1996 or 1997. It became in 2004.