I’m not sure if this is really a tradition quite yet, but certainly something worth doing once a year at the very least. One thing that I’ve come to recognize about my life thus far is that it’s been a very fortunate one. Not that it’s been all easy, that I want for nothing or anything of that sort. It’s been fortunate in the sense that even the challenges that I’ve faced, both internal and externally imposed, have brought me to a point in life where I can honestly say I’m profoundly happy. Professionally it’s been an amazing year fully of new opportunities that continue to challenge and inspire me, and personally it’s brought me even closer to my wife, family and an even wider circle of friends. With that, it seems right to take a few moments and mention those who have made such a great impact in my life this year, say thanks, and wish them, and all of you who may read this, a happy Thanksgiving. (Even those abroad - I’m guessing you’ll still get the sentiment. Even those in Canada who said thanks a few weeks ago.)
It’s been a little over two years now since I left my job at an agency here in Providence to start working on my own, and this past year has brought some amazing new developments. I’ve worked more closely with Schoolyard ( @schoolyard ), we’ve grown from 3 school clients to nearly 30, and the Drupal-based platform I designed has matured tremendously. Our team has grown from (literally) Mark and I sitting in a big empty space to now 5: Oscar (the most recent addition), Jessica ( @jessica_port ), and (my personal favorite) Ellen ( @ellendiamond ) - my darling wife. Working with her this year has been fantastic, and her knack for getting to the heart of what makes a school special and bringing that out in its discovery research and information architecture never ceases to impress and amaze me. Both Jessica and Oscar are also proving to be great additions to the team - I hope they’ll forgive my bias though. We’re producing some really great work, having launched 8 sites in just the last few months. I’m really proud, and can’t thank Mark enough for inviting me to be a part of the new Schoolyard.
Aside from Schoolyard I’ve also had the pleasure of working with another really great client: Monotype. What started a year ago as an inquiry about helping with their Drupal module for their new web font service has turned into an opportunity to write for them, speak on their behalf and generally consult with them on the direction of their web font offerings. They’re a fantastic bunch of people to work with and I count them very much as friends rather than just colleagues. (and if John G. - @johnnyGMTI - ever invites you out for Greek food: just go… trust me)
Speaking has been another big part of my professional life this year, with talks at Design for Drupal in Boston, DrupalCon London, Do It With Drupal and most recently a return to the Future of Web Design conference in NYC. While I can’t possibly thank everyone enough for these I’d like to mention in particular my pal Steve Fisher ( @hellofisher ), everyone at @Lullabot for inviting me to DIWD and making the experience rock, and especially Cat ( @oh_cat ) and Ryan and everyone else at @Carsonified for inviting me back to #FOWD .
I’ve also come to know (and in some cases know better) an amazing number of other designers and technologists in Providence and beyond this year. It never ceases to amaze me; their talent is only matched by their generosity with their time and knowledge: Jeremy Keith ( @adactio ) and Rich Rutter ( @clagnut ) for Beer O’Clock hospitality in Brighton and Jared Ponchot ( @jponch ) for being my fellow ‘design tourist’ for a day; Jen and Jeff Robbins ( @jenville & @jjeff ) for opening up possibilities for me I never expected; and Josh Clark ( @globalmoxie ), Coryndon ( @cluxmoore ) & Evelyn H. for starting up our #PVDUX meetup.
Another real treat has been the resurrection of our #webdesignbookclub with Stephen Cross ( @stephencross ). It’s my weekly dose of web design geek-out with a great bunch of designers. We’ve had some great conversations and shared a lot of knowledge. Jeffrey Zeldman ( @zeldman ) and Ethan Marcotte ( @beep ) provided much of the fodder for discussion in the form of two great books, and Ethan was kind enough to join us twice. He’s a gentleman and a scholar in the truest sense. We’re about to start Aaron Gustafson’s ( @aarongustafson ) book next and I’m thrilled to have gotten to know him this year. He’s another true inspiration in his knowledge and willingness to share it.
So - a year to be thankful for to be sure - but I can’t end a post like this without family. Trevor and Phoebe continue to amaze me, and I’m more honored than I can put into words to be a part of their lives. Of course Tristan has to be thanked for waking me up early and nudging me out the door to see some of the most beautiful sunrises imaginable. I can’t thank him enough. And then there’s Ellen - my darling wife. I don’t know how I got so lucky. Life, love, work and home has never been so amazing. Thanks baby!
Nope. Not bad at all.
Thanks everyone - I hope you’ve all had a great day and found your own inspiration and told them how much it means. Feels. good.