This year was great. I got the chance to travel to California and St. Louis and even drove myself out to Wyoming for a weekend. BTW, 14 hours in the car will make you question your sanity. So here's a list of some great people I had the pleasure of meeting this year.
You're probably already familiar with Aaron if you're reading this, as I had been too via twitter. But this past summer I had the opportunity to fly out to Southern California and meet him face-to-face. Aaron is a family man and an all around "rad" guy. Even though I didn't get to see him as much as I would've liked, just visiting with him for a few hours at his house was awesome. We even sat down and recorded a video blog together.
Meeting Chris was like meeting a long lost brother that I never knew existed. Even though he's younger than me he doesn't act like it. Maybe it's his story of surviving cancer or the fact that having a wife and two kids is what drives him to succeed. Whatever it is, Chris has it, and I'm proud to know him. While I was out there in St. Louis we went to a Cardinals game and to take some pictures down at the graffiti wall. But probably my favorite part was just sitting down and talking with him. Check out Lift.
Ok obviously Firehost isn't a real person, but I did get to meet two of the people behind Firehost, Chris Drake and Casey Barthels. I don't know if I can say enough good things about these guys. Humble, reliable, innovative, generous, the list could go on. But seriously, if it weren't for these guys I'd still be stuck on the phone with Media Temple having to put up with their poor customer service. Thanks Firehost.
Garth is one of those guys flying under the radar. You may not see him in the limelight but don't be fooled, this guy has some serious design chops. It was Garth who flew me out to California and opened his home to me for a short weekend this past summer. Upon arrival I thought we would spend more time in front of the computer, but it turned out to be a relaxing mini-vacation with a trip down to San Diego and to the Temecula Valley Wine country. That was one of my favorite weekends of this past year. Be sure and check out his new company May.
It was only the second WordPress meetup group I had been to and the group had grown from about 10 people to close to 50. So it came as a surprise when I found myself sitting next to a like-minded designer. Plus he wore a really cool hat. Since then we've hung out more and more, and you can usually find us up at The Flying Saucer on Monday nights sharing a pint or two and talking about life. Matt is currently working on a new version of his website and I know it will be featured on smashing magazine, at least five times.
That's what it's all about folks, making real connections with real people. If you would've asked me at the beginning of 2009 if I thought I would be traveling across the country to meet people I only knew online I might've said "cool" (seeing as how I did meet my wife online) but it certainly wasn't expected.
Now I'm excited to meet you in 2010. If you're going to be in Dallas, let me know. If you like good beer, good food and good design let's plan a trip one weekend. I want to get out there and meet those of you who I've been connecting with online.