Me and Mr. Z

me and my blue beanieI'll never forget the first time I saw Jeffrey Zeldman. It was in 2002 and I was at Web Design World in Boston. I had never heard of him before, nor had I ever heard of Web Standards. The moment he started talking I could almost sense that I was about to have my paradigm shifted. It was like I was walking around behind someone who kept dropping money out of their pockets, trying to pick up all the bills and change - faster than I could keep up with. The words he spoke had that much value to me. At that time, I was really at a crossroads in my career. I had been doing web design for more than a year, but I was doing it all wrong. I was using FrontPage to create table-based layouts, CSS was still a mystery and I knew nothing of Web Standards. I thought that Flash-based web sites were great, but had no ability or desire to learn the ActionScript to create that "wow" factor in Flash. I was seriously wondering if I should drop web design and go a different direction in my career.

At that conference, I soaked in every word and returned home with a passion and excitement about HTML, CSS and Web Standards. I was convinced that this method of building web sites was something I could not only do, but love doing.

I know Blue Beanie Day is not a tribute to Jeffrey Zeldman. Its a day to recognize the importance and impact of Web Standards on our industry. But for me personally, its a day to tip my hat beanie to Mr. Z and say "thanks". I wouldn't be where I am today without his influence.