So the time has come where the wonderful web conference happens in Boston at the Marriott Copley, An Event Apart.
My first (and currently last) time was in 2008. A life time ago in web years. I still have all the schwag I got, I still have the pictures on my Flickr feed, and my An Event Apart laptop case… It was a great conference.
I got to meet the likes of Jeff Veen, Doug Bowman, Jason Santa Maria, Andy Budd Eric Meyer, Jeffrey Zeldman, and Bruce Lawson to name a few. It got me in touch with Ethan Marcotte, Christopher Schmitt, and a few others as well.
Looking back still, I got a little fan boy-ish when I thanked Bruce for conditional comments which helped me with the whole IE styling back in the day and even got a shout out on his site. Which made me laugh and makes me laugh even more to this day. Thanks, Bruce!
During the days when I was very active on the web, when I was freelancing and doing very well for myself with my little one-man band development club, when I was religiously following everyone I could in the early days of Twitter, I wanted to do the web standards thing. I was fawning over the fact I met, talked to, and even broke bread (lunch I believe) with Jeffrey Zeldman.
To sum it up, AEA was great, educational, and terrific. I highly suggest people in the industry to go if they have never been. it is money well spent.
Then I planned in grandiose fashion, of course, to and vowed to return every year, when it came to Boston to keep in touch with folks and see the others I have never seen or met before such as Jeremey Keith, Andy Clarke, and a pantheon of others I religiously followed.
So then life came along and I got in my own way. I don’t hide the fact that my past was very checkered with addictions of all sorts. Alcohol and drugs being the worst of the worst. I got a big head, a.k.a. ego. I missed 2009, I vowed to return in 2010. I missed 2010, I swore to return in grand style on a unicorn, throwing lightning bolts and proclaiming my return in 2011. Missed 2011.
I went through many years of failure on grand levels. I got in my own way and the addiction thing is probably best saved for another post.
I decided that my dreams of working at a great firm such as Happy Cog, 2Advanced, Razorfish, Red, etc., were done. I continued to slop around and freelance, but work dried up, I got deeper in the hole I was digging, and by 2012, I gave up.
The last 5 years, I have been in recovery. Got a year, stumbled, currently working on 4 years in August. May of 2016 I was hired by a company that I am still working for, doing web work. I got the itch back. So I decided to ask if they would send me to AEA, I got the go ahead.
I’ll be returning after 9 years. Yeah, I got right back. I’ll leave the unicorn and lightning bolt throwing at home though. I’m back to learn. I’m back to hopefully catch up with people and re-introduce myself to some folks.
It’s been a real struggle, but I’m glad I’ll be back in May.