Sunday, April 26th, 2015
My trip to Columbia and New York was EPIC. I just have to write it all down to memorialize it.
The next day I spent time working at a couple of coffee shops in the Five Points neighborhood. Drip is a very nice one. Love pourovers. I was just waiting for the AirBnB we rented to be ready. The AirBnB was a beautiful house in a beautiful lush neighborhood – where we could walk right down to Five Points.
Everybody (Alex, Tim, Dee, and Chris Campbell) got there Sunday. It was so awesome to have the whole gang together. The house was perfect for relaxing and getting work done. We got a lot of planning done together on some upcoming CodePen features.
We got to check out the SOCO coworking space there, which is a beautiful space that they are doing lots of cool stuff with, including hosting meetups and Iron Yard classes and all kinds of cool stuff. It really ignited my dream of having a space like that.
Tuesday night we had the Sparkbox+CodePen Meetup which was right across the street from SOCO. TONS of people came and we just had a fantastic time. I may have gotten a little too drunk and give a mini speech standing on a table. The Sparkbox gang is so awesome. We’re working with them on a redesign of CodePen. So many of my favorite people were there. Dan Denney, Rachel Smith, Mina Markham, Wren Lanier, Zoe Gillenwater, Lauren Mancke… too many to list. Heart you all, old friends and new.
That night I met Sara Kennedy, a recent grad from Iron Yard. Then the next night we all got dinner together at Cowboy (a Brazilian Steakhouse) with Mason Stewart, the CTO of Iron Yard. Mason is an interesting, chill dude and it’s amazing what Iron Yard has done in such a short time. I’m a pretty big believer in the coding school thing.
The big reason for being in Columbia was for ConvergeSE. Gene, Gio, Jay (the Unmatched Style Gang) gave me my own Wrecking Crew Jacket. Which is totally badass. My one regret in Columbia is that I had to leave too early and not attend as much of ConvergeSE as I would have liked. I’ll fix that next year for sure.
Thursday I spent a lot of the day at the airport catching up on work and then flying up to New York. My first real time in New York! I was here one other time but I had no free time and was basically in-and-out. This time I was looking at a whole week of free time! I stayed at a Holiday Inn Express in Hell’s Kitchen.
Friday was Generate. I just bought a ticket and attended so I could see my friends speak. Lara Hogan, Katie Kovalcin, Dave Rupert, Brad Frost, Val Head, Jonathan Snook, Mike Monteiro… again SO MANY FRIENDS. I got to meet Katel from A Book Apart and Nicole Dominguez for the first time which was cool.
The party after Generate was a good time. Everyone just drinkin’ cocktails at some rooftop joint over by the Aircraft Carrier Intrepid. I got to talk to tons of interesting folks. It was interesting to talk with Martin Leblanc of Iconfinder, who’s business is similar to CodePen in a lot of ways. I had some great conversations about teaching with Erica Heinz, Erin Allen, Val Head, and some other folks. I ended up going out to dinner with some of those folks plus some fella from Italy and Chris Casiano.
Saturday I woke up and worked at some coffeeshops and stuff before walking through Central Park and over to the Met to meet Dave Rupert, his wife’s friend Allison, and Erin who I had met the day before. We walked through the Met and then walked through the park again to eat at some legendary street-meat joint with mega-spicy sauce. Dave had to hop a flight right after and he wrote a tale about it.
Then we parted ways and I walked all the way through Times Square down to southern Manhattan where I met up with Tim Holman for beers at East Village Social. Later on Chris Nager and his wife showed up and we had a good time. She was starting training for the NY Bar and I learned about weird lawyer-specific software that charges based on actions, like saving, seaching, printing, etc. Pretty crazy.
After that I ended up going to this super cool launch party for a new NES game: Star Versus – at Babycastles. I got to meet a bunch of folks I’ve been waning to meet for a long time for the first time, and some new folks: Ashley Williams, Jenn Schiffer, Rachel White, Eric Andrew Lewis, Dustin Long, Steve Klabnik… We ended up drinkin’ beers at the place below Babycastles ’til like 3:30 in the morning like young people.
The next morning I got to go to brunch with that same gang, which was super fun, before relocating to Brooklyn and the Hotel Indigo. The hotel had weird enlarged photographs of things that could be there but aren’t.
Lara Hogan was awesome enough to let me work at Etsy early in the week, so Monday I got to work the whole day from their beautiful offices in Dumbo (which I learned meant Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass).
Monday night we had the CodePen Meetup at Etsy. Seth Walker was kind enough to let us have that at the space they have at Etsy where they do Code as Craft stuff. Despite the rain, it was a great turnout. Filled the room. I kicked it off by demoing some upcoming CodePen features, which was boring and I probably should have done something more interesting. Lara Schenck is the organizer for the NYC CodePen Meetups and she gave a great talk about job titles, descriptions, and all the confusion and frustration there. Carl Schoof from Greensock talked about Greensock; Nick Hehr talked about building browser extensions; Jeff Schram talked about DuckyMoto and Skyline.is. I met lots of new folks, some folks I only had known online before, and some pals I had known before like Max Fenton.
After the party we went to Superfine for cocktails. We had fun talking about all kinds of crazy tech stuff.
Tuesday I got to work from Etsy again. In the afternoon we got some of the Etsy folks together to casually chat about design and front end stuff. They are doing lots of interesting things. One particularly interesting challenge they have is fighting the ever-increasing size of CSS. They have some really cool ideas for this, which I can’t wait for them to share.
Tuesday evening I met up with Lara Schenck again, got same dang fine tacos then hit up the WordPress NYC Meetup. I got to watch Lara patiently help people with WordPress issues. She’s quite a good tutor. Then we went for cider/booze pairings at Wassail before (luckily) getting into a rad little speakeasy called Attaboy for cocktails. One of those bars with no sign where you have to knock gently, speak with a fella, then get on a waiting list for them to text you back to get in.
Wednesday I met up with Jed Schmidt for dinner at Wolfgang’s Steakhouse. Jed’s friend-of-a-friend Shō Fukushi was in town visiting from Japan. Shō is a celebrity in Japan! He was in movies like Say I Love You. He was here on vacation to practice English and his martial arts. We all walked along the Highline on our way to Sleep No More, this crazy silent interactive theater experience (probably one of the weirdest things I’ve ever done). Jed is the perfect person to do stuff like this with. He made the whole thing extra-fun. Then we sat and drank cocktails at the weird bar they had set up in there, where this extra-hot jazz band was playing.
Thursday I met up with Erica Heinz, who amazingly let me work at The Townhouse, which is this cool kinda superfriends coworking space in the Gowanus area of Brooklyn. Just getting to go out to lunch with Erica and Frank Chimero makes for a pretty damn fine day.
That evening there was a Code Genius event that was sold out, but Jenn Schiffer hooked me up with getting into. David DeSandro and Jermey Askenas were speaking. A guy from Genius.com spoke too and was great, but I forgot his name. We just had David on CodePen Radio recently. I hadn’t seen Jeremy since he, Ben Schwarz, Karen McGrane and I drove the south island of New Zealand for a week a few years ago!
After the event, I went and got a drink at the Brooklyn Inn with Leah Shea, and old friend from college. It was a damn fine evening of reminiscing and talking about love, life, and everything in between.
Then I went to meet up with Karen McGrane, one of my favorite people on Earth. We went for wine, then walked up to Museum of Art and Design which had a Richard Estes exhibit. I had never heard of him, but he paints these amazingly realistic photos of New York. Then more wine at this fancy bar at the top of a building right next door. Then for an incredible Italian dinner. I can’t remember the name of it and it’s hard to search for “Italian Restaurants” in Manhattan because the map is just covered in dots. Karen is my spirit animal and I love getting to hang out with her.
Later in the evening I went to a little informal party at ustwo’s office, where Leah Shea works. We hung out and went for more cocktails later back in Brooklyn for my last night in town.
Saturday morning I took off to the airport. I hopped in a cab and hung on for dear life as this cabbie took me to LaGuardia. It wasn’t aggressive-driving scary. It was “I’m pretty sure this is the first time this guy has ever operated a motor vehicle scary.” I was going to report him, but there was no identification information in the cab, so of course it was illegal.
The trip of a lifetime! My only regret is that I didn’t meet even more people. I tried and failed to connect with a few like Phoebe E, missed an opportunity to hang out with Adam Sontag, couldn’t find a perfect day to see Pam Selle, and should have tried harder to see Yaron Schoen. Next time!
Wednesday, April 8th, 2015
One time, back when I lived in Palo Alto a number of years ago, I drove up to San Francisco to speak at the local WordPress meetup. There was maybe 30 people there, hanging out and chattin’ web. I gave a talk about random web stuff I was thinking about at the time. They recorded it:
Now it has 115,134 views on YouTube. I’d call that a hit! You just never know.
Tuesday, April 7th, 2015
About people who live in very remote places.
Happy People: A Year in the Taiga – Trappers in the heart of the Siberian Taiga
Grizzly Man – Another Werner Herzog one, more about bears than just “living”, but super well done.
Home Movie – Not all the people profiled live in remote places, but one woman lives alone in a treehouse in Hawaii’s most remote valley.
Friday, April 3rd, 2015
Last week Naysan Naraqi and Josh Janssen from Envato came and shot this short video of me. All the video was recorded in 2 quick days and they had it complete and published before they even left Milwaukee. Pretty impressive!
Since being published, I’ve heard from loads of people who connected with some of the themes in it and wanted to thank me personally. Like the work from anywhere stuff and the weight loss stuff. I’ll forward your thanks to Josh and Naysan, as they really made that all come to light.