Some People I’m Excited to Meet at Next Week’s Brooklyn Beta

Next Thursday and Friday I’ll get the pleasure of attending a small, friendly web conference aimed at the “work hard and be nice to people” crowd. 

Here are a few folks I’m excited to hopefully talk with (presented in order of their surname’s appearance in our fine English alphabet):

Josh Brewer — Part of the design team at Twitter and co-creator of 52 Weeks of UX. I love the work his team does at Twitter (and let’s be honest here… I really love Twitter). Given opportunity, I plan on pummeling Josh with logistics and culture questions about the Twitter design team in an effort to steal all their knowledge.

Dan Cederholm — Web designer, writer, speaker, entrepeneur, and designer/co-founder of Dribbble, a fantastic show & tell site for designers to share snapshots of what they’re working on. I’m massively grateful to Dan for creating Dribbble, as upwards of 75% of the client work I’ve done in the last year is a direct result of my exposure there. Dribbble hustles for me. I owe Dan a hug and a cold beverage.

Frank Chimero — Yes, Frank is a well-respected designer and illustrator. Yes, he’s writing a book I was happy to help fund through Kickstarter that went on to raise more than $100,000 in a few days. But mostly I just have a brain crush on the way he articulates thoughts. I want to know what his pain points are in the writing process, and if cash advances change your writing behavior, priorities and motivations.

Phil Coffman — Austin-dweller, one of the co-creators of Method & Craft, a sort of behind-the-scenes process blog about design, and a dang fine Creative Director at Springbox in the 9–5, too. I’m excited to make this friendship 3D, and hear how M&C has changed his workflow of outside projects.

Chris Glass — One of those annoying designer/photographer/blogger/entrepreneur types. Only from a small town in the Midwest. And not in the least bit annoying. Actually, stellar in every way. I anticipate unexpected brilliant topics of intellectual conversation. 

Naz Hamid — There’s not a designer working and making things on the internet I respect more than Naz. That has as much to do with his ethos on work/life balance and independence as it does his studio’s admittedly stellar body of work. I can’t wait to finally chat in person.

Zach Klein — I’ve stalked Zach from afar for years. He co-founded and designed Vimeo, and then leveraged that success to do something much more important (and close to my heart)—buy beautiful wooded property with a stream and cabin(s). He makes me realize I don’t have to wait until I’m 50 to have my dreams. I’d love to pick his brain about work/life balance and entrepreneurial risk.

Cameron Koczon — Cameron’s helping run the Brooklyn Beta show. I knew we’d be friends when we met at Greenville Grok and, during an app idea presentation, he told one of my designers, “The app is great. I’m going to give you 6 months—if you haven’t built it by then I’m going to. I’m 100% serious.” Cameron’s also leading the charge on building Gimme Bar, which is the best thing on the internet. I’m 100% serious about that.

Ethan Marcotte & Elizabeth Galle — They go together ’cause they’re married. Ethan is blazing trails writing and speaking about the future of web design. Elizabeth does web work for The Smithsonian’s research branch in Cambridge, supporting a NASA X-ray telescope… IN SPACE. But more pertinent for why I want to meet them, they tandem tweet against the machine of human idiocy more eloquently (and hysterically) than anyone else I follow. They are, in short, my people, and I love them.

Ben Pieratt — Great designer (Book Cover Archive is a personal favorite) turned product designer now helping helm the ship of Svpply, a wonderful, minimalist site you can use to track the things you want to buy. When Ben says things like, “The internet kills all middlemen” and “[it’s] offering you a blank check and asking you to come up with something fascinating and useful” in this blog post, I think, “I want to have long, meandering, philosophical conversations about the potential of the web with this guy.”

Yaron Schoen — I met Yaron at Greenville Grok the same weekend I met Cameron. He had me at, “If it’s free, it’s dead. Either no one’s going to do it or everyone is going to do it and it will suck.” Again, real talk. Yaron just took a desk at Twitter’s NYC office, and I’m excited to hear about what he’ll be making awesome for them.

Noah Stokes — Longtime friend, occasional collaborator, even less occasional finisher of projects together. Brother from another mother. It’s been too long, motherfuton.

Fred Wilson — Savvy Venture Capitalist, principal at Union Square Ventures (who have helped fund startups like Etsy, Kickstarter, Tumblr, Twitter and Zynga), and family man. Fred got on my radar when he wrote openly about USV passing on funding Airbnb and why it was a mistake. I love that kind of transparency, so I’d love a chance to talk shop with someone older and wiser in the industry.

The crazy thing is, I could keep typing names here. There are 200+ folks coming to this year’s Brooklyn Beta, and I have faith that every one of them will be in that “work hard and be nice to people” crowd. That means that in addition to this list (and the people I’m certainly forgetting), there are dozens of other potential new friends. Amazing conversations, ideas, sparks, prods, critiques, and plenty of other unexpected things will happen next week.

Rands puts it well in this blog post:

I have exactly one goal when I attend a conference. Through some bizarre and unpredictable sequence of events, I’m going to meet that one person I absolutely need to know. Who they are, what they’re building, or what they’ve done—it’s mind-blowing shit that, once identified, forever alters my perspective.

With that many amazing, hardworking, nice people in one room, how can it not happen? 

See you next week, Brooklyn.