Thank you An Event Apart

Eric Meyer and I, wearing mics.
With Eric Meyer at An Event Apart in 2016. Photo by Jeffrey Zeldman.

It’s Christmas Eve Eve, and I was adding the last of my expenses into Concur, when my work email account received a message. My colleagues, being more sensible than me, have vanished, so I checked just in case there was some actual content-related emergency. It was an email from Eric Meyer, informing me that An Event Apart had ended its 17-year run. The conference in San Francisco, which I had just spoken at, was to be the last.

I can’t explain how significant my involvement with An Event Apart has been to my career and for the things I care about. I’m so, so sad right now.

I’m sometimes credited with spreading the word about CSS Grid, but without An Event Apart, that effort would never have gotten off the ground. They handed me a soapbox, and I made good use of it, but I needed that push. I gave my CSS Grid talk for over a year, a veritable Ship of Theseus. I rewrote chunks of it while sitting in the show’s audience, as the spec or implementation changed the day before my talk. Speaking with audience members afterward helped me refine how I explained things and gave me feedback for the CSS Working Group.

They gave me space to unpack ideas that still aren’t a reality, as in my talk about overflow, which was essentially an exploration of a way to enable CSS Regions. I intend to return to those ideas in 2023, partly due to discussions at the conference in San Francisco this year.

The team at An Event Apart put their trust in me to deliver, and I hope I did. I worked through so many of my ideas of their stages and in the conversations with attendees. I met people who are my friends, colleagues, and co-conspirators for the open web platform.

I always thought they would be running these shows forever. Eventually, I’d be irrelevant and not asked to speak, so I’d find some reason to show up in the city and say hi anyway.

Thank you Eric, Jeffrey, and the rest of the An Event Apart crew. I loved working with you. Thank you for letting me speak my brains on your stage; it helped me more than you can ever know. Thank you for being exemplary in the way you cared about quality and how you cared for the speakers at your events. Thank you for your love of web standards and the web platform. Thank you.

One Comment

Eric Meyer December 23, 2022 Reply

Thank YOU, Rachel, for everything you brought to the stage, to your work, and to all of us at AEA. We’ll hugely miss our times together.

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