What makes a Web Professional?
Web Professionals are passionate and influential people. They embody a strong fundamental value that they promote every day. As a Web Professional, not only are you helping yourself or your company, but a community of customers or colleagues around you. Making smart scalable decisions, promoting great values, and helping the faithful followers around them are a fraction of why I chose the top 5 Web Professionals.
Across the board, they all come from very different fields. From web design to marketing to running their own software company – each has a unique perspective. They don’t just speak technical jargon or high level web related talk. Each reach out to us on different levels and on many different platforms like Twitter or their own Video podcast series. Each delivers a message that we can all benefit from.
The candidates below share the same important value. Passion.
The passion to promote their respective view on the topics they love. Promoting healthy standards, new world working cultures, marketing for today, vision for cutting edge ideas, and helping a community of users.
In my opinion, passion is what drives any great leader or Web Professional in today’s society. The passion to succeed. The passion to be the best they can be. The passion to admit when things are going well for them and when they are not. The passion to stick by their ideals and their company when the going gets tough. Further, the passion to be dynamic and open to change and react properly.
In no particular order, here are my top 5 Web Professionals. I’d love to get your feedback if you agree or disagree.
Jeffery Zeldman, Founder of Happy Cog / zeldman.com / @zeldman
Zeldman was the first Web Professional I came across. Even before I knew what a Web Professional was, I was following him for the track record and community around him. As an aspiring web developer and designer, I found his stance on standards to be the most sensible way to produce work in the industry. Let alone the fact he helped father in the use of HTML and CSS as we know it today.
Passion: Web Standards
Benefit to follow: When you follow Zeldman, you know what you’re getting (and sometimes not.) He’s a straight talking web standards fanatic that has no issue saying what is on his mind. He is passionate about Web Standards and simply doing things right. A true professional that has helped pioneer more than we know.
Jason Fried, Author and Founder of 37Signals /37Signals.com /@jasonfried
Fried is becoming somewhat of a Web Professional celebrity. Fried is the co-author of recently published Rework and Getting Real: The smarter, faster, easier way to build a successful application. He is also the co-founder of 37signals, a popular software as a service company based in Chicago. His flagship product, Basecamp, is a great online collaborative project management tool. I use it daily for managing projects in freelance and at Slocum Design Studio. I have even used Basecamp as a replacement to having meetings at non technical jobs.
Fried promotes that simplicity and just getting it done proves to be a successful means for running a business. He’s right. Many companies and individuals have tried to replicate his message in within their own efforts. If you pickup Rework, he outlines a lot of these useful ideas.
As a Web Professional, his outlook on operating and working as a virtual company is awe inspiring. 37Signals is based in Chicago, but employs workers all over the world. He thrives on running with a lean and talented team. Books could be written on his business models alone – and they have.
Passion: Getting things done in a simplistic and straight forward manner. Doing things your way and worry about others later.
Benefit to follow: You can learn a lot from Fried by following him on twitter, subscribing to his blog, and using his products. His method for working with teams and running a business are eye opening and inspirational in today’s market. Even down to the build out of their new Chicago office, there are plenty of benefits to following Fried.
Seth Godin, Marketer and Author / sethgodin.com / @thisissethsblog
Seth is a newcomer into my Web Professional world. I actually first discovered him from the headline printed on the cover of Rework, from Jason Fried above. The first book I picked up from Seth, was the last book he’s going to publish in typical industry standard. It’s moves like this, that make him a true innovator and marketer of our time. His latest book, Linchpin, really sums up the true values of today’s Web Professional. Working openly together and giving back to each other to achieve success is the message I took away from the book.
Linchpin is an eye opener for those of us leading a team, trying to market our product/service or promote our message. Delivering Art to those around us, inherently will increase the success we are looking for. Being real with our ourselves, clients and followers couldn’t be anymore well examined by anyone else. I look forward to getting into more of the books he has written.
Passion: Promoting Art. Common sense, get it done marketing.
Benefit to follow: I have learned a ton from reading Linchpin and subscribing to Seth’s blog. I can only imagine the vast amount of knowledge and guidance I could learn from reading his other books. I also love the style of his blog. It’s as if he posts summaries of new ideas that pop into his head daily. I always enjoy reading his posts on my iPad!
Kevin Rose, Founder of Digg.com / kevinrose.com / @kevinrose
Kevin is the poster child of today’s successful internet start-ups. If you read about his start-up with Digg, it’s the common”built out of the garage” story board. He thought of an idea and had a passion to develop it. He is also passionate about innovating and investing in new companies.
Just recently, he launched Digg v4. Digg came under a lot of heat about the change. In one of his Diggnation videocasts, he even said he would be happy continuing on with how Digg has evolved. It’s that kind of humble demeanor that really grounds a true Web Professional. He started Digg for himself and is still proud to be the founder. There’s a lot to learn from him as he juggles CEO duties to lead developer roles. I’ve enjoyed watching Kevin grow as an innovator, leader and a person. Cheers to Kevin!
Passion: Digg culture, innovation and Tea. Enjoy life while juggling the responsibility.
Benefit to follow: I closely relate to Kevin in a few ways. Though I’m not as wildly successful with my internet startups (yet) – we both share a passion to innovate. I highly recommend watching Kevin on his show Diggnation. It’s a great experience to watch someone grow over the years and to see his personality evolve.
Bonus benefit: Watch Kevin on The Random show with Tim Ferris (a closer runner up to top Web Professional.)
Matt Cutts, Googler and Blogger /mattcutts.com /@mattcutts
If you’ve researched anything to do with Google SEO, analytics or webmaster tools chances are you’ve come across Matt Cutts. He is the head of Google’s Webspam team. Though I’m not quite sure what it really means, I do know he is an expert in SEO and how Google formulates results.
Along with his vast knowledge of Google search, Matt carries quite a community of followers. Many Web Professionals look to his in depth knowledge in answering some of the most unique SEO questions. Matt broadcasts an in depth video series about the questions he receives from the users around him. As a Web Professional, it’s this kind of open knowledge and teaching (or Art; see Seth Godin) that separates Matt from the norm.
Passion: Google search and SEO.
Benefit to follow: If you need to improve rankings or learn cutting edge dynamics of Google search – look no further. Moreover, Matt seems to be a generally nice guy and his videos are a pleasure to watch. Send him a question and if it’s unique enough, he will feature it in his video series.
What to take away from this list…
Many of you reading this, may have already been exposed to most if not all of this list. If you haven’t, I suggest you start following them to get inspired and learn from their experiences. They each teach us a lesson in their individual areas with their own unique spin.
Remember that all great Web Professionals should be passionate like the names mentioned here. Passion drives us to be the best and produce the best for ourselves and those around us.