Chris Shiflett http://shiflett.org/ en-us Chris Shiflett is an entrepreneur and web developer focused on building community and bettering the open web. 2018 Highlights http://shiflett.org/blog/2019/2018-highlights http://shiflett.org/blog/2019/2018-highlights 2018 was a good year.

My web design and technology studio Faculty did some good work this past year, and we’re on our way to more with a promising new client. I’m optimistic that we can start to have a bigger impact on the web.

My coworking studio Roost is thriving, with a wonderful community of creative people that inspire me daily.

Below are some additional highlights.

January

Sean and I have been working together for many years, and in January, he officially joined Faculty:

Faculty is not just new to me, but something altogether new. It’s also something that feels older than it is. The familiar, experienced kind of old. The good kind. The kind I like.

Nick also joined Faculty at the start of the year. Nick is an incredible software engineer, adept at everything from infrastructure to frontend development. I’m excited to be working with him again.

February

Tegan and I participated in Family Code Night at her school, which was a fun introduction to some basic programming concepts. She was a natural. It was also my first exposure to Scratch, a programming language from MIT that was created especially for kids.

March

Sara Distin joined Faculty. Sara is an excellent writer — the best I’ve ever worked with — and she also brings a plethora of tangential skills, from content strategy to marketing. I’m thrilled to have her on the team.

At the end of the month, we took another family trip to Breckenridge. We’re pretty fond of the place, both for its proximity to Boulder (long road trips are still rough) and its relaxed vibe. Christina took Tegan and Killian skiing while we were there.

April

We launched a new website for Tia. The work itself wasn’t especially notable, but we were struck by Tia’s mission and thrilled to help them on their journey.

At the end of the month, I took a short trip to Tennessee to attend my little sister’s wedding.

May

Sanette, Amanda, and Jesse started a skeeball league. It was a lot of fun, and it’s great to watch the Roost community continue to grow.

I had jury duty. I liked it a lot more than I expected to, partly because the judge was so great. He really instilled a sense of pride in all of us, and a deep respect for the whole process.

I participated in a debate at Boulder Startup Week on remote work. It reminded me of Keenan’s wonderful Designer’s Debate Club.

I went to my first concert at Red Rocks to see Haim (with Maggie Rogers and Lizzo) and was blown away by the venue. The crowd was great, too. I’ll never forget everyone singing along to Whitney Houston while we waited for the show to start. Magic.

June

We took a family trip to Ireland for two weeks, visiting places like Dingle, Galway, Inishmore, Donegal, and Carrick. While in Donegal, we were lucky enough to meet up with Christopher Murphy and his wife Cara.

July

We held our first Faculty retreat in Colorado. It was an opportunity to look back, learn from our successes and mistakes, and plan for the future. As a remote-friendly team, our retreats are critical to our success. The entire week was full of planning, discussions, work, movies, and adventures. We drove into Denver for dinner a couple of times. At one such dinner, we saw Calista Flockhart and Harrison Ford.

We published Good Work. This was a very important milestone for us at Faculty. I'm sure we will reference this constantly for years to come. Our hope is that not only can we continue to hold ourselves to these standards, but that we can also encourage others to do the same.

August

Christina and I spoke at an AIGA event in Denver about Roost. It was fun to be able to share our story and see the enthusiasm for what we’re doing on people’s faces.

I led two more Backcountry Club trips, to Maroon Bells and Indian Peaks. It’s always great to take time away, and it’s especially fulfilling to do it with friends, many of whom have no backpacking experience.

We sent our first Faculty newsletter. Each month, we’ll share our favorite links on design, technology, and business. You can sign up here.

September

I took Tegan on her first backpacking trip, an overnight to Crater Lakes in the James Peak Wilderness. I love this photo of us, because her excitement and anticipation are so visible.

We started working with Simply Framed.

For many reasons, we decided to sponsor New Adventures, a conference I love organized by people I love.

October

I decided to start tweeting only links as a way to curb my habit of using Twitter as a substitute for blogging. So far, it hasn’t resulted in more blogging, but good habits take time. It does help me focus on using Twitter for what it’s good at (spreading content) instead of what it’s not (hosting content). I’m optimistic.

November

At Roost, we started a monthly gathering called Breakfast Club. One Friday each month, we eat breakfast burritos, drink mimosas and lattes, and discuss the topic of the month. Our first topic was communication, and we talked about the downsides of always-on, realtime comunication mediums like Slack, and how to establish healthy boundaries with clients.

December

We spent the first few days of the holiday season in a cabin in the Rockies. I went for a run in the mountains while we were there, which was a nice place to reflect on the year past and the year ahead.

I hope you have a wonderful 2019.

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Mon, 31 Dec 2018 22:42:06 -0700
Sponsoring New Adventures http://shiflett.org/blog/2018/sponsoring-new-adventures http://shiflett.org/blog/2018/sponsoring-new-adventures The intro to Good Work starts with a simple statement:

We love the web.

This sentiment is core to the vision of Faculty. It is also a common thread that ties together most of the professional endeavors throughout my career.

My love of the web has led me to do something I’ve never done before. Faculty is sponsoring a conference. Not just any conference, of course. New Adventures.

For a new company, any expense (even a small token of support) is a big decision. Here are a few of the reasons we decided it was a good idea:

  • We share a similar ethos. The company you keep reflects who you are. It’s important for us to align ourselves with those who share our values.
  • Our friends deserve our support. When I started Faculty, it felt like starting over. Although my career spans more than two decades, Faculty itself is new. I’m sure bringing New Adventures back after all these years feels a bit like starting over. I have benefitted from the support of my friends. I want them to benefit from my support, too.
  • I miss it. I attended New Adventures all three years (2011, 2012, and 2013), during the heart of the Brooklyn Beta years (2010–2014). There’s heavy overlap between our communities. I’m confident the return of New Adventures can refresh our optimism and spirit.
  • We need this. We’re no longer standing on the shoulders of giants like we once were. We need to ground ourselves in the lessons of the past to reach new heights. By sharing our experiences, we can help newcomers get a head start and push the web forward.

There are many conferences I love. (I’m looking at you, Webstock.) It’s possible we’ll sponsor more conferences in the future. For now, we’re incredibly excited to be heading to Nottingham in January.

Grab your ticket, and we’ll see you there.

Until then, happy holidays!

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Mon, 17 Dec 2018 22:42:06 -0700
Tweet Only Links http://shiflett.org/blog/2018/tweet-only-links http://shiflett.org/blog/2018/tweet-only-links I’m going to try an experiment. Starting today, I’m making a commitment to tweet only links.

Why? I’ve been blogging for more than 15 years, but I blogged far more in the first 5 years than in the 10 years since. While there are many factors, I think joining Twitter drove the decline of my blogging habit more than anything else. Now, if I have something to share, I’ll write a sentence or two on Twitter and be done. Twitter lets me scratch the itch.

If I have something to share going forward, my hope is that this commitment will compel me to blog about it. If I can’t take the time to explore a thought by blogging, I should link to someone else who has. Twitter can still be great for spreading ideas, but it’s not a particularly good home for them.

In order to make this commitment more palatable (to hopefully inspire others to join me), there are a few exceptions:

  • Personal tweets are still allowed. This includes most replies. Some judgment is required, but if it’s not something you would ever consider blogging about, then it’s probably trivial enough for Twitter. I like to wish friends a happy birthday, for example.
  • Retweets are discouraged, but still allowed. I personally turned off all retweets, but retweeting doesn’t violate the spirit, since it’s similar to linking to someone else. Just be mindful not to spread the sort of shallow tweets that you’re trying to avoid yourself.
  • When you tweet a link, you can add some commentary.

If you have something to share, don’t give yourself the easy out and temporary relief that comes from a tweet. Let your desire to share lead to a blog post.

I mentioned this idea to Chad this morning, and he committed to tweet only links. I hope you’ll join us, too.

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Mon, 01 Oct 2018 12:45:22 -0600
2017 Highlights http://shiflett.org/blog/2018/2017-highlights http://shiflett.org/blog/2018/2017-highlights At the start of 2017, I wrote:

The world feels different. It’s hard not to fret, but I hope we can all be optimistic and continue to work to make the world a better place.

I took a long break from social media and focused most of the year on my work. While I didn’t announce Faculty until December, I spent all year getting it off the ground.

My biggest client had me traveling so much in the first quarter that I matched the pace of Hillary Clinton’s travel when she was serving as Secretary of State, including half a dozen trips to Korea. On the plus side, I now have Global Services status.

Below are some additional highlights.

January

I was interviewed by Ed Wassermann for his podcast Between Screens. We mostly talked about Brooklyn Beta.

The day after the inauguration, the Women’s March gave us our spirit back. It was the largest protest in American history and a good reminder that the world is full of good people who are willing to fight. My wife and eldest daughter marched, and I was so proud of them.

February

I hosted an important workshop at Roost for some of my colleagues, and we did some good work together designing an API for global online commerce.

March

I started working with Frank on the Faculty brand.

April

I got to see the Indigo Girls at CU, where they recorded an album with the CU Symphony Orchestra.

May

I took the whole family to Salt Lake City and attended Front, a conference created by some fine people, including Ben Peck, who once wrote some really nice things about Brooklyn Beta.

While I was there, I was able to make time for lunch with Bryce, one of the few investors I admire.

June

For the second year in a row, we spent a month back in Brooklyn as a family. It still feels like home, but less so than last year. I mostly remember enjoying unreasonably-long lunches with Frank and playing soccer in the park with my old crew.

July

We returned to Boulder in time for me to attend an office warming party for Emerson Stone. Boulder’s budding creative community is growing stronger, and I’m proud of the role Roost is playing in that.

August

I led two more spectacular Backcountry Club trips. The first trip was to Indian Peaks, which was particularly special, thanks to the solar eclipse. We experienced it from one of my favorite places, an alpine meadow just west of Buchanan Pass.

The second trip was to Maroon Bells. The Four-Pass Loop is often described as the best backpacking loop in the lower 48, and it surpassed all expectations. Many of the photos I’m using on this site were taken from that trip.

September

I got to see the Indigo Girls again. I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen them live, but every time feels like such a privilege.

I finally launched a website for Roost. It was an especially fun project, because the members of Roost collaborated on the design and build, notably TNKR and Jesse Litton.

October

I went to Greenville for Greenville Grok, one of my favorite homegrown events. Less than a month later, Chris Merritt would join Faculty.

November

Officially welcomed Chris Merritt and Doug Wilson to Faculty.

I was lucky enough to meet Conrad Anker and listen to him talk about his many adventures over the years. Pretty inspiring.

I took the whole family to Breckenridge for a short getaway, which was nice. What a beautiful little mountain town.

December

On December 11th, we hosted an unforgettable launch dinner for Faculty. Several people came to Boulder to help us celebrate, including Sean and Nick, who would be officially joining Faculty in January.

For posterity, here is the guest list:

  • Amanda Lenz
  • Chris Merritt
  • Chris Shiflett
  • Christina Shiflett
  • Dan Storch
  • Daniel Burka
  • Doug Wilson
  • Frank Chimero
  • Jackson Fox
  • Jeremy Keith
  • Jesse Litton
  • Jonny Black
  • Kaitlyn Irvine
  • Katy Jeremko
  • MK Cook
  • Nick Sloan
  • Sandi Grigoryan
  • Sean Coates
  • Sergey Grigoryan
  • Val Head

The day after, we announced Faculty to the world. I made the announcement on my spiffy new website.

2018

Years ago, I tried to start a blogging revival called Ideas of March. It was great while it lasted, but it didn’t last. Maybe the timing wasn’t right.

This year feels different. I’m slowly regaining my love of technology, and I think getting back into blogging (and bookmarking) will help. I’m not alone. RSS Club, Newwwyear, friends redesigning their personal websites, etc. Something’s in the air, and I’m glad to be a part of it. Let’s bring blogging back, and the open web with it.

Have a fantastic 2018, and thanks for reading.

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Mon, 08 Jan 2018 17:00:00 -0700
Faculty http://shiflett.org/blog/2017/faculty http://shiflett.org/blog/2017/faculty

Today, I am proud to introduce Faculty. We design, engineer, and build really great websites and apps.

I love the web, and I feel fortunate to have been working on the web since its inception. From writing CGIs in C and laying out pages with tables, to CSS Grid and serverless computing, it has always been fulfilling to bring new ideas to life and share them with others.

I also love working with smart, friendly people who obsess over the details as much as I do, and I’m grateful to those who are continuing this journey with me. We’re an experienced team, and we enjoy using our experience to unlock the potential of our clients.

Faculty is the culmination of everything I’ve learned about technology, design, and business. If you think we can help you, please do let us know, and thanks in advance for your support.

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Tue, 12 Dec 2017 00:00:00 -0700