You are awesome, Thanks

This past year my mantra for the year was “Create shared memories.” It was the focus element of each month, week, and day. It guided how I planned and how I made decision. And it worked well!

I know it’s not Thanksgiving, but who says you have to only be thankful on a specific day each year? That’s stupid. And I try hard not to be too stupid – know what I mean?

So I’m writing the longest post I’ve ever written. Ever.

And in it all I want to do is tell you how awesome you are. Because I’m truly thankful for you and one of the ways I know how to thank you is to write about you.

Ready to get started? (These are in no specific order.)

Andrew Nacin

Nacin – I swear when I supported your Movember campaign two or three years ago, I had no idea you even knew who I was. Maybe you just look things up on the Internet faster than me. But your thank you was personal. And it said something about your awareness of the community you lead, and your approachability. This year we connected in Austin and I didn’t want to take up your time – because there are always crowds around you – but you took a few minutes to chat. And then in DC you gave me several hours of your time at a great lunch. Here’s the bottom line – I think you have the ability to make each person you’re talking with feel extremely important. That’s amazing. Thanks.

Syed Balkhi

Syed – I know you’re younger than me, but every time we talk, it feels like I’m the only one doing the learning. You’re truly incredible in how quickly you soak up information and then make it practical. You too have an ability to make someone feel important when they walk in the room – simply by that big smile of yours. And you smile for everyone (or almost everyone) because you never judge folks. In reality I know you’re constantly discerning (which is a different thing, I know). But I have come to trust that discernment and your wisdom and advice has challenged me even when I wasn’t expecting it (like in Cabo). Thank you for being a role model. And just so you know, my kids no longer want to grow up to be me. They want to grow up to be you. Me too!

Steve Zehngut

Zengy – Is there enough space in any thank you note to get everything in it? Maybe the easiest way to refine it simply goes like this – I laugh more when you’re around than when you’re not – and it’s not at you, but with you. Whether it’s doing business or on vacation, we’re having fun. You’re the life of every party I go to (and I don’t normally go to parties). Thanks.

Cory Miller

Cory – At some point I’ll share the story of my watching everything you did from back when you spoke in Chicago, which translated to sending you sample slides, which translated to doing some slides for you at Pressnomics, which turned into dinner, which was followed up with collaborating on things. I just have to figure out how to not make it sound as stalkish as it sounds. But I have no shame when it comes to my dogged pursuit to develop both a business relationship and friendship with you because of our shared perspective and values. I love your work. I love your company. And I love your family. You guys are great and I’ve enjoyed the beginnings of bigger things this past year and look forward to a lot more this next year. Thank you!

Karim Marucchi

Karim – What can I say? When it came down to everything I decided to join you full time after all. Not because of the company. But because of you and our shared vision of where things could go. I’m privileged to call you friend, and to have enjoyed several events / vacations together this year (Cabo, Indy500, Cruise, Big Bear). I’m not even holding it against you that you made me visit Denver in December last year. I’m excited for this next year and what we’ll discover & deliver over time.

Dan Beil

Dan – We’ve hung out at several WordCamps and spent even more together having late night beverages while on a hangout. Seriously, I’m not sure I would have guessed that *anyone* would ever do it. But you and Michelle make it fun. I’m positive that I’ve laughed every time we’ve talked. Thank you for that.

Beka Rice

Beka – It was great getting more time to talk in San Francisco this year. I love what you guys are doing at SkyVerge but I’m even more impressed with your work at Sell With WP – as you’re educating folks every day. I love that giving attitude that continues to be rare, but is modeled so well by you. Thanks!

Remkus de Vries

Remkus – I’m pretty sure that everyone who’s ever met you has been intimidated by your stature. I mean, come on, shouldn’t that be the first experience for everyone except the taller folks in your family? But once we started talking, all that fear disappeared quickly. You’re one of the friendliest folks I’ve ever met and I’m so thankful we got to spend time together in Bulgaria and then on Skype. I’m looking forward to a great 2015.

Jeff King

Jeff – I’m hoping that 2015 is the year that people realize it’s not 2011 for GoDaddy. Your leadership there has been nothing short of amazing, as I’ve watched tons of things change and your servers are getting really fast. What I've appreciated most about you this past year is how much you’ve committed to listening to people – and I’ve watched as you listened to all sorts of folks in the WordPress community to help refine some of your strategies. You rock!

Chris Christoff

Chris – Every time we’re together, you’re the smarter Chris. Thank God I’m ok with that. I’ve enjoyed our time at WordCamps and the dinners we’ve had afterwards. Let’s be honest, what I really love most about you is how much you love Mt. Dew. It highlights how smart you are. The other thing I’m so thankful for is the work you’ve put into Front End Submissions for EDD. I regularly get requests about how to build a marketplace and it’s so nice to simply send peope to FES. Thanks.

Tracy Levesque

Tracy – I love your photos. I love your opinions. And I love your style. I’m just sad that we didn’t meet in person until NYC. But I was happy to connect again in Baltimore and more importantly, to follow you online. Your voice is strong and I appreciate it so much. It inspires and gives confidence to others who hesitate to speak strongly. Keep it up. Thanks!

Chris Johnson

Chris – Full stack hustler. This year you’ve gone thru all sorts of stuff, but you know what you’ve never done? Taken the easy road or complained about it. It’s all about the hustle and I appreciate your hard work. Thanks for the model of pushing forward when things look tough.

Tenko Nikolov

Tenko – No one has as nice an office as you guys do at SiteGround (and sadly, many will never get to that level). As much as I enjoyed checking out that office in Bulgaria, I really appreciated the meals we’ve had in Miami and San Francisco. You’re someone who consistently is looking at all the angles (even on the pool table). It allows you to create all sorts of opportunities – which I love. I’m looking forward to a fun 2015.

Brent Shepherd

Brent – What I love most about you is how committed you are to creating amazing software. Tons of people go part way. But part way isn’t in your vocabulary. I know because of how much work you put into your subscriptions plugin – doing what no one else was even remotely interested in doing. Because it was work – and that didn’t scare you. Keep up the great work!

Grant Landram

Grant – We got some time to hang out and smoke cigars this year at BeachPress and those times were some of the best of my year (plus the Mexican food, duh!). It was a pleasure to connect with someone as smart as you, who values growth as well. Most people would simply get to your level and relax, but you don’t stop. I love that. I’m sure we’d hang out more if you moved to a great place like San Diego instead of a place where it constantly rains. 🙂

Justin Sainton

Justin – How could I reference BeachPress and not talk about how awesome you are? There’s no question that was a great memory this past year. But we’ve spent more time together as our families moved thru Disneyland together. Who knew we were married to two women who were so alike? But this isn’t about how awesome Melissa is (you decide who I’m talking about). It’s about you and how awesome you are. You’re seriously one of the smartest guys I’ve met in the WordPress community, and not enough people know it. Know why? Because you’re so normal. I love that! Thanks for your friendship.

Andrew Norcross

Norcross – If I’m talking about some of the smartest people I know in the WordPress community, I can’t help but write you next. Know what I mean? People know you as someone who makes them laugh on twitter, or creates amazing products, but do they also know how freakin smart you are? I don’t think so. I think the coffee in your hand and the tattoos on it distract them. But you don’t mind because unassuming is your way. I love that you’re relaxed and easy-going. But I also love it when the rants come. Seriously. I loved our time at the Indy500 – truly a highlight of my year. Thanks.

Emily White

Emily – You’re a Genesis designer, but that’s not what I remember from our dinner together. Instead I remember laughing a lot. I recall stories (still now, months later). And I remember the thank you note I got from you. Do you know how few thank you notes I got this year? Physical cards really need to make a comeback. My point is that I really appreciated your thankfulness (for something as simple as a meal). Thanks for being awesome!

Mike McAlister

Mike – It was so great meeting you in San Francisco this year. I felt like I was talking to someone I’d known for a long time. While saddened that you had left San Francisco, I totally get it. And the best part is that your work is amazing regardless of where you are. Thanks for your consistent delivery of amazingly beautiful work.

Mason James

Mason – No one takes feedback like you do. I think it’s because you don’t care where you hear it or what you hear, you just want to drive towards excellence. And that separates you from so many others I interact with all the time. Keep delivering!

Konstantin Obenland

Konstantin – I don’t think I’ve ever seen you frown. Not in everyday life. You’re constantly smiling and constantly helpful (even if you’re the more popular speaker at 8:30 am). I really enjoyed our time chatting in Los Angeles – but all the other WordCamps have been fun too. Most of all, I appreciated how hard you worked, and how sly you were, at taking the lunch bill when we hung out in Austin. I think the smile hides how sly you are.

Joe Casabona

Joe – We smoked cigars together – in several towns. Does anything else matter? Except that you’re phenomenally talented while also an amazing storyteller who knows how to get all the NY and NJ accents right. I’m so thrilled to call you friend. Thanks!

Cliff Seal

Cliff – I could write about your skills forever. But that would bore anyone who might still be reading. You do amazing work at Pardot, you write great articles at Logos Creative, you deliver amazing talks, and still had time to create Evermore. It was your desire to create Evermore the right way that speaks volumes of your character and committment to the community – and the reason why more people should know how awesome and amazing you are. Thanks!

Blair Williams

Blair – What I love most about you isn’t MemberPress, though I love that plugin. What I love most about you is how friendly you are while also wanting to win the whole game. You wore tireless to deliver great work and I so appreciate that.

Travis Northcutt

Travis – It’s been a fun year getting to know you and watching how well you’re doing at all things memberships. It keeps me on my toes – for sure. All that said, as you can imagine if you’ve been reading this far, I love humor and your comments in Slack always make me LOL. Thanks for a great year!

Matt Medeiros

Matt – As I wrote about Blair, I couldn’t help but think of you, and how awesome you are. You’re just like that too – willing to help anyone and come alongside people to educate them, while (at the same time) looking at dominating the planet. It’s awesome that you do both so well concurrently. Others can learn than from you. One day I’ll get there too. But you can be sure I’ll call you up for advice much sooner than, you know… 🙂

Rebecca Gill

Rebecca – I love you. You’re so awesome. People truly don’t know how awesome you are. But that’s because they don’t know your history – from your childhood to your life before WordPress. If they did, they’d be impressed. But I won’t tell them because I don’t want to share you with a whole bunch of strangers. I prefer you hang out with our little group of strange and fun WordPress folks. While I love your fun side, it’s the professional side that challenges me (and yes, I know I still owe you homework and I’m still doing things wrong). Keep being awesome.

Sarah Gooding

Sarah – You and your husband are so relaxed. So chill. While I’ve enjoyed your posts on the Tavern (and they’ve been awesome, I shouldn’t move past that so quickly), it’s been the times of conversation we’ve had that have been the most fun (like Miami). What’s clear is that you’re not looking over my shoulder for the next person to talk to. You’re authentically there. Thanks!

Jeni Elliot

Jeni – I wish we talked more this year, because when we did, I walked away so happy. You’re so smart and so focused on helping people that I can’t help but be inspired. I’m hopeful we’ll connect in person again, and if not, at least by phone in 2015. 

Andrea Middleton

Andrea – I honestly don’t know how you’ve done all that you’ve done this year. I try to get a lot done each day (week, or month), and I felt lazy in comparison to you and your work – not just in the WordPress community, but then in the Wine community too (and why, may I ask right now, have we not had wine together!). Thanks for being so nice all the time. And thanks for all your quiet work behind the scenes. It’s so appreciated.

Chris Garrett

Chris – I swear, I just hit publish and you’ve retweeted an article of mine (related to the New RainMaker, no doubt). I don’t know if it’s automatic or a special talent, but I appreciate it. More importantly, I’ve appreciated your humor online. Thanks!

Jason Cohen

Jason – Recently I saw a tweet about an article you wrote and followed it. I read it. And I learned something. Oh wait, that wasn’t just recently. It’s been consistent over the last couple years. Thanks for your writing. And thanks for your work with WP Engine. It is one of my favorite companies ever.

Heather Brunner

Heather – You run one of my favorite companies ever. Seriously. I love how you’re building a team over there, how you’re getting them on the same page, and how you’re turning those shared values into actionable effort every day. Thanks for all you do, and for all your support this past year.

Sarah Pressler

Sarah – I know you’re not “in” the community right now like you were before – taking a break from the craziness of companies growing at breakneck paces, but that doesn’t take you “out” of the community. You’re still, by far, the biggest RTer I follow. 🙂 More importantly, you’re a person. One who cares. And everywhere you go, and everyone you interact with, becomes your mission to care for them. I appreciate that about you.

Mika Epstein

Ipstenu – I can’t talk about helping people without thinking about you and feeling like I need to write a 15,000 word post on just how awesome you are. You inspire people (by showing them how to do things), and you help people (by fixing things for them). Your speaking is great. Your writing is great. But it’s your personality that is so fun, warm and inviting that cause everyone around to want to hang out with you. Thanks for being so awesome.

Eric Mann

Eric – No question about it. You’re a smart dude. But I’m still waiting to get interviewed for (no, not 10up) your podcast / blog. Here’s what I appreciate most about you – it’s your constant desire to get better at what you do, and to want others to get better at what they do. Some people don’t see the motivation behind a tweet or post, but it’s your motivation that challenges and spurs me on to be better. Thanks.

Josh Eaton

Josh – I’m totally envious of how much you’ve traveled and seen the world. Let’s just put that out there. But I’ve figured out how to get past the jealousy to move on to the happiness of hanging out – like we did in Indianapolis. As smart at Norcross is, I think he’d tell me you’re just as (or more) intelligent. What I know is that I value being able to ask a question when I need to, in Slack, and have you or one of our other friends answer it. I’m glad our wives are starting to connect in their own Slack as well. Can’t wait to see you in person again. Thanks for a fun year.

Aaron Holbrook

Aaron – You love your wife and kids. That’s more important than anything else. You also organize a mean WordCamp. But that pales in comparison to your own value for personal development and your committment to your family. I just wish you lived in a warmer climate so we could hang out more than once a year in Chicago. Thanks for being awesome!

Troy Dean

Troy – I’ve told you before, if I had your looks and voice (actually accent), I could rule the world. Thankfully I’m not sure I would use my power for good and what I appreciate about you is that you use your powers for good. Keep helping others get better. 

Mark Forrester

Mark – What can I say? You’re a co-founder of a company that stepped into its second chapter with all the energy anyone could hope for. And it’s paying off! I’m so happy for you. And so glad we’ve gotten the little bits of time together this past year, including at WooConf (which was amazing). I look forward to greater moments of collaboration this next year!

Brian Bourn

Brian – You work to live instead of the other way around. And while I’m not completely there, I’m trying to get there. I love your inspiration and the awesome work that you and Jennifer produce. Thanks for being awesome!

Helen Hou-Sandi

Helen – In the year and a half that we’ve known each other, I’ve come to realize one thing more than anything else – your Spotify playlist is awesome! Ok, seriously, I love your work, no question. But I love your voice even more. Not the sound of it (though it’s fine). No, what I love, like Tracy, is the strength of conviction that you display. It makes me more confident (I know, hard to believe) to use my voice in ways that others aren’t always ready for. Thanks for that challenge and encouragement. And thanks for that playlist (R&B thing).

Carrie Dils

Carrie – It doesn’t matter what you’re doing, it’s always helpful and always funny. If I could pull it off, I would. But instead, I just cherish it. I have loved the fun we’ve had this year as we hung out together in places like Austin and Vegas (and a beach in Oregon). All three included meals where we laughed more than we ate. So fun! Keep being awesome.

Joost De Valk

Joost – We met in person in Europe but it felt like I'd been following you and your work forever. So great to get a chance to talk out on that balcony. And to have you there as I spoke the next morning – early when others were still asleep. Thanks for your support and your eagerness to connect. Thanks for introducing me to Matt Mullenweg as well. It got me a Jetpack t-shirt as well!

Matt Mullenweg

Matt – We got several times to chat in Bulgaria and San Francisco and each one was a lot of fun. Thanks for the opportunity to speak at WordCamp San Francisco and the chance to wear Jetpack t-shirts (which I have!).  Of course, the other moment we connected this year was when you sent traffic from your blog to mine. Clearly a surreal experience, but lots of fun. Thanks for all that you're up to.

Tony Perez

Tony – It’s hard to pick out which time this year we had the most fun. Europe is clearly in the top list, as we got to speak one after the other, and got time to hang as well (when your protection let me thru). Of course our late night chat in Chicago was also awesome. I’m so glad you’re writing more. Yours is a voice that needs to be heard. All that said, the invitation to see Minnie Mouse was the highlight for the whole family. Thanks you!

Daniel Espinoza

Daniel – If I had to wrap up the time we had in Europe, in New York, in San Francisco and on Slack, I’d say it boils down to this – you’re risk profile is the perfect mix of hard work, big leaps, and tons of faith. Exactly how I like it. I’m excited for all that is coming and I can’t wait to support it in any way I can. Thanks for your friendship this year!

Sara Cannon

Sara – How will I ever make up for the cigar lounge I took you to in Chicago? I can only say my intentions were in the right place. But at the dinner before that crazy place I enjoyed hanging out and talking. I continue to be amazed by your knowledge and work and look forward to seeing the next chapter of Range.

Katie Richards

Katie – I only knew a couple of folks when I arrived in Grand Rapids this year, and I was so glad to finally meet you in person. Thanks for your hospitality – sitting alone at an afterparty for hours would have been painful. I loved our conversation and I’m sure we’ll have more. So glad you’re connected to Melissa Lema – it’s clear both Brian and I married up!

Brian Richards

Brian – I’ve had the pleasure of several different moments this year where we’ve gotten to collaborate and have fun – mostly on WP Sessions, but now at Crowd Favorite too. I appreciate your work ethic, your commitment to keep learning, and your willingness to hear that your target market isn’t you. 🙂 Thanks for all that you’re teaching me.

George Stephanis

George – We’ve spent long hours this past year hanging out via hangouts – whether it’s the Bourbon Cooler or the WP Watercooler. In every situation, it’s been a blast. What I appreciate about you is how well-intentioned you and your work is (even if you’re building the plugin that will take over all plugins). In other words, you’re good people George. I really appreciate that!

Michelle Schulp

Michelle – You didn’t think I would write about Bourbon Cooler and skip you, did you? How could I? Your info graphics, PowerPoint slides, and art are epic, but it doesn’t compare to your commitment to calling any color Pink, especially that orange drink, so that it will match your clothes and hair. Seriously, I’ve really enjoyed hanging out at WordCamps, but this past trip to Vegas got us together for dinner which I enjoyed immensely. Thanks.

Sarah Wefald

Sarah – Without doubt, you’re the smarted Zeek employee who will soon be running the company (if not already by the time this is posted). I’m so glad you finally left the world of bands and stepped into our little corner of the world, if only so we can hang out even more! Always the voice of (sarcastic) wisdom, I so appreciate you. Thanks for being an amazing friend to Emily as well. She thinks of you as her friend, not mine. Something I have to fight regularly.

Ben May

Ben – Did you know, when we were hanging out in Cabo that we’d be working together? Can I confess that I did? Haha. I knew it even earlier – when you decided to tell the world I was wrong. Twice. It takes a certain level of courage, my friend. I look forward to a great year.

Shawn Hesketh

Shawn – Can I just say that our Indy500 trip this year was the best ever? Who knew we’d get cigar time and comedy? Ok, I did. But still. It was the perfect weekend and the only crappy part is that it was so long ago that I’m jonesing for more cigar time. Thank God we had Austin time to hang out too! But 2015 will be our year! I guarantee it. I’m so thankful for the care you put into your words and relationships, and am privileged to call you friend.

Brian Krogsgard

Brian – While I should be mad at you (you skipped Indy500), I can’t get there. Our trip last year to Cape Town was amazing. I’m so glad we got to add more time together in New York this year – sharing another hotel room and getting late night chats in. Of course your little stop in San Diego for dinner was also awesome. I’m excited to see what you do with Post Status – as I’m sure it will be a success, no matter what!

Matt Danner

Matt – We got more time together this year than I had expected – with meals at Fogo in Miami and that breakfast in Redondo Beach. It’s been a pleasure to hang out and I look forward to more time this next year. Pretty sure we’re going to need some “cabin” and “mountain” retreat time early in the new year! Looking forward to it.

Jennifer Bourn

Jennifer – Your talks are always fantastic. Your lego creations even more awesome. But that’s not what I appreciate most. Nor was it your sneaky approach to paying for dinner when we were together last. Nope. What I appreciate most about you is how hard you work – at both work, at empowering the women you work with, and at home with your family. That dedication to do all the things is impressive and inspiring at the same time. Thanks for being a friend!

David Henzel

David – That panel we got to do in Los Angeles was fun. Our time in Orange County was great too. But what I always enjoy is the time after or before, where it’s just a couple of us hanging out. Our dinner in Los Angeles (not attached to anything except Syed’s visit) was a highlight of the year. Your quiet German facade fools most, but not me. You’re seriously one of the funniest folks I know. And a ridiculously hard worker with systems for everything – which you know, I love. Thanks for your friendship.

Michael Bastos

Michael – A lot of folks like technology and technology platforms. Few are students of them as much as you are. You’re an old soul when it comes to technology – and I appreciate that. You’re not just looking forward, but also back, so that you don’t repeat old mistakes. And you’re doing it while building your new company. In your “spare” time you help manage the Advanced WordPress Facebook group, and the meetup in downtown. You’re truly amazing. This year I really enjoyed our time together at the OC picnic. Thanks for hanging out!

Patrick Rauland

Patrick – It was great seeing you two weekends in a row in San Francisco (for WCSF and WooConf). I’m so excited for your new role and how it will shape what WooThemes does next with its various products. Thanks for always listening, learning and challenging the status quo. Keep being awesome.

Jared Atchison

Jared – Cabo seems like so long ago, right? Way too long ago. But I won’t forget how you almost didn’t make it out of customs. And I’m sure you had trouble getting to the Indy500, right? Some plane issue – because isn’t there always a plane issue? 🙂 Seriously though, I know the last few weeks have been crazy with your little one, but I can’t wait to connect and spend more time together. I love your work ethic and dreams. Our times together have been a blast and I want more of them!

Siobhan McKeown

Siobhan – We had a great conversation in Miami but it feels so long ago. Since then we’ve hung out a bit in Europe and San Francisco. But we’ve still not eaten at an amazing restaurant together. Keep doing amazing work with Audrey and in the WP community and I’m sure we’ll get that meal next year!

Pippin Williamson

Pippin – We finally hung out and ate together in Miami & New York this year and both were blasts. My favorite time was collaborating with you on a particular post. It was a chance for me to give back to you after all that you’ve given to all of us, including me. Thanks for always being available, always answer questions, always being transparent. You’re a model for the whole developer community!

Dre Armeda

Dre – I’m still waiting for time to smoke a complete cigar with you – but we got a tiny bit of time together in San Francisco, which was awesome. I love what you’re doing at WebDev and look forward to more collaboration in the future. My pool is almost ready for you!

Brad Williams

Brad – Was it San Francisco, Baltimore, New York, Phoenix or Miami that was most fun? I never know if you’re remember our time together later, as you’ve likely had one or two by the time we connect. But I enjoyed our non-WP chat in New York, about boating. Of course our panel in Baltimore was a blast! Thanks for being a consistent voice in the community that helps others feel like all things are possible!

Carl Hancock

Carl – What can I say? I can’t write this entire post without letting you know how awesome all that tooth paste was! More than the actual tooth paste was the hilarious sense of humor that it demonstrated. We didn’t get nearly enough time in Miami together, but I’ll never forget it now! I can’t wait to connect in person again. Thanks for being a Spanish speaker, and for being a friend!

John James Jacoby

John – Much like Nacin, you’re incredibly approachable. I’ve enjoyed the moments we’ve had in Chicago and San Francisco to sit down and talk. The fact that you make yourself available, when tons of people want time with you, helps WordPress stay approachable. Thanks.

Mark Jaquith

Mark – If we’re talking approachable WordPress, then I can’t help but say thanks to you Mark. Just getting some time to chat – whether it’s at a dinner table in Miami at the SiteGround dinner, or on couches in Tampa – I’ve appreciated how easy it’s been to bend your ear. Thanks.

Tracy Rotton

Tracy – We didn’t get enough time hanging out in Miami, NY, or Baltimore. But I really appreciated you introducing me to your agency coworkers when I was in DC on vacation. I didn’t know almost anyone as I walked into that meetup, and it was fantastic to see a familiar and friendly face. Thank you for being so hospitable.

Alex King

Alex – I think we’ve spent more time together this year out of Denver than in it. But given that I’ve been there when it’s been cold, I count that as a good thing! I think my favorite moment this past year with you was in Miami when you asked me about regular expressions. I had a huge moment of terror before admiting to you that I sucked at them, only to find out they’re as much your nemesis. Thanks for welcoming me, this past year, into the work and business you’ve built. I really appreciate it!

Brandon Dove

Brandon – We had fun in Phoenix, Orange County and San Francisco. For a brief time we got to work together. While I understand you wanted something different, I hope we’ll still get more time to collaborate on things this next year. If not, we can still meet at Disneyland and grab another fancy dinner.

Cristi Rusu

Crisi – People don’t know that you’re the power and secret weapon behind Karim. But I know. And I’m so glad we now get to work together. Thanks for being such a diligent and hard working part of the team. I won’t forget our time in Phoenix last year, or this past year in Romania.

Heather Hogan

Heather – You won’t remember this, but we got to connect a bit in Phoenix this past year. I enjoyed our conversation so much, and am so glad you’ve found a happy spot with Bourn – creating a really amazing team there! I hope you have a great next year and I look forward to the chance to collaborate on a project soon.

Jason Tucker

Jason – If I’m thinking about our favorite moments this year together, I have to say our WP Cruise was a huge highlight, as well as our trip to Disneyland, and our picnic. In the end, it feels like we’re always having fun while also eating. Nothing I would rather be doing. Thanks for your partnership and friendship in all things!

John Hawkins

John – I just can’t pick from our times together this past year. Phoenix, Orange County, Tampa, Vegas? Ok, who am I kidding, the food in Tampa was insane! I mean, seriously. I’m so thankful for your friendship. I’m not saying anything new that you don’t already know but your authenticity is heart-warming and welcoming. Thank you.

Alex Vasquez

Alex – As I chronicle my favorite moments and memories of the year, I can’t skip past the moment when you walked into an upstairs room in our home and scared my wife. That was awesome! So was having you join me on a coaching call! But it’s watching you play with my kids, or having you talk at our meetup that was equally exciting. We missed you in Vegas this month, but I know we’ll catch up soon! Thanks for being awesome!

Pete Mall

Pete – I love every time we get together. Even if it means you’re convincing me to have more than one drink a night! I do it because I enjoy the time we have talking about more than just WordPress. Thanks for being a friend and for taking initiative to connect, even when we’re both busy. Our time in Vegas, and that meal, were highlights of my year. Thank you!

Jon Brown

Jon – I’ve loved your talks and you so much I’ve put you in my talks. But my favorite memories this past year was our meals together in Bulgaria. I can’t wait until we get to hang out in your neck of the woods in Maui this next year. Thanks for being an amazing and incredibly supportive friend.

Bill Erickson

Bill – Of all the meals this past year that I was unable to purchase, the one you held in your home was my favorite. Your hospitality took the cake for one of the most memorable experiences I had this past year. Talking with everyone, including your wife and non-WP friends, along with great food, and smoking cigars out back (under the largest patio tree ever) was incredible. Thank you so much! Looking forward to having you out here in San Diego again.

Ryan Sullivan

Ryan – Our time in Chicago stands out as it was a chance to find alignment. But it doesn’t top the charts, because between the two of us, we fed all the BeachPress folks the best Mexican food ever. Several times. Oh, and that sneaky move you make in Chicago to steal the check was masterful. Thank you for being such a great example of someone who works hard non-stop, not just because it’s business, but because you’re commited to helping people. You’re seriously so awesome.

Jeff Chandler

Jeff – Every time I join Late Night (your late hours Google Hangout), I get the chance to be interviewed by you (off the record). Those have been amazing times. Until, that one time, when you asked me a question and then walked away. ‘member? Or there was that time when you told us (in Miami) that you would rather save up to go to Pressnomics than CaboPress? You keep me humble. But seriously Jeff, what I appreciate about you is your humility. Your questions, be it on a hangout, in an official interview, in person, or on your blog posts, all start from that place of humility, which wins people over. Keep being awesome!

Mike Schroder

Mike – We got less time this year to connect than last year, but that didn’t stop us from catching up in Los Angeles after WordCamp. What I always appreciate is that your eyes say you want to be there. In the conversation. It’s an authentic welcoming that tells the other person (me in this case) that you’re excited to be talking. Our topics were all over the place, but I remember most of them (months later). Thanks for always being so generous with your time and energy!

Wes Chyrchel

Wes – I think my favorite times this year were our conversation in my living room about your new coaching programs and our time at WordCamp Los Angeles as we skipped some sessions. What I love most about you Wes is that you’re always bringing energy to what you’re doing, yet constantly remaining calm. I’m not sure how you pull it off, but I love being around it. Thanks.

Ben Fox

Ben – It’s been a fantastic year for you and Bart and I’m so glad to have been a part of it. I especially enjoyed the conversations we had at WordCamp Los Angeles as  you prepared for some of the largest deals you’ve done to date. I’m proud to say I knew you guys when few people did. Keep up the great work!

David Bisset

David – The WordCamp you organize (now, don’t go telling anyone else) is my favorite. I love the people, location, and organization of WordCamp Miami. Yet you never quit. You don’t give up. Every year you work on making it better. I love that attitude – a learning posture that isn’t happy to do the same thing more than once. I have no idea what 2015 will look like, but I’m positive that I’ll be wherever you are, participating in another event you’ve designed. Thanks for your friendship this past year and your welcoming spirit!

Tomas Puig

Tomas – Remember when you were in charge of marketing? I do. Now you’re doing something else entirely. But it doesn’t matter because our best times haven’t ever been focused on work – they’ve been focused on our drinks and cigars, and the conversations we’ve had while enjoying them. Thanks for finding great spots to enjoy – whether it’s for dinner or afterwards. They’ve been amazing memories all year long!

Jeff Zinn

Jeff – Thank you for having me, once again, at WordCamp Orange County. And for the Sunday Business track, which was incredible. I really enjoyed every one of our interactions, including the short time we worked together at Crowd Favorite. As I told Brandon, I hope we get to do that again, in some capacity, but even if we don’t, at least we can grab time on Skype to connect, or head over to Disneyland again for a great meal!

Scott Basgaard

Scott- Our conversations in Miami were too short. Thankfully we got more time as the year progressed. Nevertheless, watching you pull together another WordSesh was amazing and I was fortunate enough to be available for this one (without needing to cancel like last year). Thanks for being so inviting and interested in having me participate.

Josh Strebel

Josh – the highlight of my year is normally Pressnomics. But this year it was taking you to dinner at Seasons 52 in Costa Mesa and watching your feeble attempt to pay for a meal halfway thru the meal (as if that would ever work). Seriously, Pressnomics is my favorite event each year, and I’m excited to be there again. Thanks for your friendship and for the work you do to create the event!

Magnus Jepson

Magnus – We missed each other in Chicago, but thankfully we got some time in San Francisco for WooConf, which was amazing. I also got you to sit in my car – that was fun. Every time we connect, I laugh – including the trip you made to San Diego where Alex could meet Melissa. Thanks for being so awesome!

Brian Gardner

Brian – We missed each other when I was in Chicago, because it always falls around Father’s day, a baseball competition, or a birthday. But that hasn’t stopped us from connecting online. This year more than any other, I’ve watched you test and try various things, and I’ve felt like I’ve been learning from your risks. Thanks for being courageous and willing to try things in public.

Jake Goldman

Jake – I joked that I could get you to blog more (by writing an opposing view), but as you’ve agreed with me on more things, your blog has gone dormant – a truly sad thing for the community. But I know you’re busy. In the little time we had together recently in San Francisco it was great to catch up. It’s always great to hear you share your insights like in NY, and I look forward to hearing you again in 2015.

Brianna Norcross

Bri – You’re the best. That’s really all there is to it, right? I mean, who can take a rolling pin for pie crust and see it as a weapon as fast as you? Our time together at the Indy500 and again in Tampa for dinner was fantastic. You make all of us step up our sarcasm and one-liner games, and I (for one) appreciate it!

Andrea Rennick

Andrea – I end where I started. You were the first person I heard speak at a WordCamp, and the first person I spoke to (in Chicago). We got a tiny bit of time to catch up in New York, but not nearly enough. Again, a tiny bit of time in San Francisco. But we have one of your quilts here at the house and each time I see it, I smile. I also smile when I think of your you/Rebecca Gill stories, and you and your daughter sitting next to each other as I spoke at SF. Mostly, it’s your laugh. It makes me laugh. And makes me happy. And for that, and a great year online, I thank you!

Did I forget a meal, a conversation, or a special moment? I’m sure I did. I’ve been writing this post for three days. It’s easy to forget something. Plus, didn’t I mention I’m old?

Here’s my point.

Each of you, every single one of you, including the folks I didn’t write about, are awesome. And I’m thankful for each of you.

I hope your 2015 is filled with joy. I hope it’s amazing. And while 2015’s mantra won’t be “Create shared memories” like it was this year, I hope your next year is filled with more shared memories.

As for me, I’m focusing on collaborating for growth. And I’m hoping each of us gets a chance to work together in the new year.

Take care.

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Chris Lema
Chris Lema has been working with WordPress since 2005. Over the years he's been a blogger, a speaker at WordCamps, a coach for WordPress product companies, and the founder of the conference for WordPress business owners, called CaboPress. Today he's the VP of Products at Liquid Web, where he manages the world's first managed platform for WooCommerce stores.