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30: Dan Denney, Part Two: Sending 1,000,000 HTML Emails for Code School and Memories from Front-End Design Conference

Published 3/27/2015

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Dan Denney is a wealth of knowledge, and in today's episode, he's joined me to share some of that knowledge with you. Dan is an HTML email craftsman at Code School. On today's episode, we talk all about HTML email and Dan's experience with Front End Design Conference. Make sure you follow Dan on Twitter: @dandenney. Full show notes can be found at https://developertea.com

Transcript (Generated by OpenAI Whisper)
Hey everyone and welcome to Developer Tea. My name is Jonathan Cutrell. I'm your host and today I have the pleasure of speaking with Dan Denney. This is of course the second part of the interview. If you missed the first part, make sure you go back and listen to it. We talk all about HTML email. So if you are writing HTML email, that particular episode might be of great value to you. Dan happens to send out HTML emails to about a million addresses when he presses this send button. So he knows what he's talking about. And in fact, Dan is creating a course on HTML email building HTML emails. And that course is for code school. And in fact, that's where Dan works. So he's he's writing these HTML emails for code school. And he's creating a course on code school about HTML emails to teach you how to do that. So go follow Dan on Twitter and you can watch out on my Twitter on at Developer Teato see any more news about when that course actually goes live. But in this episode, we actually talk about a little bit about the conference that Dan began and organized called front-end design conference. And Dan shares some memories from that and also gives you a little bit of advice. So I hope you enjoyed the second part of the interview with Dan Denney. A few years ago, well, first of all, let's talk about something for a second. You and I actually worked for fuel together for a little while. And I remember very little about that part of my life because I was in college. So Dan and I have known each other for a while. And it's interesting to me, I heard a listen to Shop Talk and I heard you say that back in 2009, you were basically you were convinced that you weren't going to be able to contribute a lot to to the industry in terms of code, like in terms of open source and that kind of stuff. And so instead, you decided to create a conference, which to me, I feel like it takes a lot of guts to to step out and say, you know what, I'm new to this industry, but I'm going to create what ended up becoming one of the leading conferences for front-end development called front-end comp. So first of all, that's awesome. I think that's just such an inspiration because a lot of people who are just starting out have no idea what to do. And they do feel like their code is going to be subpar. So thank you for creating front-end comp. I'd love to hear a story from you about front-end comp, maybe one of the coolest moments that you experienced while you were leading that. Oh, alright. So there are a lot. If I had to, if I had to divvy up, I could probably do a whole show and wonderful moments from front-end comp because I've just met and had so many wonderful experiences with people throughout the years. But I would have to say it was actually in the last one in Portland. And that was when we were shutting it down. The response was just so huge. And Matt Graham and the people at a sparkbox got together and put together a site basically as like a front-end thank you. And this was to thank us for having run the conference for all these years. And it was attendees and speakers. And everyone got together and created this site. It was like front-end thanks.com. And it was just amazing. Like it was my wife and I were both like hit hard really emotionally with that. That's really cool. That's awesome. Yeah, I remember seeing that actually when it came out. And that's just such a cool moment because you know, I think we forget that the web development community, it's big, but it's not so big that we can't all kind of be friends. You know, there's a lot of people that are connected quite personally. And so you know, if and that's another thing about about the front-end comp story from you starting out, you reached out to people who were kind of like giants in the industry. I'd love to know kind of how that process went because you're coming in brand new and and you know, I think a lot of people who are new in this industry it's very difficult to gain confidence because it's not typical. We don't have a regular like climbing the ladder ability in this industry. You know, it's hard to place yourself. It's hard to know where you fit. And so how was it when you first started contacting these people that are considered kind of the giants of the industry? So I had been learning from everybody for a year and I had my list of regulars shows that I listened to and sites that I visited regularly. And it was one of those things that I was new enough still that I just didn't know I couldn't do that. So like it was just a matter of it was it came in a couple of tiny wins. So the first win was it was crazy but you know like the community was smaller than and like Chris Coier was actually following me and like that didn't make a whole lot of sense in 2008 but there was all these sites where you could follow you know the other web design people in the community. And so he was following me and I had seen him share that he had just talked to a classroom, a high school classroom in Wisconsin. And so it was right around the time that I was thinking about doing this. And so I DMed him and I was like hey I saw you talk to a classroom. If I put together a conference would you be interested in speaking at it? And so I had my list of other people that I wanted to do but him responding and it has short you know time and then also being very positive about it. That was it. It was just like now it has to happen. I have to yeah Chris was on the show and he is I mean I was I felt the same way when I first had Chris come on Developer Teaou know it's like he's very responsive and just a very awesome guy. I think he's representative though of a lot of people in this industry who are open to communicating with with younger developers or they're open to things like this like you coming on the show. I mean you just directly responded to me. It was really cool to have that ability to reach out to people and it's kind of an interesting different kind of industry you know I think I think in other industries like if you were to try to reach out to I don't know like a New York Times best seller author you're gonna get most times you're gonna get like a secretary responding and saying that they have no time for you you know and that's just not the case apparently in this industry maybe some are that way but as far as I've experienced web developers are relatively approachable. Oh absolutely and I think sometimes we forget that a little bit because you might get a little bit of the you know like Web celebrity vibe or something like that you know it just seems like that but they're truly not all I meet all of the time at meetups and conferences are very approachable people who are just human they're just like us and like when you're talking to them they're just as nervous nervous just for the reason that they're talking to another geek in a room which is just a really cool thing. Yeah we're all in this together you know I had a I hope this guy's listening I had a guy reach out to me on Twitter and give me a pretty harsh critique today about confidence he was saying that basically that he didn't enjoy listening to the show because everybody seems kind of timid and I'm like you know what I kind of like that I actually like that we're all sort of tiptoeing in some ways but we're really confident in other ways like when I sit down to write code I'm totally confident in that code I have no problem showing it to people I have no problem actually sitting down with another developer and explaining it and I think that's that's kind of an insider's club right like not everybody can do that. Yeah we all have very very different skills and that was like one of the things that I you know was able to contribute back with the conference because I was not and still am barely at the level that I can contribute regularly back to the community. Sure yeah well I think that you're going to be contributing pretty significantly with the course on HTML email I know I'll be interested in seeing what it's about I know that it's probably more mostly for people who haven't done much of HTML email to begin with but I'm assuming that code school is a great place to go not only for beginners but also relatively seasons Developer To learn new things as well especially if you're looking to learn a new language code school will allow you to learn in the browser now just to be completely clear code school is not sponsoring Developer Teaat all I'm not like trying to pitch you guys because I'm getting some kind of kickback right now but I really do think that that idea of lowering the barrier to entry we talk about learning on this show a lot I think that one of the most important parts to learning is the actual step to get started so once you are sitting with a code editor in your face and you're ready to learn something that is a prime position to be in and the faster you can get there the better and I think code school is a great way to get there very quickly would you agree yes very much so awesome well Dan I appreciate your time thank you so much for being on the show I have one more question for you if you had 30 seconds to spend with a developer whether they are beginner or if they're advanced in their career what would you tell them to to help them become a better developer to lots of work do lots of work yes and that doesn't even take 30 seconds that's five seconds that's three seconds that would that would be it just do lots and lots of work I think that's a good theme that we can that we can pick up on and it's it's coming through through most of our guests do lots of work build websites as Chris Coyer says on shop talk build lots of websites get out your code editor and edit code just you know I think a lot of people they ask these questions how do I become a better developer the number one answer every single time that you're going to hear on Developer Tea is do the work get out your code editor and edit some code Dan thanks so much for your time and I hope to talk to you again soon thank you very much Jonathan and thank you for listening to Developer Teathis has been my interview with Dan Denney of course if you missed the first part make sure you go back and listen to that Dan shares a lot of great information about HTML email which he has a course on and if the course has released by the time this show comes out I'll put it in the show notes but if not make sure you follow Dan on Twitter as well as Developer Teaon Twitter that's at Developer TeaI will definitely be posting a link to Dan's to Dan's course on code school if you're enjoying this show please consider leaving a review in iTunes that's the best way to help other developers just like you find the show my goal here on Developer Tea is to provide value to you as listeners I want to help make your lives better in every aspect especially for those of you who are developers and if you are experiencing that value if you are finding this show to be valuable for your life why don't you consider supporting this show by going to DeveloperTea.com front slash donate now I know not everybody can do this but for those of you who do find the show to be valuable enough to support it I appreciate your donation incredibly so if you want to join that that group of people go to DeveloperTea.com front slash donate even the smallest amount is a big deal to me thank you so much for listening to the show and until next time enjoy your T