Marked Up & Styled

We held the third gathering of the Markup & Style Society last night (a local Boston-area meetup for web geeks that Ethan Marcotte and I started a while back). This one was different and contained more awesomeness, for a variety of reasons.

The kind folks at Filament Group hosted the event at their downtown Boston studio. The incredibly generous Freshview donated 18 pizzas, beer and wine for all 50 attendees. Freshview are makers of Campaign Monitor, the popular email newsletter campaign app, as well as creators of useful tools and resources for newsletter designers. Thank you thank you, Freshview.

Adobe donated two copies of CS3 Web Premium that we raffled off along with a few books at the end of the night. So we knew at least two people would go home happy no matter what happened.

Markup and Style SocietyWhile previous meetups have all been about beer and socializing, we may have surprised people with four short talks. A free, mini conference if you will. Ethan gave a brilliant presentation on some tricks he’s enabled in his freakishly bulletproof, fluid layout (Ethan’s write-up). I rambled on about “Gridlasticness”: taking an em-based approach to a strict grid. Josh Porter talked about craftsmanship as it relates to the web — a topic near and dear to my heart. It was sprinkled with “right on” moments and quotes like this, regarding the Shaker design philosophy:

Don’t make something unless it is both necessary and useful, but if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful.

Scott Jehl closed the show with an excellent talk on how progressive enhancement plays a big role in the projects he tackles at Filament Group. Read more about Filament’s process over at their newly launched lab (Filament’s Maggie Costello Wachs’ write-up).

All in all, ’twas a great night, and it made up for seeing just one single panel at SXSW just days earlier. We’ll have to do it again soon. Blatently tooting our own horn here, Patrick Haney dug it, evidenced by his tweet:

Really felt like I got more out of the four short talks tonight at M&SS than I did at a week of SXSW

Thanks to the speakers, sponsors and especially Filament for the venue. We’ve also been planning on adding more formal workshops or full day conference-style events to the mix in the future. New England needs more of this, methinks. Stay tuned.

Update: Jenny Bergman has posted some wonderful photos of the event. Thanks, Jenny!


  1. Scott Frazer says:

    As a first time attendee and new to the world of web development, I had a great time meeting people and learning about what’s going on in the world of web development.
    Great work, I look forward to another one!

  2. Nick D says:

    If only I didn’t live in California! These meetings seem to be shaping into a really useful event. In the past, I’ve attended user group meetings for a few different topics, and yours seems like it blows all of those out of the water!
    If they really did end up turning into an all day event, I would definitely consider flying over for one. Maybe I could even get work to pay for it!

  3. Jeremy Milani says:

    Sounds like a great event. The first one was fun, but I like the thoughts behind version 2.0
    And i know Boston’s just a quick car ride away, but I’d love to see more of these events in NH.

  4. Arthur Lawry says:

    I think I speak for everyone when I say… “fimply ftupendous”

  5. Jeff Blaine says:

    It’s too bad we can’t see/hear the presentations. I’m particularly interested in Ethan’s and yours.

  6. Christopher says:

    Sounds fantastic, really wish we had something like this in Southern California.

  7. Oh man! I really wish I was there. I thought I had confirmed my attendance but I didnt which was disappointing for me. Next time, I’ll make sure. Dont even know what happened but you guys rock! This event seemed to be very educational as well as fun. Good job Dan!

  8. Jake Harvey says:

    The talks were a welcome addition. Thanks to you and Ethan for organizing the meeting. The drive back to Connecticut was a little gruesome this morning but there are no regrets to attending.

  9. It was great seeing all my peers again (having missed SXSW this year).
    I’m glad Pat put it in perspective for me.
    I had a great time and enjoyed the talks which didn’t shy away from digging into specifics and all in all it seemed like a very educated crowd.
    I enjoyed myself. Thanks!

  10. Shawn Kinneen says:

    What a great time I had last night!! I was a bit shy around these incredibly web-savvy folks but many just walked right up and started chatting. The talks were wonderfully entertaining and educational. I left feeling a bit humbled but most definitely inspired.
    Thank you thank you Dan and Ethan for putting the event together. You’re right, Dan. NE does need more of this. This New Englander can’t wait until the next one!

  11. Scott Jehl says:

    It was a great time for sure. Can’t wait for the next one!
    If anyone is interested, we posted our slides here:
    Thanks Dan!

  12. web says:

    You and Ethan have outdone yourselves yet again .. I don’t know how you can top that. Maybe an petting zoo or pony rides?
    It’s always great to meet fellow Beantown Braniacs .. cheers to all. After SXSW and M&SS I think I am going to sleep for a week.

  13. Jeff L says:

    After driving down from NH for the first two meetups it was disappointing to miss this one, but the 50 person limit and the fact that it was so close to SxSW combined meant that I just couldn’t make it.
    @Jeremy Milani, there are some of us in NH who are working on getting more events like this. Please contact me if you’re interested….
    Also note that Josh Porter has been doing meetups in Newburyport as well, which might work out for you depending where you live.
    Regardless, it’s great to see the community come together for events like this.
    Dan, maybe you and Josh can work things out to hold the next Markup & Style in the Newburyport area rather than Boston to help some of us northern folk? If you’d like to encroach into NH I work in Portsmouth and live near Manchester so I’m willing to help however I can.

  14. Adam Fortuna says:

    When I saw the title of this group, the first thing that came to mind was the Finer Things Club from The Office. It looks like a great event though, keep it up!

  15. rob larsen says:

    definitely interested in attending the next one. Glued to my keyboard I forget how many interesting folks are in the area. I went to one a JavaScript Meetup a couple of weeks ago and that was fantastic- lots of really interesting folks. this sounds like just the thing to satisfy the other half of my job description.

  16. greg.newman says:

    I first saw your tweets about this meetup and now I’m envious. Sounds like a good time with a lot of great information shared Dan. Thanks for providing links to some of Ethan’s write-up.
    It’s fantastic that you guys were able to get so many sponsors on-board. Congrats to that.

  17. I’m sure I would have echoed Patrick’s sentiments had I attended. Plus, I could really use a copy of CS3!
    Oh well, next time.

  18. Next time I will not relinquish my spot to someone who had the gall to then tease me from the event with her brand new iPhone.

  19. Any thoughts on making the Markup and Style site something more than an announcement page? Maybe add something like CSSBeauty’s Skillshare and job listings with a local focus?

  20. peter says:

    Sounds like an interesting event. Wish I was there!
    However, your flickr photo shows only 17 pizzas, not 18. Please explain!

  21. Was it a deliberate choice to create an acronym that reflects the abbreviation of the state you’re in? Because I think that’s awesome.
    I also like the idea of markup and style being treated as if it were a religion; one where you attend M&SS to further your journey as a person of the webernets.
    I’d go to M&SS over Mass any day.

  22. Greg says:

    Road. Show. Please.

  23. Josh says:

    Searching tickets from Cincinnati to Boston area … $100. Not bad. I’ll have to try and make it to one of these shindigs next time you’ve got one.

  24. Dale Cruse says:

    It was a great time and I look forward to the next one!

  25. Rustin says:

    Must agree with Greg. A Southern California contingent awaits your arrival.

  26. Jason Robb says:

    It was an awesome time, thanks again.
    The talks were definitely a surprise. I was elated though, it really made my day.
    One thing I’ve never seen, is free pizza and beer at a conference (big or small). Wow, M&SS know how to do it.

  27. I honestly meant what I said about getting more out of Thursday’s event than I did at SXSW. Your presentations were engaging, entertaining (you and Ethan both know exactly how to put a little humor in your slides), and very useful. I’m tired of SXSW panels and all the “fluff” they contain. I want to see process, examples, and code, even if it’s just a few minutes worth.
    Thanks again for putting this together guys, and thanks for the Foamee t-shirt. The Cork’d shirt was getting a little worn out.

  28. Jared says:

    I second the road show idea. Well, technically, I third the road show idea. Washington, DC can really use something like this.

  29. Andrew says:

    Couldn’t make this markup meetup and knew I’d miss out. Dam! Sounded great.
    Micro Conferences sounds like the wave of the future. An event around one topic for one day or half day.. and beer. The big conferences tend to be allot of what you don’t need.
    “New England needs more of this, methinks.”
    Dan – Does this mean you’re going to appear at AEA Boston? We need your local flavor and markup insight.

  30. brian says:

    hey dan! How about an ical/google cal for these events? i missed it but coulda gone – just cant keep up with my feeds!

  31. mike says:

    put me in the “bummer i wasn’t in the first 50″ crowd. driving down from manchester NH would be worth it for the socializing alone; moving back to the east coast and going freelance leaves me with only my cats to talk to all day!

  32. Greg Mayer says:

    Has no one looked at the Markup & Style Society site in IE6?

  33. @Greg: Answer: No.