This is a new series of posts I am starting, tying in with things I’ve been saying in presentations and at interviews lately: I think it is time we mixed the speaker circuit up a bit and hear from different people than the “rock stars” of web development.
In this series I will talk about people I very much enjoy following and had great experiences witnessing as presenters or colleagues. Hopefully it’ll inspire some conference organizers to consider them and you to have a lookout for them.
First up is Nicole Sullivan, which is the name of her real life mild-mannered self.
On the web she is known as Stubbornella and writes a lot about performance, image optimization, CSS maintenance and other things that are both highly technical and very related to the grey area of web development that is the blurry border between design and engineering.
Nicole is right now writing on a book about image optimisation together with Stoyan Stefanov one of her partners in battling those extra bytes clogging the web. Together they built Smushit, a ridiculously useful tool to optimize your images without changing their visual quality. She used to work in Yahoo in the exceptional performance team and was a large part of the research team that brought the best practices for images and CSS when it comes to performance.
Nicole gives presentations both in English and French and has a wonderfully pragmatic approach to her work. While a lot of performance presentations can be highly technical, academic or deal with edge cases, Nicole keeps her “down in the trenches web developer” hat firmly on that curly head of hers and gives advice you can use immediately and get a result for your sites. Want proof? Check out this video of her speaking at the internal Yahoo developer summit:
I’ve seen Nicole several times, been with her at Paris Web and The Ajax Experience and can safely say it’ll be cool to have her share her wisdom with more people out there.