I’m Running for the W3C Advisory Board

As many of you know, I’ve been involved in the push for web standards for the better part of two decades. I caught the bug early and have been advocating for their use in pretty much every article, book, talk, and workshop I’ve created. I’ve also had the great pleasure of helping run the Web Standards Project (WaSP), a group whose impact on the web cannot be understated.1 And so, when a handful of my colleagues reached out to see if I’d consider running for the W3C Advisory Board, I was… well… speechless. What an honor it is to be nominated, especially out of the blue like that!

You can read my nomination statement on the W3C site, so I won’t spend a lot of time rehashing that. What I will do is make a brief case for why I think I would be a valuable member of this particular board.

I’m a web developer whose heart belongs to standards. I may work for Microsoft in Developer Relations, but I started building stuff for the web in 1996 and never stopped. I’ve worked on sites for every kind of business you can imagine—from small mom and pop shops to huge international conglomerates and everything in between. I’ve also held just about every role you can in web projects, from strategist right through to front and back end dev, where the rubber meets the road.

I think this experience, especially when coupled with my current position at Microsoft—which affords me a lot of time to listen to the challenges faced by the web design and development community—will enable me to bring an “in the trenches” perspective to the W3C. Rachel Andrew provides similar guidance as Fronteers’ representative to the W3C and I relish the opportunity to work with her again2 in this capacity. I honestly wish there were more web designers and developers working within the W3C and my goal is to give voice to their concerns and champion their ideas.

I’m a diplomat and a pragmatist. Over the years, I’ve participated in varying capacities for a handful of boards and committees. I’ve chaired small town committees (e.g., the Energy Use Task Force in Hamden, Connecticut), been the co-president of a state political party (Green Party of Connecticut), run homeowners associations, and, of course, led the Web Standards Project, to name but a few. In all of these roles—and in my consulting work—I’ve learned how to manage personalities (and politics), set expectations, and get folks to rally together to achieve common goals.

Anyone who knows me will tell you I am incredibly diplomatic. Perhaps more soo than is warranted sometimes. I believe everyone should be heard, but I’m also unwilling to allow individuals to dominate conversations and drown out other viewpoints. I value diverse opinions and appreciate people who challenge convention. In all interactions, I look for common ground and shared goals. I don’t shy away from uncomfortable conversations and have no problem disagreeing with someone, but I will always do it in a civil and respectful way.

While idealistic—especially when it comes to the web and standards—I’m also a pragmatist. I want to understand problems from multiple angles and use that knowledge to know which battles are worth fighting and when compromise is necessary. And I always seek to build consensus, which is the W3C way.

I’ve got experience in non-profit work. You may not realize it, but the W3C does not actually exist as a legal entity. It’s currently in the process of changing that and becoming a non-profit corporation. The Advisory Board is overseeing that process. When I lived in Connecticut, I helped form a non-profit corporation. I’ve also got experience in grant writing and other non-profit related work. I think I could be a real asset in that regard.

If you can vote in this election and think I’d make a good member of the Advisory Board, please vote for me. If you can’t vote, but know someone who can, please encourage them to read this and consider voting for me. I’d be ever so grateful for your help.

Thank you!

  1. Most of the truly impressive and important work was done by the folks who founded the Web Standards Project. I can’t take credit for more than a handful of our activities, but I was honored to have played a bit role in its history. ↩︎

  2. We worked together in the Web Standard Project. ↩︎


  1. I don’t have a vote but I wholeheartedly endorse Aaron.
  2. I can’t think of a better person. 👍👊🏼
  3. Me too… That’s why we decided to nominate the awesome @AaronGustafson for the job. 👍
  4. I can’t think of a better person for this role. So excited about this, and proud to call Aaron a colleague. twitter.com/aarongustafson…
  5. You’re a perfect choice for this role, good luck :)
  6. He really is.

    He will be an excellent voice to the advisory board.
  7. "Post: I’m Running for the W3C Advisory Board"

    @aarongu working on what he is good at.
  8. Mr. Gustafson has been active in helping push the web forward for so long as an individual. I support making it official.
  9. Awesome! All the best. No one deserves it more :)
  10. I'm thrilled to learn that @AaronGustafson is running for the W3C Advisory Board. He will do a fantastic job. I have no idea who votes for this, but if you have a vote, I encourage you to consider Aaron. aaron-gustafson.com/notebook/im-ru…
  11. Aaron has already been a most positive influence and guiding light for some of my thinking in all things web for many years.

    It could be beneficial to us all for @AaronGustafson to be on the @w3c advisory board - I really hope this happens. twitter.com/aarongustafson…


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