2011 In Review: Startups, Modernizr and Equality

2011 has come and gone; parts of the world are already tiredly and tirelessly living in 2012, whilst some, like myself, are wrapping up the day in preparation of tonight’s festivities. 2011 has been quite an exciting year for me, but I’m even more excited about the upcoming one.

My 2011 started with a new U.S. work visa permitting me a more permanent return to America, where I started as Product Designer for Apture. Ten months and two big releases later, Apture was acquired by Google. I left the company shortly beforehand, however, to work on the next big thing for myself. Early next year you’ll see what that’s all about.

This past year I also spoke at various conferences and events, and I hope to do even more of that in 2012. It’s been a fantastic year for the web industry at large, and I thoroughly enjoy helping people understand, as well as learn more myself about, all the new tools, tricks and techniques for building the next generation of websites and applications.

Modernizr

One such tool is the JavaScript library I started over 2,5 years ago: Modernizr. This past year had several major events on the Modernizr front: in January we launched the beta of 2.0; in June Modernizr 2.0 went live along with a complete website redesign, and in November Modernizr won its second .net award for Open Source App of the Year.

We of course aren’t sitting still, but I want to thank the team—Paul Irish, Alex Sexton, Ryan Seddon—and all of our many, many contributors for their great work on making the library better and better. What’s in store for next year is something you’ll find out eventually, but we have awesome plans for taking Modernizr to the next level again!

Equality

Those who follow me on Twitter or read this blog frequently already know that I’ve become very vocal about equality in our industry and society in 2011. I’ve always been passionate about it, but it wasn’t until this past year that I truly got to see how unacceptably unfair our society is structured, and took action.

Acknowledging and, consequently, combating the uncomfortable truths we ignore every day was not just an eye-opening experience. It was a journey that helped me become a significantly better person overall, and though I still have much to learn I consider myself lucky to have come this far already. For 2012, I plan to do even more work in this area, focusing in particular on resources to help our collective field further towards true equality.

Some highlights from my own writing about equality, women in tech and sexism this past year:

Next, some thoughts from other that hopefully inspire you to make (even) more of a positive difference in 2012:

“too little self-policing”
Jason Thibeault (unwittingly) nails it for essentially all communities online.

“You are awful, too.”
Kate Harding with a fantastic breakdown of one of the most common misconceptions brought forth in this debate.

And finally, the most inspiring ad I saw in 2011: