Great People to have on a Web Development Project

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

Monsters, Inc. (2001)

There seem to be an endless number of lists of the 50 or 100 best social media marketing people coming out. Nearly all of them are made by an algorithm – number of tweets, frequency of mention with a particular keyword or hashtag, number of connections. It’s fun to be on one of these lists. Some of the people on these lists should be listened to. But the people making these lists often don’t know the people on the lists.

Making lists can be a lot of fun. For me, one of the coolest lists to build is your dream team. A friend of mine recently was handed a death march, impossible project, a good budget and the opportunity to build his own team. Man, I love projects like that. These aren’t projects for random freelancers and contractors. This isn’t your B team. These are the best of the best.

A little known secret among the people I chat with a lot on social media is I’m not in marketing. I’m a tech guy. I build stuff and manage teams of people building stuff. In my career of working with tons of companies, big and small, old and new, in just about every industry you can imagine, I’ve been involved in taking the vague ideas and drawings people have made and turning them into websites with lots of interactivity and functionality. When I’ve been fortunate, I’ve been able to reach out and assemble my own crew. It has the feel of Oceans 11, The Expendables, etc when you get the chance.

Ocean's Eleven (2001)

Ocean’s Eleven (2001)

Great team members have to be able to think on their feet. They have to be able to figure things out, to ask clients questions, and to work with what they have. Rarely do you have the luxury of starting from scratch. You need smart people who know how to figure out what’s going on and can work with what they have.

In the spirit of lists of the best of the best, here’s my list if I were handed a good budget, a tight deadline and impossible goals. Basically, a great project.

In no particular order…

John Jesus Principal Software Engineer at Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems
One of the smartest guys I’ve ever met. Also amazingly humble and personable. He’s worked with horrendously abusive clients with me, and was never anything other than sympathetic and friendly. He knows a tremendous amount Linux, PHP, Java, Drupal, SQL, middleware and who knows what else.

Nicholas Garofalo  WordPress Marketing Tech at
A super nice guy who laughs in the face of the impossible, he not only knows a ton about Drupal and WordPress, he knows how to communicate clearly with clients and know what people want.

Fred Tranfield
Fred can help you with most of your web development needs, but where he really stands out is with CSS. A lot of people know how to apply styles, but few know how to clean up CSS, consolidate it, and make it a fraction of the size. I saw Fred take thousands of lines of CSS and make it actually cascade! It was code as poetry when he was done with it.

Mike O’Connor Technologist
When you hear Mike you hear organized plans. There are no disorganized thoughts that just float out. And when it comes to complex development projects with Drupal, Mike is the sergeant who will break down your strategy into dozens of tactical steps, then lead the effort himself. He’s one of the guys who started Commerce Guys, the company that makes the de facto e-commerce solution for Drupal.

Christina Graf  Graphic Designer
Christina is a great designer and artist and overall creative thinker, but those qualities are often assigned to designers. She and I worked together for an investment bank as contractors, and I saw her consistently do fantastic work in a soulless, abusive, environment with little or no direction other than most of what we want is forms, and we only want you to use blue. This is a person who can work in a chaotic environment doing great work, even if what she’s asked to make seems mundane.

Andreas Ferenczi  Director Technical Architecture at American Express
A brilliant Java developer (even before Java was really stable) and leader who never lost his cool.

Joe Sclafani Executive Director at J.P. Morgan
Joe managed the team I was on at a mutual fund company. People joked about a neighboring group that they had a turnstile. People would leave on their first day at lunch and never come back, not even for their stuff. By contrast, when Joe left the company 16 people followed shortly after. He could have ordered us to storm a secured hill with fixed bayonets and we would have.

Jason Sauser Senior Director, Quality Assurance and Automation at Ralph Lauren 
We were deep into a project with zero progress in development and a lot of unfounded assurances from the developer, who had done nothing. Jason stepped in, mastered the obscure platform in short time and saved our bacon.

Bryan Lee Group Planning Director, Marketing Strategy at Huge
Bryan doesn’t just hand down order from on high, he gets down into the details and helps and figures out. We worked really closely, and I was astounded at his humility and willingness to help out in execution and verifying that things were working properly.

Eric Baesel Creative Mind behind Baesel Media Group
Eric blends tons of experience in video and brand building with a gift for listening to you and getting really excited about what you’re doing. When he talks about a brand I feel like it’s the next big thing.

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Reservoir Dogs (1992)

Adam Kuhr Assoc. Creative Director/Copywriter
Some copywriters are moonlighting novelists. Adam is dedicated completely to copywriting. He jumps in with enthusiasm and expertise for ads for fun consumer projects, as well as content rewrites of B2B products that you might think would put you to sleep. He’s thorough and dedicated and writes with a passion.

Paula MajerowiczChief Solutions Architect and Founder, eCoreXperience, Inc.
Paula knows more about membership associations and usability and experience than just about anyone you’ll encounter. Blend that with someone who will patiently listen, ask the hard questions and jump right into whatever needs to be done and you have someone I’ve enjoyed working with a great deal for years now.

Jerome WalfordOwner, The Blue Griffin
Jerome is easy to get along with and work with as well as being a great designer and accomplished artist.

Shawn Van EveryResearcher, Professor, and Interactive Media Consultant
Shawn is creative, innovative, and not afraid to take on industry transforming projects where he’ll have to learn as he goes. A super nice guy and a pleasure to work with and hang out with.


developer, writer, speaker

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