It’s incredibly sad that Christopher Schmitt passed away last week¹. I keep thinking about how Christopher was one of the best dudes I knew. Just incredibly kind and thoughtful all the way through. I know everyone says that about people after they pass, but I really mean it here. I’m sure we all know people that we like quite a bit, but hey, we know they can be an asshole sometimes too. Not Christopher, at least not to me. He was always good to me in ways I’ll never be able to reciprocate.
Here’s the most important thing:
We (a group of developer friends) would like to build a site of memories that people have of Christopher. We have our own, but we’d like to collect as many memories from as many people as possible to make this a true memorial to him. If you have one you would like to share publicly, please submit it to this little site just for that.
I hardly know where to start reminiscing about Christopher. Broadly: I spoke at more conferences thrown by Christopher (and Ari) than anyone else. At least a dozen. He used to throw one called In Control in Orlando that I spoke at a number of times and met some early web friends that I’m still close with today! Stephanie Rewis mentioned to me that’s where we met the first time and she remembers me coding away on a yet-to-be released CodePen while there. In Control went to Hawaii one year, along with the first-ever CSS Dev Conf, bringing me to Hawaii for the first time in my life, where I remember driving around the island with Daniel Burka. CSS Dev Conf went all sorts of amazing places, and I went to all of them! Estes Park, New Orleans, The Queen Mary… all these incredible locations that were all incredible memories for me.
And all I have are blurry, distant photos of him like this:
Christopher and Ari also ran an absolute ton of online conferences. CSS Summit, RWD Summit, SVG Summit… they ran a ton of them and they were really ahead of their time. I remember a funny moment where I had just moved to a new city and my internet wasn’t installed yet, but I still had to present online at one of these, so I did it out of my neighbors garage (as their kids slept), and the light in the garage kept going out because it didn’t detect movement. 😬
The people I met through Christopher are too many to count. He was a great connector in that way. His influence on the web was tremendous through his direct work, like writing (what, a dozen books?), blogging (even here!), speaking, and podcasting (e.g. The Non Breaking Space Show) but when you consider the people he brought together, his influence is immeasurable.
I literally made money off the guy. In the early years of ShopTalk, when it was tough to sell podcast spots at all, Christopher would sponsor every episode of ShopTalk, which probably gave us the boost that ensured it’s still happening today. Who knows what would have happened without that.
One of the things I liked best about Christopher is that he was a damn nerd. Through and through. In a way that made you envious that you could one day hope to up your nerd level that high. Guy had a Chewbacca costume that he wore regularly. His Instagram is full of snaps of him meeting other famous nerds.
I hope you still got those black Converses on wherever you are, buddy.
(And remember, if you have a memory with Christopher, please share it.)
- It wasn’t COVID-19. Poor guy was dealt bad cards from day one for his health and he fought it the the best he could.