An Opportunity Apart

Jason Ogle
4 min readMar 24, 2017

Right around the time Tonya Harding was putting a hit out on Nancy Kerrigan’s knees, I was discovering that I could hold a conversation on a computer in a chat room with somebody on the other side of the world.

America Online was the first democratized method for the public to get online and although you had to suffer through the most annoying sound in the world to do so, most of us were willing to brave that and 2400bps (beard growth slow) to get online.

Right after the charm of chat rooms and coming up with creative screen names like “PoopChute7” wore off, I discovered AOL’s Personal Publisher that allowed me to create my very own personal web page!

I was enamored with the fact that I could create a web page using design and code and anyone in the entire world could see what I had created with just a few keystrokes.

It was love at first site.

From that moment on, I was on a relentless quest to learn everything there was to know about building websites. In my quest to learn HTML–I, like many others at that time stumbled upon a certain fellow’s work. The fella’s name was Jeffrey Zeldman.

Fast-forward 14 years later (2008), I’m working at MySpace in Beverly Hills at the height of its popularity, and an opportunity opens up for me to attend a web design conference started by Jeffrey Zeldman and Eric Meyer called An Event Apart in San Francisco.

Having followed Zeldman’s work for years, and also having been a part of Eric Meyer’s early CSS email group where I learned so much about CSS, I was totally star-struck when I got to meet them in person for the first time at this amazing web design conference.

Fast-forward seven years (2015) and there I was trying to figure out how to follow in Zeldman and Meyer’s footsteps, and finally give back to a community that’s been so good to me.

I decided to start the User Defenders podcast where I eventually got to interview two of my design superheroes Zeldman and Meyer themselves.

The Opportunity

Fast-forward a year and a half (40lbs and a soul-patch lighter), I open my email just after the new year (2017).

I see something from Eric Meyer with the subject line of User Defenders and AEA Denver on it.

What I thought at first was a geo-targeted PSA about my favorite web design conference coming to my town for the very first time, ended up being an invitation to record a live episode of User Defenders podcast there!!

Needless to say, I can’t tell you the sheer amount of excitement, joy and downright humility I felt at this opportunity apart.

I even have my own discount code they generated that I’d like to extend to anyone wanting to attend this very special edition in Denver or any other AEA’s this year. You can use coupon code AEAUD at checkout to save $100!

In Closing

Being able to record a live episode at my favorite design conference truly is a dream come true.

This sounds so cliche, but dreams really do come true, and more often when you set out to serve others and help them get where they’re going.

I highly recommend it!

“You can have everything in life you want, if you will just help other people get what they want.” — Zig Ziglar



Jason Ogle

Host of User Defenders: Podcast. Human. Designer. Story-Catcher. Deep-Diver. Husband + Father x 7. Has a personal relationship with the Creator of the Universe.