Introducing the Web Performance Today podcast

I’m very excited to announce the launch of a project that’s been in the idea phase for more than a year, and actively in the works for the past couple of months: the Web Performance Today weekly podcast. (Note the link to the podcast index at the top of this site.)

I’m a huge podcast fan. I’m a regular listener of This American Life, Planet Money, A Prairie Home Companion, Rich Eisen, Dot Net Rocks, and Wiretap, to name just a few. There’s an immediacy and energy to podcasts that you don’t get from a blog post. Last year, I started thinking how cool it would be if we could take the kinds of fascinating conversations that happen in the hallways at Velocity and put them out there for everyone in our community to hear.

So this fall, spearheaded by Marie Clavel, Strangeloop’s heroic VP of Marketing, we rounded up some recording gear, lined up interviews with some of the biggest movers and shakers in our industry at Velocity EU, and kickstarted this baby.

Today, it seems only fitting that we launch the series with interviews with Patrick Meenan and Stephen Thair.

Without Pat, our industry would be a very different place. As you probably already know, he was one of the key people behind the development of WebPagetest, one of the first synthetic performance testing tools. I don’t think I’m exaggerating when I describe WebPagetest as revolutionary. It opened a lot of people’s eyes to the fact that real-world performance in no way reflects the ivory tower experience that most of us have while sitting in our cushy data centers, and it was instrumental in helping create a necessary sense of urgency in our community.

Stephen Thair is working hard to create this sense of urgency in the UK and Europe, which have historically lagged behind North America when it comes to performance. In addition to running his own performance consulting business, Seriti Consulting, Stephen also heads up the Web Performance Meetup Group in London, sat as a member of the Velocity program committee, and organized the inaugural London WebPerfDays unconference that followed Velocity EU this year.

I know a lot about the performance space, but it was gratifying to sit down with Pat and Stephen and realize there’s always more to learn. I hope you enjoy listening as much as I enjoyed chatting with both of these smart, interesting, funny guys.

I’ve got more great guests coming up each week in the months ahead. Happy listening.

Edited to add: I’ve already fielded a few questions from people wanting to know if the podcast will be available on iTunes. That’s in the works. I’ll keep you posted.