Whether you’re a web performance expert, an evangelist for the culture of performance, a web engineer incorporating performance into your process, or someone new to the web performance entirely, you probably identify as curious, excited about new ideas, and always learning. We at Rigor respect many web performance leaders around the world. Here is our (ever-growing!) list of those who are making a significant impact on speeding up the web today. (Plus, at the end, a few bonus Twitter handles to round things out.)
Presented here alphabetically by last name:
Rachel is the Editor-in-Chief of Smashing Magazine, a British web developer, writer, and speaker. She is the author of a number of books, including Get Ready for CSS Grid Layout , The New CSS Layout, and The Profitable Side Project. All together, she has written 23 books as a solo or co-author since 2002. Rachel is also one of the people behind Perch, a PHP content management system (CMS). Check out her writing about business and technology on her own site at rachelandrew.co.uk, and follow her on Twitter @rachelandrew, where she tweets about CSS, tech topics, and much more.
Colin Bendell is Senior Director of Analytics and Strategy at Cloudinary (CTO Office). Before joining Cloudinary, Colin was a part of the CTO Office at Akamai, managed infrastructure and operations at a Uranium mining company, and owned an automotive wheel repair shop. Colin is a researcher, writer, developer, educator, speaker, author of many technology-related articles, and full stack developer. In 2016, he co-authored a performance book that teaches the complexities of bringing high-quality images to end-users: High Performance Images: Shrink, Load, and Deliver Images for Speed (co-authors: Tim Kadlec, Yoav Weiss, Nick Doyle, Mike McCall, and Guy Podjarny). Throughout Colin’s career, his experience and talent have spanned many industries, including finance, high tech, mining, healthcare, and even real estate, but his passion is performance, scalability and collaboration. Do not miss the latest episode of The State of the Web, where he and Rick Viscomi discuss the state of images. You can also catch Colin on Twitter @colinbendell.
Currently the GVP and GM of New Relic, Buddy has nearly 20 years of leadership in the product and web performance space, taking the helm at companies like Akamai, SOASTA, Compuware, and Gomez. A software engineer, product manager, and RUM entrepreneur at various points in his career, Buddy has been helping some of the largest sites on the web solve their performance challenges since 2001. He’s an influential and engaging speaker (YouTube talks). Check out his recent talk on Taking The Guesswork Out Of Performance Budgets or his interview with Billy Hoffman from The Best In Performance series, where he discusses the evolution of RUM and synthetics. Besides being a Web performance entrepreneur, Buddy is a CrossFitter and a NASCAR fan, in his own words. Follow him on Twitter @bbrewer for information about his upcoming speaking engagements as well as his most recent insights on the performance industry.
Rick is a software engineer on the Google Chrome team, “leading an effort to make the web just work for developers.” He shares information about UX issues and the latest news from Chrome, with a web performance slant. Follow him on Twitter @RickByers and be sure to watch the video of his conversation at Chrome Dev Summit 2016, where he discussed the ways Chrome is “improving predictability for developers.”
Paul is a principal web performance architect at Akamai Technologies, and he’s been helping enterprises improve the performance of their web applications for more than 15 years. Find his research and analysis on the HTTP Archive Discussion forums. For evidence of the scientific beauty (or beautiful science) of web performance and optimization, be sure to read Paul’s blog, where he provides web performance tips and writes about the latest trends. Check out his how-to videos on his YouTube channel as well as his performance related dispatches on Twitter @paulcalvano.
Sergey is a principal engineer at Meetup and a well-known performance educator who regularly runs monthly hands-on Meet4SPEED events in New York City. He has also hosted the NY Web Performance Meetup, which boasts over 5,000 members, since 2009. (That’s right – NY WebPerf is 10 years old! Developers representing hundreds of companies work together at these meetups to become masters in performance metrics and the latest trends in measuring site speed.) Sergey is an open source developer, tireless educator on performance topics, and author of many web performance-related tools, including ShowSlow, SVN Assets, drop-in .htaccess and more. He is known for speaking at conferences such as Velocity and Akamai Tech Day, as well as various meetups for performance-minded developers. You can follow Sergey on Twitter in two spots: @sergeyche and @nywebperf.
You may remember performance engineering leader Cliff from his The Best In Performance interview, in which he covers how web performance experts can gain buy-in for their initiatives across an organization. With experience at vendors like SOASTA and Akamai, as well as the customer-side like Walmart, Cliff has a unique perspective on the importance of speed as it relates to user behavior and business ROI. He tweets updates on the industry with a healthy dose of humor, politics, and memes at @cliffcrocker.
Author of the Pocket Guide to Web Performance and co-author of Using WebPageTest, Andy is an independent web performance consultant in the UK who has helped many leading retailers, newspapers and financial companies make their sites faster. He is a co-organizer of the London Web Performance meetup. You can find Andy sharing insights about how to build business cases, assess website speed, and troubleshoot performance issues at andydavies.me, on SlideShare, or on Twitter @andydavies.
Tammy is a true Ottoman Woman in the Web Performance Empire. She focuses on the intersection between web performance, UX, and business KPIs.The CXO at SpeedCurve, she is a well-known speaker and a (co)chair at performance conferences. Tammy is the author of Time Is Money: The Business Value of Web Performance, which covers the ways that page load speed affects business metrics, drives performance metrics, and connects to the human neurological process. Follow @tameverts to stay updated on all her upcoming speaking engagements and articles.
An author, an educator, and a speaker, Max is an independent consultant in the mobile and web space. His most recent book, Hacking Web Performance, walks the reader through improving performance from initial load and data transfer to resource loading and the overall user experience. His keynote address from O’Reilly Fluent 2017, Reflecting on 20 years on the web, is a must-see. Most recently, he launched a fantastic new HTML5 Mastery… course. He writes about Progressive Web Apps on Medium as well as on his own website. You can follow Max on Twitter @firt.
Vitaly is a co-founder of the Smashing Magazine brand. He served as the Editor-in-Chief of Smashing Magazine until October 2017 when he passed the baton to the remarkable Rachel Andrew. Vitaly specializes in front-end development, performance optimization, and responsive design, and he has made an epic contribution to the performance industry in addition to many other technology and design-related spaces. First, Smashing Magazine is a giant resource full of the most useful, practical, and beautifully crafted front-end and performance-related content. Additionally, all Smashing books include content dedicated to performance optimization – you must own the gorgeous Smashing Book 6: New Frontiers In Web Design (which includes Yoav Weiss’s performance chapter on Loading Assets on the Web). Finally, it’s hard to get a few world-class speakers for any conference, but SmashingConf got them all – Scott Jehl, Tim Kadlec, Harry Roberts, Brad Frost, Philip Walton, Jason Grigsby, Ilya Grigorik, Jeffrey Veen, Jeremy Wagner, Jenn Simmons, Drew McLellan, Jeremy Keith, and of course, Vitaly Friedman himself, to name just a few. As a digital nomad, Vitaly travels all over the world giving inspiring talks and leading top-flight workshops at tech conferences. You can catch Vitaly on Twitter @smashingmag.
One of the top players in web performance, Ilya is a web performance engineer at Google, co-chair of the W3C Web Performance Working Group, and author of High Performance Browser Networking. You’ll find his articles, initiatives, and speaking engagements on his website, and you simply must read his writing about web optimization for Google and watch nearly 50 of his presentations on YouTube. And, of course, you should follow him on Twitter @igrigorik for in-depth insights on web performance metrics, user experience, and industry news.
The co-founder of CloudFour, Jason has a deep background in website and application development and has worked on projects including the Obama ’08 iOS app and Walmart’s responsive design. He was also the founder and president of Mobile Portland, where he started the first community device lab. He is the author of Progressive Web Apps and co-author of Head First Mobile Web, and his work has helped define web standards for responsive images. Find his writing on progressive web apps, responsiveness, and mobile-first design across the web, and follow him on Twitter at @grigs.
Patrick is a London-based software developer who specializes in web performance and who describes himself as enjoying “working the entire stack, back-end to front-end, CDN to server.” Currently a Principal Software Engineer at Fastly, he previously helped architect some of the world’s largest media websites. You can find him on Twitter @patrickhamann or catch him on the speaker circuit. Be sure to download the slides from his recent presentation at O’Reilly Fluent, To push or not to push? The future of HTTP/2 server push.
For over 15 years, Billy has spoken internationally at conferences and written two books on how to build fast and secure websites. Originally a punk hacker, Billy first worked as a web security researcher, innovating new ways to both attack and defend web applications. After seeing companies struggle to find and fix frontend performance issues, Billy left HP and founded Zoompf, a web performance optimization company acquired by Rigor in 2015. As CTO at Rigor, Billy spreads the message of creating strong performance cultures and building performance testing and validation into your development lifecycle through blogging and hosting The Best In Performance interview series.
Over a 20+ year career, Rich Howard has honed his expertise in web performance by working with clients like Sephora, Vodafone Group, and Williams-Sonoma. He’s currently the CEO of Optimal, the agency he founded to help brands measure, manage, and optimize web performance, and he also works closely with Rigor as a trusted partner and resource. He’s a prolific speaker who has appeared at conferences like Akamai Edge World and MeasureCamp, taking an in-depth approach to a wide range of performance topics in his sessions. Be sure to check out the Optimal blog, where Rich writes about critical issues like how to optimize performance in China and performance testing in a CI/CD environment. Don’t forget to watch his “The Best In Performance” interview, in which he discusses best practices for peak-load readiness from a UX perspective. Follow him on Twitter at both his personal handle, @flowlabs, and his business account, @thisisoptimal.
A widely recognized thought leader, speaker, educator, and web evangelist in the performance industry, Paul is a front-end developer working on the Google Chrome team. You may know him from such tools as Google Lighthouse, Modernizr, CSS3 Please, and HTML5 Boilerplate, or as the former host of the yayQuery podcast (which, while defunct, still contains some great tidbits within its 23 archived episodes). His articles for WebFundamentals are not to be missed. He tweets about Chrome initiatives, open source tools, and performance news @paul_irish.
Scott works at Filament Group, whose clients include the Boston Globe, LEGO, Global News Canada, and eBay. Scott wrote Responsible Responsive Design and co-wrote Designing with Progressive Enhancement, and he has spoken at An Event Apart, SmashingConf, and Performance.Now(). He is an active participant in the open-source community, releasing projects on GitHub that focus on accessible, sustainable, and performance-oriented practices for cross-device development. Check out Luke Wroblewski’s synopsis on Scott’s talk “Move Fast and Don’t Break Things.” Outside of tech, Scott is a top-notch surfer and runs a local surf report called Surf30a.
Tim is much more than “an independent web performance consultant.” He’s a world-renowned speaker and the author of some of the most valuable books in the web performance space, including High Performance Images and Implementing Responsive Design. He keeps an updated archive of his blogs, articles, speaking engagements. Tim has been a speaker at conferences such as Smashing, TechSEOBoost, Performance.Now(), and many more. Follow him on Twitter @tkadlec to get the latest on web performance as well as tidbits about what he’s reading and information about his upcoming talks.
Tatiana Mac is an independent interactive art director and designer currently based out of Portland, Oregon. She works directly with organizations to build clear and coherent products and design systems. She believes the trifecta of performance, accessibility, and inclusion can work symbiotically to improve our social landscape digitally and physically. You could say that Tatiana is a designer and a speaker, but you’d be missing the bigger story. Tatiana thoughtfully discusses important issues about ethics and inclusivity on the speaker circuit. Don’t miss her incredible talk from the Performance.Now() conference “How Privilege Defines Performance,” and be sure to follow her @tatianatmac.
Slack is Rigor’s real-time chat room and the main method of communication and sharing information. That’s why we had to mention Mina, senior front-end engineer at Slack, Sasstronaut, and a truly rare gem in technology. Mina is an educator, public speaker, and co-organizer of Front Porch, a conference for front-end developers, designers, entrepreneurs, and managers. She also teaches for Black Girls Code, and she founded the Dallas chapter of Girl Develop It and DFW Sass. Recently, Slack launched a major update to its web and desktop without any new features or a new UI but it loads now 30% faster, and Mina was a huge part of this development. Be sure to follow her on Twitter @MinaMarkham.
A legend, a technology veteran, and one of the forefathers of web performance – Patrick Meenan. From AOL and Google to Cloudflare and most recently Facebook, he’s been involved with the top web companies as a software engineer who makes performance a priority. Patrick’s talks are all over YouTube and he tweets as @patmeenan. Patrick created the popular open source WebPageTest web performance measurement tool, runs the free instance of it at WebPageTest, and can frequently be found in its forums helping site owners understand and improve their website performance.
Barry is a professional software developer who has nearly two decades of industry experience developing and supporting software and infrastructure. He has a keen interest in web technologies, performance tuning, security, and the practical use of technology. He’s also the author of HTTP/2 in Action, a complete guide to HTTP/2. (Check out the story behind this wonderful book.) You can find Barry blogging at tunetheweb.com or follow him on Twitter @tunetheweb.
Harry is an award-winning consultant performance engineer from the UK. With a client list ranging from the United Nations to Google, the BBC to the Financial Times, he has helped some of the world’s largest organizations make their websites faster. He is also a Google Developer Expert, sharing web performance research and findings, and a Performance Ambassador for SHIFT Commerce, where he aims to make ecommerce faster from the inside out. He writes about all things front-end performance at csswizardry.com, speaks at tech events all across the globe, and regularly shares his insights at @csswizardry.
Doug is a freelance mobile performance expert, a popular speaker – particularly on the topic of web tuning and image optimization – and the author of High Performance Android Apps. He blogs regularly on both Medium and his own site about making the web faster, often with a slant toward image processing and optimization. He tweets about both personal (travel, photography) and professional (web performance) topics @dougsillars.
How can you optimize the performance of a site without understanding the impact of CSS? Jen Simmons (@jensimmons) is a master-level designer and developer advocate at Mozilla and a member of the CSS Working Group. She’s done design work for Google and the W3C and has had clients ranging from Mark Boulton Design to the Annenberg Foundation. She’s also a public speaker who has appeared at conferences such as An Event Apart, South by Southwest, and SmashingConf, Jen became widely known by the entire web development community when she launched her podcast, The Web Ahead, which she exclusively hosted and produced until 2016. Check out her YouTube channel “Layout Land,” where she covers web layouts that mix fixed, content-sized, and fluid layout.
What can we say? Steve Souders. The godfather of the web performance movement, educator, speaker, the author of the most essential books in the industry, High Performance Websites (which was #1 in Amazon’s Computer and Internet bestsellers in 2007) and Even Faster Websites, and the co-author of Web Performance Daybook Volume 2.
Steve is the creator of many performance tools and services including YSlow, HTTPArchive, Episodes, SpriteMe, ControlJS, and Browserscope. He is the co-founder the Firebug Working Group, was co-chair of Velocity, and now is co-chair at performance.now(). Prior to SpeedCurve, Steve was Head Performance Engineer at Google, Chief Performance Yahoo!, and Chief Performance Officer at Fastly. You can follow Steve on Twitter @souders or watch his talks on YouTube.
Rick is a senior developer programs engineer at Google, the host of “The State of the Web,” as well as the “steward” of HTTPArchive and Chrome UX Report. Rick is also a co-author (with Andy Davies and Marcel Duran) of Using WebPageTest. Would you like to be a part of Big Data and this incredible project? Here you go: Intro to BigQuery and HttpArchive. In Rick’s own words, “he works towards a faster, better web for everyone.” He’s an absolutely invaluable resource for any performance-minded engineer and a must-follow on Twitter @rick_viscomi.
Philip Walton is a senior developer programs engineer at Google working on Chrome and the Web Platform. He’s given talks at various conferences and meetups including Google I/O, CSSconf EU, CSS Day and many others. He writes articles on GoogleDev site as well as on his own site, philipwalton.com. Recently, his focus has been on Service Worker tooling, leading the team that builds Workbox. Philip has been doing web development professionally for almost 15 years, on both large and small teams. He authored and contributed to numerous open source libraries and tools that help developers use the best parts of the web today, and tweets as @philwalton. And he is an excellent photographer.
One of the top must-follow performance leaders in the industry, Yoav has done hundreds of talks at conferences such as Velocity, Performance.Now(), and SmashingConf. You can find many of his talks on his GitHub (Who’s afraid of the big bad preloader?). Previously, Yoav worked on mobile web performance as a principal architect at Akamai Technologies. In 2018, he joined Google’s DevRel team to work on Chrome, web standards, and, in his own words, “fixing this web performance thing once and for all!” Throughout the years, he has contributed to the Chromium project and authored many articles on performance-related blogs, including his recent effort for the W3C Resource Timing project. In the amazing Smashing Book 6, he wrote section 6, dedicated to Loading Assets On The Web. He also co-authored High Performance Images. Yoav tweets @yoavweiss.
Luke is currently a product director at Google. Earlier, he was the CEO and co-founder of Polar (acquired by Google in 2014) and the Chief Product Officer and Co-Founder of Bagcheck (acquired by Twitter in 2011). Prior to founding start-ups, Luke was an Entrepreneur in Residence (EIR) at Benchmark Capital, the Chief Design Architect (VP) at Yahoo!, Lead User Interface Designer at eBay, and a Senior Interface Designer at NCSA: the birthplace of the first popular graphical web browser, NCSA Mosaic. Luke is the author of three popular web design books (Mobile First, Web Form Design, and Site-Seeing: A Visual Approach to Web Usability), as well as many articles about digital product design and strategy. He is also a consistently top-rated speaker at conferences and companies around the world, and a co-founder and former board member of the Interaction Design Association (IxDA). Luke also founded LukeW Ideation & Design, a product strategy and design consultancy, and he taught graduate interface design courses at the University of Illinois. Last but by no means least, he originally coined Mobile First (here’s the book!). Find him on Twitter @LukeW.
Honorable mention goes to Twitter handles that represent web performance organizations or conferences where web performance is valued:
- Akamai Technologies @Akamai
- Chrome Developers @ChromiumDev
- Chrome UX Report @ChromeUXReport
- Cloudflare @Cloudflare
- Cloudinary @cloudinary
- Facebook Engineering @fb_engineering
- Fastly @fastly
- Firefox Developer Tools @FirefoxDevTools
- HTTP Archive @httparchive
- Google Developers @googledevs
- MDN (Mozilla Developers Network) @MozDevNet
- Microsoft Edge Dev @MSEdgeDev
- Perf Matters Conference @perfmattersconf
- performance.now() conference @perfnowconf
- Smashing Conference @SmashingConf
- Smashing Magazine @smashingmag
- Twitter Engineering @TwitterEng
Are we missing anyone that you consider an influencer? Do you agree or disagree with our list? Leave us a comment, send us a tweet, or email Alla Gringaus, Performance Solution Architect at Rigor (email@example.com) – we plan on keeping this information up to date and welcome your feedback! (And don’t forget to follow us @TeamRigor!)
Special thanks to Marla Blair (firstname.lastname@example.org) for her invaluable assistance with this piece.
To learn more about the Rigor digital performance management platform, reach out for a free trial.
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