I read a lot of websites to keep up on all of my geek news, but luckily the web is filled with “internet celebrities” who have helped shape and inform my “internet worldview”. It’s interesting that as I was compiling this list I realized that everyone who’s on this list is either self employed, or has created their own start-up. What does that say about me?

I think it might indicate that I’m a cowardly entrepreneur.

I have great ideas, but I’m not willing to quit my day job to pursue them, and I wish I could do what these guys (and gals) are doing.

If I were five years younger I’d do it, but with a wife, a kid, and another on the way, I have to be a little cautious right now. Lance Howard, my financial adviser has this in our plan for five or so years down the road (when Char’s back in the work force), and maybe then will be the time where I do something crazy. After all, 40’s the new 30.

Heather Armstrong – Dooce
The internet’s cautionary tale. It’s because of Dooce that I watch what I’m writing, although I’m gettng a little looser with what I let out there since my corporate overlords at CTV no longer pull my puppet strings, but I still guard a few things. Heather is funny, witty, and entertaining, something we all need a little more of in the day. I have to say that if I could pattern my writing style after anyone it would be Dooce’s. Heck, if there’s one “internet celebrity” I could have a beer with, it would probably be Heather.

Leo Laporte – TWIT
To me the first and last name in tech. Listening to Leo’s podcasts makes me smarter. I can answer things off the top of my head, I know the latest tech news, and I’m always ahead of everyone else at work because of my Monday morning obsession with TWIT. Windows Weekly gives me enough info on the Windows side of things to allow me to hold my own in Windows conversations, and alerts me to new stuff before it comes to pass.

Dave Shea – Mezzoblue
While Eric Meyer got me into CSS, it was Dave Shea who turned me into a convert. The CSS Zen Garden is still one of my favourite resources for inspiration on the internets (yes, all of them), Mezzoblue isn’t updated as much as it used to be, but when it is there’s sure to be a bon mot or two that I appreciate.

Merlin Mann – 43 Folders
Organization is not my strong suit, but this site really helps me out and I’ve made huge strides because of this site.

Jeff Gerstmann – Jeff Gerstmann is still alive
I love watching new businesses take off, when he got let go from GameSpot Jeff Gerstmann went out and started Giant Bomb, which is a really cool idea, and with his “How to build a Giant Bomb” video casts, he and Ryan Davis have given a really cool look inside of how to build a “best of breed” online business.

Jon Hicks – Hicksdesign
Jon Hicks’ design really speaks to me, I’m not sure why, but I love reading about his process.

Veerle Pieters – Veerle
Funny that I thought Veerle was a dude for the longest time (and that “he” just had a cool banner with a girl on it), I don’t think gender matters when it comes to design, although as a guy I find it much harder to create feminine designs as I found out when I was at Alliance Atlantis. I love Veerle’s style,

Jonathan Snook – Snook.ca
A fellow Canuck, Jonathan was invaluable to me at TSN, and we shared some email correspondence when I was struggling with my initial CSS / XHTML implementation back in 2005. He’s really bright, and writes some great stuff. I owe Jonathan a beer.

Tycho and Gabe – Penny Arcade
Sometimes you just gotta have a little fun. If I could quit my job tomorrow and do something, this would be my dream job. Three times a week these guys update their website, and in the middle of all that they’ve built an amazing little corporation with prints, t-shirts, books, a charity, and a video game series. That’s amazing. I’d like to buy these guys a cocktail or two just because they’re good people.