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Not everyone has the patience to learn in this indirect manner, however. Others simply lack the time. So as a public service to the Web, a Traffic research team has closely studied Siegel's site in order to distill the nine basic principles of auto-mythology it teaches. Here are the fruits of the team's labor:

1. Be Remarkable
Ambition, presumption, and persistence can take you far, but it never hurts to have at least a modicum of talent to fuel such motive forces. While Siegel isn't exactly the "master of all trades" he purports to be--witness the plodding prose style of his journal entries--he is a somewhat talented graphic designer. His work plainly shows his influences, and yet it's not without innovation. Tekton, the now-ubiquitous Adobe typeface Siegel mid-wifed in the late '80s, may seem like nothing more than a computerized reproduction of architectural lettering, but when he initially got the idea for it, the concept of casual-looking digital type didn't even exist.

In addition to his design skills, Siegel is a dogged advocate for better HTML tools and standards. His latest effort is an essay called The Balkanization of the Web; stretches of it read like a B+ senior thesis, but it does offer a few interesting observations and some informed suggestions. If you're not very familiar with the Web but you'd like to be, you may consider it a worthwhile source of information.

By designing a visually distinct site when not many existed, by becoming a gadfly for better Web design tools, Siegel made his site notable. When it turned into a relatively popular attraction, the stage was set for him to deploy his next eight rules...

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