Brent Simmons remembers a few conversations with people at conferences and trade shows long ago. Maybe you can help track down who the people were.
I did the same thing with Jeffrey Zeldman at my first SXSW. I was so nervous I couldn't approach anyone. Eventually I tagged along with some folks and ended up at a party where Jeffrey was—and then I gushed like he had invented HTML, browsers, and erasable pens. Ugh. But he was really nice about it.
Anil, thankfully, approached me and began introducing me around as "That File Pile Guy". The rest is history.