Apr 05 2016
Apr 05
In June of 2015 I wrote a blog post on information architecture and user-centered design that discussed creating a content inventory, writing for the Web, focusing on page layouts and navigation, and conducting user testing.
Apr 04 2016
Apr 04
Today we’re pleased to announce the public beta release of our updated user interface (UI) for Acquia Cloud.Our goal is to create a UI that offers a level of automation that developers need to be efficient. We’re doing this by reducing and eliminating the times you’ll have to jump between pages, whether you're switching environments, moving between code, databases, and files, or monitoring your website's health. Now it's all on one page.
Apr 01 2016
jam
Apr 01
How does the Instant Runoff Voting system actually work? How could we make the Board elections better for the Drupal community?
Mar 29 2016
jam
Mar 29
Each day, more Drupal 7 modules are being migrated to Drupal 8 and new ones are being created for the Drupal community’s latest major release. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling some of the most prominent, useful modules, projects, and tools available for Drupal 8. This week: Search API.
Mar 29 2016
Mar 29
Web services and APIs (application programming interfaces) are hot topics among Web developers -- for two good reasons.Many developers now want to expose content and features on their site via Web services or APIs.It's getting easier to take advantage of these services. Drupal 8, for example, now has this capability in core. And some contributed modules are attempting to make it even better.This is why Acquia and Palantir.net, the Chicago-based Web strategy, development, and design firm, have been working together on a Web services series.
Mar 28 2016
Mar 28
Recently I had a customer ask me how to tell Drupal 8 to display certain blocks conditionally, based on whether or not the node page being viewed referenced certain taxonomy terms. In Drupal 7 I would have recommended the Context module for this, but as it’s not yet ready for Drupal 8 I had to go looking for other options.My search led me fairly quickly to the brand-new Block Visibility Groups module, which aims to provide the same sort of conditional block visibility functionality that Context provides, but in a manner that integrates more closely with the core Block UI. It works well, but doesn’t natively provide support for basing visibility off of node field data (such as taxonomy term references). However, since Block Visibility Groups uses the core D8 Condition plugin type to define its conditions, all that’s needed is to implement a custom plugin to get the desired behavior. Here’s how it works, from start to finish:
Mar 26 2016
jam
Mar 26
I spoke with Matt Dooley and Colin Packenham at Acquia headquarters in downtown Boston about Acquia's tech bootcamp program, Acquia U. Both are career changers and were more or less new to Drupal when they got started with the program and I was interested to see what motivated them to make the change and dive into Drupal headfirst.
Mar 25 2016
Mar 25
This is Part 2 of an interview with Will Eisner, Senior Director, Product at Acquia. Will’s primary focus is on Acquia Cloud Site Factory, which helps organizations create and manage many sites, from a dozen to thousands.In Part 1, Will discussed how companies often discover, to their dismay, that they are running hundreds of Web sites, on many different platforms. In this section of the interview, Will describes how Site Factory addresses that problem.  The interview was conducted by DC Denison, Senior Editor, Technology, at Acquia, who is represented by the letter “Q.”
Mar 23 2016
Mar 23
As the organizer of the Washington, DC Drupal meetup for three years, I've had the benefit of finding out what works and what doesn’t when setting up a meetup. Although I recently had to step away from my organizing duties due to other commitments, I'd like to provide a retrospective on what I've learned from organizing meetups. My goal is to help those who want to set up a meetup in their area for the first time, and to help provide ideas for those who are already running a meetup.
Mar 22 2016
jam
Mar 22
Each day, more Drupal 7 modules are being migrated to Drupal 8 and new ones are being created for the Drupal community’s latest major release. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling some of the most prominent, useful modules, projects, and tools available for Drupal 8. This week, a handy-dandy usability module called Linkit.
Mar 22 2016
Mar 22
We've been talking to our clients about Drupal upgrades a lot lately. This is not surprising, of course, given the recent release of Drupal 8, which signaled the end of life for Drupal 6.The Drupal community is excited about all that Drupal 8 has to offer.  If you’re on Drupal 6, however, that excitement may be muted by the feeling that you're between platforms. You want to be thoughtful about your next steps. You want to anticipate all the possible consequences. The stakes are high.Here at Advomatic we've been involved in many, many Drupal upgrade decisions in the last few months. We've gotten good at helping customers navigate the options.So what are we now telling our current customers, and prospective customers? Read on.
Mar 22 2016
Mar 22
Drupal's menu system API underwent a large number of significant changes in Drupal 8, just like many other areas in Drupal's newest version. The way we define what piece of PHP logic should respond to a particular path, e.g. /example, is no longer part of the menu; instead it is now defined via the route system. The menu system - as it should logically - is now used to define how a particular page (a route) fits into the menu system, tabs, and contextual links. Let’s take a quick look at how the familiar tasks of defining and altering such entries have changed.
Mar 21 2016
Mar 21
It's a good time to press your advantage as a Drupal developer. Drupal 8 has launched, and it's much easier now for Drupal developers to expose content and features on their sites via an API. The capability is built right into Drupal 8 Core. Some contrib modules are attempting to make such capabilities even better.That means that if you are a Drupal developer, you've got a head start when you're working with Web services, which have become critical part of today's applications and websites.
Mar 16 2016
jam
Mar 16
Part 2 of 2 - Sebastian Bergmann, the maintainer of the PHPUnit testing framework, came to our office in Cologne, Germany to talk with Campbell Vertesi (@CampbellVertesi) and me about PHP, PHP FIG and the PSRs, and of course testing. It is another in the series of interviews we carried out with important and interesting people from the PHP community in preparation for DrupalCon Asia in Mumbai.
Mar 15 2016
Mar 15
Last week the entirety of Acquia Engineering, which spans the globe, was in Boston for Build Week.It is a time for people to interact internally among their teams, and externally with other teams. It's an important part of our engineering culture, and it always ends with a Hackathon.One of the projects in this year's Hackathon was focused on open sourcing a tool several teams have been using internally. The result: we are happy to announce Moonshot!
Mar 15 2016
jam
Mar 15
Each day, more Drupal modules are being migrated from Drupal 7 to Drupal 8 and new ones are being created for the Drupal community’s latest major release. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling some of the most prominent, useful modules available for Drupal 8. This week: Paragraphs.
Mar 14 2016
Mar 14
In this 3-part Drupal How-To series, I'm going to show you various options for configuring images on your site.In Part 1, we looked at how to tweak the default image options. Here, in Part 2, we'll see ways to allow inline images. In Part 3, we'll see the latest options for responsive images.
Mar 14 2016
Mar 14
This post may be of interest to project managers and sitebuilders looking to migrate from Drupal 6 to Drupal 8 during the early months after the launch of GA D8.On the Acquia Support Team we often find ourselves using Acquia’s public-facing documentation and article library as an effective tool for explaining product-related tasks, technical how-tos, and a variety of other topics. These resources are useful when communicating via our Support Help Center. Unfortunately, the underlying infrastructure for this site was Drupal 6.37.
Mar 10 2016
Mar 10
There are some excellent improvements to modeling data in Drupal 8, including a number of new fields. This is going to make it easier to model content in Drupal. Let’s look at the image handling in Drupal 8 and what changes are in store.
Mar 09 2016
Mar 09
Larry "Crell" Garfield led the Drupal 8 Web services Initiative.The mandate: to make Web services better in Drupal. Or, as the group phrased it in their mission statement, "Drupal needs to evolve from a first-class CMS to a first-class REST server with a first-class CMS on top of it."When Drupal 8 launched late last year, the consensus was that the initiative accomplished its goal. It's much easier now for Drupal developers to expose content and features on their sites via an API. In fact, the capability is built right into Drupal 8 Core. Some contrib modules are attempting to make such capabilities even better, too.
Mar 09 2016
Mar 09
Some time ago we were contacted by a client to execute a migration: from a soon-to-be decommissioned site into Drupal.Just when we thought that it would be a simple process, the requirements came in: “Migrate the data from Site A into Drupal, but also join data from Spreadsheet X, and some data already inside the Drupal website.”To handle such complicated task, with so much different data, we chose the Migrate module to make our lives easier.
Mar 08 2016
jam
Mar 08
Each day, more Drupal 7 modules are being migrated over to Drupal 8 and new ones are being created for the Drupal community’s latest major release. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling some of the most prominent, useful modules, projects, and tools available for Drupal 8. This week: Coder.
Mar 08 2016
jam
Mar 08
Sebastian Bergmann, the maintainer of the PHPUnit testing framework, came to our office in Cologne, Germany to talk with Campbell Vertesi (@CampbellVertesi) and me about PHP, PHP FIG and the PSRs, and of course testing. It is another in a series of interviews we carried out in preparation for DrupalCon Asia in Mumbai. To prepare our session, we carried out a number of conversations with important and interesting people from the PHP community and now we're releasing those to you!
Mar 08 2016
jam
Mar 08
Part 1 of 2 - Sebastian Bergmann, the maintainer of the PHPUnit testing framework, came to our office in Cologne, Germany to talk with Campbell Vertesi (@CampbellVertesi) and me about PHP, PHP FIG and the PSRs, and of course testing. It is another in the series of interviews we carried out with important and interesting people from the PHP community in preparation for DrupalCon Asia in Mumbai. Now we're releasing those to you!
Mar 07 2016
Mar 07
In Part 1 of this 2-part series, Chris Pliakas, the director of Content Services Engineering at Acquia, described how he managed the Acquia Content Hub project, which was released in November, 2015. In this, the second part of the interview, he discusses the Scrum process, the benefits of working with an open source framework like Drupal, and what’s next for the Content Hub project.
Mar 04 2016
Mar 04
In this 3-part Drupal How-To series, I'm going to show you how various options for configuring images on your site. In Part 1, we looked at how to tweak the default image options. In Part 2, we saw ways to allow inline images. In this post, I’ll discuss the various options for responsive/adaptive images on your site.
Mar 04 2016
Mar 04
In my first blog post, I outlined the main sources for fresh news and info about Drupal. In this post, I’ll round up the best blog sources for tutorials in the Drupal community. 
Mar 03 2016
Mar 03
Imagine it’s late Saturday night and your cell phone is ringing. You answer the call. It’s your boss and she’s very upset that the website is not working. Do you know what you are going to do? How are you going to respond, quickly?Without question, one day you are going to have a problem with your website. You need to be as prepared as possible for that day. A little bit of time spent in preparation can make all the difference between a 15-minute outage and a 6-hour (or worse) outage.This series of articles will help to prepare you for that day. We are Support Engineers here at Acquia. We spend every day assisting clients with websites in crisis. We would like to share what we have learned.
Mar 01 2016
jam
Mar 01
Each day, more Drupal 7 modules are being migrated over to Drupal 8. New ones are also being created for the Drupal community’s latest major release. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling some of the most prominent, useful modules, projects, and tools available for Drupal 8. This week: Drupal Console.
Feb 26 2016
jam
Feb 26
Erica Schroder joined Acquia in 2012 as a graduate of the Acquia U Drupal training bootcamp and is an inspiration to me as a successful career-changer. As part of running arts and dance businesses, she's had a hand in with Drupal since Drupal 5 days, but Acquia U and her subsequent experience has made her a real Drupal pro. We got the chance to sit down together in 2015 at Acquia's Boston headquarters.
Feb 25 2016
jam
Feb 25
Each day, more Drupal 7 modules are being migrated over to Drupal 8 and new ones are being created for the Drupal community’s latest major release. In this series, the Acquia Developer Center is profiling some of the most prominent, useful modules available for Drupal 8. This week: Honeypot.
Feb 25 2016
jam
Feb 25
Drupal Camp London 2016: 600 Drupalists, international guests, 35+ sessions, loads of Drupal 8 goodness, interesting keynotes, great community
Feb 24 2016
Feb 24
An interview with Will Eisner, Senior Director, Product at Acquia. Will’s primary focus is on Acquia Cloud Site Factory, which helps organizations create and manage many sites, from a dozen to thousands.Also sitting in on the interview, via conference line, was Sonya Kovacic, a Junior Product Manager at Acquia who also works on Site Factory. Sonya's comments are featured in Part 3 and Part 5 of this series. 
Feb 22 2016
Feb 22
When creating various pages developers often have to generate links, URLs and occasionally redirect users to where they came from, or any other arbitrary page. In Drupal 7 we used l(), drupal_get_destination() and drupal_goto(). As you may suspect, things have changed drastically with Drupal 8. Although drupal_get_destination() is still there, it is marked deprecated, so we should not be using it any longer.
Jan 15 2016
Jan 15

Lingotek’s Translation Network is a cloud-based solution that connects all your global content in one place, giving you the power to manage your brand worldwide. Our technology pairs with the best-in-class applications, such as Drupal, to continuously push dynamic multilingual content to all of your global markets.

Lingotek’s collaboration with - and development work for - the Drupal community began over four years ago with Drupal 6. Our first Drupal module was released in fall of 2011 for Drupal 6. We now have contributed modules available for both Drupal 7 and Drupal 8.

These modules empower Drupal site owners to target different markets by providing them with various options for translation (machine, community, and professional) as well as connecting their Drupal site to our cloud-based Translation Network.

Our Drupal 7 module enhanced the functionality of Drupal 7 core and also integrated with popular contributed modules such as Field Collections, Panels, and more. The ability to integrate with these modules was crucial because complex sites built for easier digital experiences often require different data modelling options. But providing high quality support for such different possibilities and potential information architectures is not always easy.

So why are we so proud of the Drupal 8 multilingual experience?

The massive improvements of Drupal 8 for multilingual features and APIs allowed us to provide better support than with previous releases of Drupal or any other CMS on the market. For example, Lingotek supports the translation of several different content data structures for Drupal 7. However, with Drupal 8, if you follow the best practices on the creation of your content structures we will fully support them out-of-the-box.

At this point, you may be wondering, how Lingotek can help you? If you are a site owner, you will be able to easily translate your content or configuration. Our bulk management forms allow you to upload and request multiple translations of your content in all your locales with a single submit. And if you choose to, the translations will be automatically downloaded and published as soon as they are available.

If you are a front-end developer, you may have worked on multilingual projects where translations were handed in late in your project cycle. Sometimes, since the text labels can be so different between different languages, your new translations can break your layouts. With Lingotek you can use automatic translations, which may not be good enough for your end users, but can help demonstrate how the site will look like in a language you don’t speak.

If you are a back-end developer, you may need to develop custom modules. These custom modules could include custom entities and/or field types or result in your own configurations. Then you’d be tasked with making them translatable, which may seem like a daunting task. In fact, with Drupal 8 it’s easier than with Drupal 7 or any other CMS by far! If you integrate with Lingotek, the good news is that you don’t need extra work as soon as your data structures are translatable with Drupal 8 core. For more information about how to make your data structures translatable, check out this helpful example module git history.

Drupal 8 is a great platform to work with not only because it is so multilingual capable out-of-the box, but also because you can easily expand while maintaining the translatability of your data. Drupal 8’s multilingual core offers a robust multilingual foundation, making the integration process much more seamless.

That’s why we’re excited to announce that Drupal 8 users can now benefit from Lingotek’s Translation Network.

For more information about Lingotek’s Translation Network please visit www.lingotek.com. For additional information about Lingotek’s Drupal contributed modules, visit either www.lingotek.com/drupal or www.drupal.org/project/lingotek.

Jan 13 2016
jam
Jan 13

Part 2 of 2 - Sharing is good for business. Ambrosia Vertesti, Global VP Human Resources at Hootsuite, and I sat down to talk about how open source models are spreading to human resources and other, non-code parts of business today. In part one, I strove to understand HR's needs, terminology, and perspective and what drew Ambrosia and her peers to open source. In part two, our conversation moves on to how open source values like sharing and contribution are helping human resources and a lot more about #HROS.

"The How isn't competitive intelligence. That should be baseline."

I learned about the #HROS movement watching Ambrosia and Lars Schmidt co-present the keynote address at LinkedIn's 2015 Talent Connect conference. Check that video out!

Interview video - 22 min.

[embedded content]

#HROS - Sharing The How

The sharing and contributing aspects of #HROS--the stuff that makes it "open source"--came about out of necessity, just like so many open source software projects and tools. When she was hired as the 20th employee, Ambrosia was the sole HR person at Hootsuite and she was responsible for four other departments ... Welcome to startups! She lacked time and resources and turned to her network for help. "I was in Vancouver. We weren't in the epicenter of innovation and startups. We were in a place that the ecosystem was just growing around us. We needed to collaborate. I was empowered by our founder to take risks and find a different way to do HR. This was my opportunity to see if this thing is real!"

"It started out of necessity and being empowered to take a risk. That was me reaching out to people. 'I'm the only person here. I'm trying to find a way to do things.' I explained the problem I had and asked, 'Do you have The How?' Because a lot of times, people talk about why you should do something and what you should do. If you read Forbes articles about best workplaces and all that kind of stuff, like 'Performance Management Should be Dead!' And I say okay, but how are you going to ensure that you have a high-performance culture that is fair and equitable? So The How is missing from anything you read online. And in safe-safe circles, behind closed doors, people were telling me The How."

"The How isn't competitive intelligence. That should be baseline." Ambrosia recognized that this practical information--what she calls "The How"--is like the code in open source software. It doesn't give you a competitive advantage over others, that all lies in other areas, just like we can all use Linux or Drupal to level the playing field and then compete on other areas of differentiation. "Competitive intelligence is me taking that and making sure it fits with my organization ... I've probably combined it with 4 or 5 other Hows ... It's alchemy. There are things I see as competitive intelligence: compensation, stuff like that."

Opening up - asking for help, giving help

I wanted to know how Ambrosia's peers reacted when she opened up to them about her needs, problems, and challenges. She told me, "I found they were very collaborative. My experience has been that anybody I ever sent a Bat-Signal out, asking for help, people have come and helped me. And then I've reciprocated when I was able to." Ambrosia could swap, for example, her expertise in the world of social media for someone else's experience of policy scalability at large corporations. "It was really about equal value propositions. It wasn't just about solving a need. I felt as though we could give something back and that every HR practitioner would have something they're up against," this sounds so familiar to me from the development and website-building world, "and that they could give an equal-value reciprocity ... if the got over themselves and the stereotypes and the reputation."

#HROS isn't the first time HR practitioners have ever shared or collaborated, but Ambrosia explains, "My thought was that we could bring this out into the practitioners' space instead of it being a group of people who were ... sharing because we know each other. What if you're an emerging practitioner? It was a way to even the playing field and a way to showcase that HR is very innovative and they are very collaborative and they do want to support each other. And that nobody does have the perfect answer, so let's all work on it together ... and openly."

Partnerships: external and internal

At Hootsuite, Ambrosia is extending this idea to collaborating with employees to improve internal systems and processes, too. "For me and a lot of HR practitioners, the stuff that is servicing people's daily jobs and removing roadblocks and empowering them should be done in collaboration, it should be done openly, and it should be up for debate."

"As HR practitioners, you need to be connected to your employees because they're your customers. So if our team sees us saying 'We did this thing and here's the parts that we missed,' now I've been humanized to them. Now, they're able to come and tell me when things might not be perfect because I'm not projecting and I'm not posturing and I'm not guarding against it. There are things in your job HR that are very serious, very regulated, very compliance-driven, but there are sandboxes where you can have a lot of fun and you can really connect with people. And we want to put some of those things out there to educate not only HR people, but employees, because the more they understand about our profession, the more they understand how we can work together to build a culture and a company that we both want to be at."

What are the geeks getting right?

"What are the geeks getting right? High level: The mindset of 'We're all in this together. Let's work on this together. Let's support and share.' ... Those are things that business should be taking into their practices. We're all intellectual capital businesses, those fundamental practices create amazing workflows and better businesses. The engineers got that right. At the very highest level, that is the right mentality to build your business on.

Guest dossier

  • Name: Ambrosia Vertesi
  • Work affiliation: Global VP, Human Resources, Hootsuite
  • Twitter: @hambrody
  • LinkedIn: Ambrosia Vertesi
  • Current projects: #singitfwd "Music changes lives. Pass it on."
  • About: Over the past five years running HR for Hootsuite--and growing it from 20 to 1000+ employees!--Ambrosia Vertesi has had to figure out how to keep up with Hootsuite's enormous growth. Dealing with the challenging realities that many of us face at startups, like limited resources, budgets, and (perceived) talent shortages, forced her to get creative. Along the way, she and a group of her peers noticed that software professionals had institutionalized the way they benefitted from swapping favors, and connections to get things done: Open Source HR (#HROS) was born!
Jan 11 2016
Jan 11

Today we’re releasing a new Log Streaming Chrome extension that allows developers to see the logs they are generating in real time as they click around their websites.

Imagine you run a large e-commerce website powered by dozens of servers, and your customers are reporting problems checking out. You’re losing money by the minute. What do you do?

In the bad old days, you’d have to log into all the servers, download all their log files, and manually try to correlate log times to error reports. Or, you’d pick a random server and watch those logs, hoping that someone who encounters the error happens to be served by that particular server.

This and other use cases is why Acquia introduced Log Streaming in 2014. With log streaming, you can watch the logs from all your servers, streamed in real time as users click around your site. This allows developers to quickly find and fix the source of problems.

Today, we’re kicking it up a notch with the release of the Log Streaming Chrome extension. With the extension, you can browse around your site and watch the logs that you are generating in real time in the Chrome Dev Tools. This way, you don’t have to wait for your users to encounter the problem - in our e-commerce example, you can go click through your checkout form yourself, and immediately see what’s wrong.

Check out the gif of the extension in action below, grab the extension now, or sign up for Acquia Cloud Free to try it out yourself today.

Jan 11 2016
Jan 11

Today we’re releasing a new Log Streaming Chrome extension that allows developers to see the logs they are generating in real time as they click around their websites.

Imagine you run a large e-commerce website powered by dozens of servers, and your customers are reporting problems checking out. You’re losing money by the minute. What do you do?

In the bad old days, you’d have to log into all the servers, download all their log files, and manually try to correlate log times to error reports. Or, you’d pick a random server and watch those logs, hoping that someone who encounters the error happens to be served by that particular server.

This and other use cases is why Acquia introduced Log Streaming in 2014. With log streaming, you can watch the logs from all your servers, streamed in real time as users click around your site. This allows developers to quickly find and fix the source of problems.

Today, we’re kicking it up a notch with the release of the Log Streaming Chrome extension. With the extension, you can browse around your site and watch the logs that you are generating in real time in the Chrome Dev Tools. This way, you don’t have to wait for your users to encounter the problem - in our e-commerce example, you can go click through your checkout form yourself, and immediately see what’s wrong.

Check out the gif of the extension in action below, grab the extension now, or sign up for Acquia Cloud Free to try it out yourself today.

Jan 06 2016
Jan 06

Coming right up: a great way to start getting familiar with Drupal 8.

It's the annual Drupal Global Sprint Weekend, happening all over the world on the last weekend in January, the 30th and 31st. 

Acquia, along with Genuine Interactive and OwnSourcing, will be sponsoring the Boston location, so if you live in the general area, please stop by. 

Genuine's office, in Boston's South End, is spacious and inviting. And there will be a free lunch and plenty of beer. 

The agenda will be simple: to work on porting modules to Drupal 8, and other issues in the queue. If you have built a site in Drupal, you can contribute. 

If you've been meaning to start migrating your skills to Drupal 8, this is a perfect place to start: the atmosphere is friendly, casual, and helpful. On Saturday morning, for example, there will be hands-on "Getting Started" session for those who need it.

The deets:

When: Saturday, January 30, 10 am to 5 pm; Sunday, January 31, from 10 am to 3 pm. 

Where: Genuine, 500 Harrison Avenue. 5R, Boston, MA

The Genuine office is a 6-10 minute walk from the Broadway Red Line T stop. Or you can hop on the number 9 or 11 bus from Broadway T and get off in one stop at the Harrison Ave stop. Unrestricted parking is available on Randolph Street and certain parts of Harrison Avenue. 

RSVP here

The New England event page has all the particulars. 

And don't forget to follow the global page. It tends to expand as the event grows near. 

See you there! (And if you can't make it, help the cause by spreading the word.)

The 2015 crew

Jan 05 2016
jam
Jan 05

Part 1 of 2 - Getting beyond the talent war. I was thrilled to have the chance to sit down and have a conversation with Ambrosia Vertesti, Global VP Human Resources at Hootsuite. It's part of my exploration of how open source thinking and practices are spreading beyond the world of code to influence and improve the businesses and cultures around them; in this case, to HR practice and what has become #HROS.

"I am fiercely competitive, but I am collaborative before I am competitive." - Ambrosia Vertesi

Over the past five years running HR for Hootsuite--and growing it from 20 to 1000+ employees!--Ambrosia has had to figure out how to keep up with Hootsuite's enormous growth. Dealing with the challenging realities that many of us face at startups, like limited resources, budgets, and (perceived) talent shortages, forced her to get creative. Along the way, she and a group of her peers noticed that software professionals had institutionalized the way they benefitted from swapping favors, and connections to get things done: Open Source HR (#HROS) was born!

Apart from being fascinated to learn more about Ambrosia's world, I was exploring, peeling back the layers and trying to understand her terminology and perspective--and what drew her to open source. When I get there, I see how and why she and her peers are so keen to apply open source thought and practices to their work. It is for all the same reasons we do it in code and technology: taking advantage of commodity functionality and specializing in what differentiates you saves time, effort, and money. Giving your best back to a community of the like-minded--and admitting what you don't know--will reward you with receiving the best back from your community in return.

Interview video - 21 min.

[embedded content]

The Talent War

I heard the term "The Talent War" watching Ambrosia and Lars Schmidt co-present the keynote address at LinkedIn's 2015 Talent Connect conference.

I asked Ambrosia about it. "For a long time, the conversation around recruitment was about this 'war' for talent," she explained, "People started thinking about it as a very combative, carnivorous environment. You had to step on each other to survive. I think this idea was very destructive to HR. People are not resources, they are human beings. A rising tide floats all boats and we should be building ecosystems and we should be collaborating on what's happening in the workforce. I am fiercely competitive, but I am collaborative before I am competitive." Ambrosia points out the importance of creating more talent rather than simply trying to buy everyone on the market. "This idea of the 'War for Talent' ... talent won a long time ago. They decide what they want their education to be; they decide what companies they want to work for and what problems they want to solve. I should be supporting and enabling them in that. And supporting and enabling other practitioners about how we get better about being employers that people want to work for."

No more rock stars, ninjas, and gurus

I brought up Drupal's decade-long challenging hiring situation. Ambrosia suggests that if HR professionals thought "about how you see yourselves ... 'There's a lot of work, we want to build all these amazing things and there's not enough of us!' If we thought the same way, we'd look to partnerships with universities, resourcing the next generation of talent, you'd look at mentorship programs (and reverse mentorship programs!). Why are we not telling the story about the core competencies that are needed? Why are we not showing the data about what's being educated and what's being hired?"

"I think people are doing that now, I think there is a narrative there. But for a long time it was more like, 'There's not enough of you!' You're so precious!' And these words 'rock stars', and 'ninjas' and 'gurus' and all these horrible things. I think it is in mentorship, education and awareness," where you find the real, sustainable solutions to this problem. "I think you have to get to people really early--elementary school, even--to get people interested. As a business, creating an environment that's not a brogrammer culture, that's not based around ping pong tables, and focusing on things like diversity. I want to focus on building those environments so that it becomes more approachable for people who are interested in getting involved."

Based on my experience, I point out that the more different people--from different backgrounds, genders, geographies, and so on--you have helping to solve a problem, the better the solution will be. One thing that truly surprises me in the tech world is how little focus has been placed on diversity, especially since every other conceivable aspect of efficiency, improvement, and practice has been explored and refined to produce the best possible results. Ambrosia agrees, "We all know that. Especially if you are trying to solve a universal problem. Good luck building a technology if you're all just people in Silicon Valley, solving your own problems and drinking your own Kool Aid. You need to have everybody represented."

Fix it with data, mentorship, education, and awareness

"I think technology gets that, but it will be solved through education, accessibility, and exposure. I think a lot of people like the idea of innovation and the democratization that is happening, but if you make it not inclusive, but you make it about the cool kids, or the early adopters, or only Silicon Valley ... the decentralization of the Silicon Valley is a good thing because then people feel like it is something they could do. I hope that this is where the continued investment goes in order for people to feel like this is something as normal as becoming a nurse or a doctor."

Technology is actually approachable and learnable. Not everyone wants to be a ninja or a rock star and you don't need to be one to be in tech. "What I see, having worked in technology for ten years, the people who are creating [technologies] have to have a humility and egolessness--especially if they are working in an open source environment--because people are punching their ideas apart and they want to be collaborative. And those things are required. You see them a lot in technology teams, but as businesses evolve, you don't see the same level of vulnerability and the same level of humility. I hope in my practice, if we can go, 'Hey, we're all trying to solve these problems. No one's perfect. Stop talking about rock stars and how amazing you all are.' And lead with a little bit of, 'Here's the problem we're trying to solve ... This is what we know. This is what we don't know. Can you help us?' ... And build more partnerships, that it'll become a workplace that has a lot more talent at top of funnel."

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