The cancellation of DrupalCon São Paulo 2012
Some friends asked me what I was trying to say, so I'll translate it:
As one can imagine, the Latin and specially the Brazilian community were devastate by the news. There was a lot of self-criticism, such as "We really didn't deserve a DrupalCon, or we lacked a strong community, etc". But this is not true at all. There is saying in Brazil that goes like this: "Brazilians never give up", and I extended that saying to all Latin Americans. Despite all the challenges, difficulties, lack of money, lack of opportunities, etc, Brazilians (and Latin Americans) are known to make it happen. And we can see this all over Latin America. I think develcuy illustrates this well:
Look what we, the Drupal Latin Community, are making it happen in the following months:
4th Drupalcamp Central America Oct/2012
6th Drupalcamp Perú Oct/2012
2nd Drupalcamp Rio Nov/2012
2nd Drupalcamp Guatemala Jan/2013
1st Drupalcamp Bolivia Feb/2013
1st Drupalcamp Mexico Mar/2013
3rd Drupal Summit Latino - Loja, Ecuador Mar/2013
(And at least 4 more events yet to be confirmed!)
Despite the setbacks, we never give up! And we always trow great events that bring the whole community together!
We make it happen because we value money and specially we value people.
Money should not be wasted. We should always be very frugal about it.
And people's time are even more valuable. We should not trow their efforts away.
For example, my total budget for organizing DrupalCamp Foz 2011 was USD 5000, and this event was organized in 50 days. We had a tremendous help from sponsors and speakers from all over Latin America, who quickly acted to help out. Their time and their money were highly appreciated. Our venue was spectacular: Latinoware's main auditorium, a modern infrastructure with a capacity for 1000 people in the middle of a park. This was provided for free by Latinoware in 2011 and they again offered this venue to hold a DrupalCon in 2012, which was rejected by the DA. With the sponsorship money I was able to help all speakers with accommodation costs, print 8000 magazines about Drupal and distribute it all over Latin America (and some Drupal shops in North America and Europe), and there was even a left over for cultural events, such as visiting one of the 7 natural wonders of the world, the Iguazu Falls, and the Birds' Park.
The Brazilian and the Latin community unfortunately did not participate in DrupalCon's planning process. This was done by a committee, of which I was part. I tried to reach out to the community as much as I could, by making surveys and by contacting friends to hear their opinion about some decisions that were being made behind closed doors. I got important feedback about the venue, and I called the DA's attention about it. The venue was in a terrible location, very far away from the international airport, and with no good hotels near by. Plus, the infrastructure was old and lacking. But the reaction to it was the worse possible. Basically, I was so humiliated that I decided to leave the committee (this was on February).
The community was only asked to participate in the execution of a flawed plan. Their time and effort into this was totally wasted and I can only imagine what we could have accomplished if it were more valued. Volunteer time might be free, but that doesn't mean it doesn't have value. Much the contrary. It's just like free software. It has more value than ever!
We really lacked a good and humble strategy, and this got worse with time. I guess one of the crucial moments was when DrupalCon Sydney was announced, happening just two months apart from DrupalCon Sao Paulo. Seriously, at this point we were totally lost. We would need all the help we could get (from inside and outside of Latin America) to pull it off, but with DrupalCon Sydney, with there gorgeous venue, right in front of the beach, we had no chance whatsoever. Not only was the venue gorgeous but, most importantly, we could really see that the whole Australian community was involved in the process. This event has grown from the bottom-up. It was Drupal DownUnder going UpAbove. I think this will be one of the best DrupalCons ever. I just love their video:
E faltou amor...
People like to think that Drupal will conquer the world and become a dominant force.
But the truth is that Drupal is mostly irrelevant. It is just a tool.
What really matters is the community, the people, the heart and soul that they put in to make things happen.
We need to nurture that with love and care.
If we ignore them, then we have already lost, no matter how much succe$$ful Drupal becomes.