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Dec 15 2011
Dec 15

I have been thinking back and forth of how to best put my thoughts down on “paper”.

This week, I had my last day of work with the Drupal Association.
The Drupal Association is undergoing a lot of changes and this is a result of one of them. My position is being moved to Portland, Oregon, where the physical office of the Drupal Association is; and since I am halfway across the world from that place, I was let go.

I started working on DrupalCon Paris in 2009 and it became a heavy workload, which I was happy to do. The result was that I had a little burnout and my brain wouldn’t function for several days. Also, I barely remember the week itself, as I was sick and simply exhausted by the time all you guys flooded the halls. :-)
Nonetheless, I enjoyed working on DrupalCon Paris so much, that I decided to remain involved as a volunteer and as someone, who had done it once, so I can share some experience and knowledge. At that point, it became a bit more personal, as many members of the Drupal community know. - We, volunteers, put a lot of extra effort and time into Drupal and its development, because we care, believe in its success, because we like working with enthusiastic and passionate people and want to make something happen.
The road evidently led me to project-leading DrupalCon Copenhagen. I had the chance to be the link between the Drupal Association and the community. I considered it as part of my vision/understanding to represent the local community and to implement the maximum of their vision.
Everything, that I built until then, I didn’t want to let go. I was lucky to find someone like NodeOne, which offered me 50% of my work time to be dedicated to community efforts with NodeOne’s involvement.

In the meantime, there were a lot of things happening within the DA; staff got hired, among others an events manager and sponsor manager and DrupalCon, starting with DrupalCon Chicago, became more professionally organised, something more like a model for future DrupalCons to be built upon.
The Drupal Association needed more people to help with DrupalCons and I guess it was only a natural move to offer me a job as event coordinator.

I was very enthusiastic and motivated helping to better internal processes and documentation to make life easier for volunteers and to make DrupalCons even better for the community. However, there was little time (and little priority) to focus on long-term improvements. I had to focus on DrupalCon London, which had a higher priority.

I am not going to lie and say that everything was great, whilst working at the Drupal Association. There were misunderstandings, tensions, frustration, mis-communications, more frustration. I quickly realised, that I cannot do all I envisioned to do due to many reasons (no time and too many things, barriers, changes are hard).

Overall, I think, I have (had) a different approach on how to carry things forward. I think I always have considered myself as a representative for community interests and a link between the DA and the community volunteers, trying to implement and execute the conference to fulfil the needs and wishes of both sides. I also believe, that I have a very different approach in how to communicate and share information; I believe it is crucial to be as transparent as can be in an open source community. This makes it harder to manage people to get things done, true.

I guess it was time for me to go and to embrace something new. I am taking some time to reflect on what I want to do, whether it’ll be in Drupal or something entirely different. But just to make it clear: leaving the DA does not necessarily mean, that I’ll leave the Drupal community :-)

Despite what I wrote above (again, there is always good and bad), I learned a tremendous amount about working with other people, communication and processes. I thank the staff at the Drupal Association and DrupalCon volunteers for your knowledge, experience, support and wisdom in this journey.

A wonderful Christmas (or other) time!

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Oct 12 2010
Oct 12

The past 6 months have been very lively, mixed and full of travelling.
I was the lead organiser for DrupalCon Copenhagen 2010 from May until September (and yes, I loved doing it a second time around after DrupalCon Paris), especially with a Viking team!
Then, I enjoyed some days off in the South of France and travelled far north to start working at NodeOne, where I have been now for a week (feels like a month already) and also attended DrupalCXO in Brussels the past weekend. You can read an extensive summary here.

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May 06 2010
May 06

Part of improving communication towards the Drupal community, is writing about is done within the DA.
Here three posts that you may have missed:

Thanks to the people working on those.

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Apr 23 2010
Apr 23

Right now there is still the Drupal Association retreat in San Francisco going on. I, among other stranded members in the EU, participated via Skype thanks to Cary Gordon (Director or Events).

The main focus of this get together is to define the objectives and focuses and what the DA should really do. This includes writing a new mission statement that will capture the essence of who, what, why and how.

There have also been short discussions about the issue of the trademark, local events, local associations as well as marketing and how the DA is perceived in EU and US. In a previous post, I mentioned a questionnaire conceived especially for this retreat. It turns out, we are all not so far from each other and identified all the same issues, that need resolving step by step. I guess we cannot forget that change doesn't happen over night, but that this is a good first step in a new direction.

It was harder and harder to follow the brainstorming and discussions from a distance, so I hope that there will be a public summary of things that have been discussed and decided upon.

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Apr 23 2010
Apr 23

As the ash cloud prevented me from going to DrupalCon San Francisco, I decided to join the DrupalVolCon in Antwerp at Krimson's office.

I took this opportunity to do a BoF session on getting feedback from the community directly on the Drupal Association. I based my questions on a questionnaire, that was devised for the Drupal Association retreat taking place today.

A lot of people were interested in the session, around 12 people attended from a total of 30.

After reading the current mission statement to the attendees, I asked what, in their opinion, the DA should be/do.

Many said that the DA should be a formal representation of the informal Drupal community towards other communities, industries, businesses. It should provide a forum for discussion, provide financing and assistance for DrupalCons, centralise knowledge and funds for DrupalCons and then the community adds its local twist to it. The drupal.org redesign was also mentioned as a focus of the DA.

A point, that all agreed on was, that the DA should deal with legal aspects and protecting the Drupal trademark. Though someone also mentioned that it belongs to Dries and raised the question what would happen if the current situation should change.

The conversation developed towards a discussion about growing the Drupal Community. Suggestions were made that the DA needs to invest strategically in events, and support events in new markets such as Africa and eventually Asia. Another suggestion was a structured approach to support students financially with a framework that is public and clear. Why not a Drupal Summer of Code or a Drupal Winter of Code?

Attendees also addressed the development of DrupalCons and local community events. It is understood that eventually the DrupalCons get bigger and develop a different focus, though local events should stay community events. For example, sponsorship fees increase substantially from one local event to another and bigger Drupal companies are not able to keep sponsoring.

Suggestions were made, that they would appreciate a guideline and general support for events from the DA of how to organise an event, what to pay attention to (a check list), marketing materials and maybe some financial support. If there should be such a thing as individual sponsorships for DrupalCamps, there should be a clear framework for the selection process, so that everyone knows why that individual person is being sponsored to attend an event. It is a sensitive issue and attendees said, that it should essentially not be the focus of the DA, but left to the local organisers to deal with.

Concerning the organisation of events, it was said that there should be more creativity in finding cheap solutions. Also, attendees present at the BoF would appreciate to have options concerning food at events. They rather pay a conference ticket excluding the catering or have the choice whether or not to pay the full package.

There has already been a short discussion within the DA concerning local associations and creating links between local ones and the DA. Questions were raised whether local associations weren't already connected to the DA; if not, why not and it was suggested that it would be a good idea to do so, to keep the communities together.

Finally, on my question what else the DA should focus on this year. An answer, that I found surprising:"trainings with official certification by the Drupal Association; it is weird that Acquia is doing it now." I remember talking to Dries about offering trainings through the DA at DrupalCon Paris last year. This issue appears now to be a conflict of interest.

I think this open session and simply receiving feedback from the community was very fruitful. I think that this is needed to be done at other local events throughout the EU. After all, we are all about community building from the bottom up.

Any person from the DA participating in a Drupal event should use the opportunity to pose exactly these kind of questions (What does the DA do, what is/should be the focus) and make answers public. It is not done to connect with a few people over a beer.

Roy Scholten asked me already if the questions I asked can be made public, so that he can ask others from the community and get more feedback. I suggest doing this on the association.drupal.org site to have all feedback in one spot, easy to fill out and public for everyone.

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Apr 18 2010
Apr 18

Trying to get lifestream of keynotes and possibly other sessions. As much as possible that is. Thanks to Brightcove and DrupalVolCon UK for collaboration.

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Feb 07 2010
Feb 07

Hi Everybody,

First up, we, the European DrupalCon Selection Taskforce, apologize for the delay and lack of communication.

Consider this account of what has happened and what we discussed about, an attempt to improve the process, that we have started for the very first time.

The Drupal Association changed the way that DrupalCon planning is done. In September, the European Regional DrupalCon Organizers formed and developed a set of guidelines and scorecards for managing location nominations. At the beginning of December, the Board of Directors approved the proposal to have this year's DrupalCon in Copenhagen.

After much deliberation and consideration, including valuable counsel from professional events organizers and both the German and the UK team, the Location Selection Taskforce would like to recommend London for the 2011 DrupalCon. This means that we will now work with the London team to present the current proposal to the Board of Directors at an upcoming meeting for ratification. Kristof will be in direct contact with the London team.

And what happens to the Berlin team? We know, that we haven't mentioned 2012 in the process at all, but here is what we would like to introduce. We would like to keep the candidature of the German team for 2012, as they made a compelling case for holding DrupalCon in Germany.
We want to take the next step in transitioning the way DrupalCon's are organized and move further away from the Olympics model with competing teams towards a pan-European organizing group. Since DrupalCon will grow in the next 2 years, we would like to review with the German team and Blue Projects what city and what venue would be our best choice for the conference.

Everybody involved has been very patient and understanding as we've changed the process by which DrupalCons are planned. It wasn't without problems, but we think we're having success in building teams, planning further out into the future, and bringing DrupalCon to great locations in Europe. Thank you so much for your ongoing help.

We would like to congratulate the UK and the German team, and thank everyone who worked on and submitted nominations for DrupalCon in 2010 and 2011. We were lucky enough to have 3 great candidate teams (Copenhagen, Berlin, London), these are great prospects for DrupalCon.

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