Aug 27 2012
Aug 27

From 20th to 24th to August 2012 the DrupalCon Europe came for the first time to Germany. During the week of this summer's hottest week so far 1800 Drupalistas from all over the world gathered under the motto "Open Up! Connecting systems and people" in the Grand Westin Hotel in Munich, Germany.

The DrupalCon started with a big surprise, announced on the opening session: Several European Drupal shops (NodeOne, Krimson, Mearra and Wunderkrau) fusion together to become the new, Captain Drupal powerd Wunderkraut - after Acquia, the next big elephant among Drupal companies. This surely will have a positive effect to the Drupal community as some people saw Acquia taking disproportional influence into Drupal development and having another big player in the community could diverse continued and strong development directions. For the smaller companies and start ups this will probably not cause disadvantages since it make Drupal generally stronger and more interesting to larger - industry size - companies, which would probably not hire a small shop, like Dries said on the opening session: "Elephants want to dance with elephants".


Personally I liked this DrupalCon a lot! As a developer I was positively surprised to see not as many sales persons but a lot of community members to talk to, exchanging knowledge, opinions and living the "momentum" about Drupal. The venue was awesome and not only the geek-friendly coffee stands all over the place made the attendees feel well. The food was remarkable excellent and with over €300k the biggest expense of all, but really, it is worth to keep everybody happy and good food achieves that more than anything else.


Although DrupalCons have become huge, it had the spirit of a perfectly sized conference since there were a lot of rooms with great sessions for everybody: Heavy programmers could come together for the core conversations track on a 5 minutes walking distance at the Sheraton hotel, which made it a cozy and productive place. The main sessions were nicely grouped into eight tracks with clear topics, this way, for all kinds of interests, good quality and interesting sessions were offered. It was definitively not a DrupalCon where you could follow all happenings, but rather everybody could enjoy exactly what one was looking for. You can find all the session's recordings on the schedule or the DrupalCon channel on blib.tv
Unfortunately I was a little bit disappointed by the keynotes: Dries' keynote was as a simple interview without any new information and Anke Domscheit-Berg's keynote was just a general summary of Open Data initiatives, an interested person could read together quickly through blog posts and general news. No innovative stuff here, but paired with some awkward invitations to participate. Yes, it is an important field, and we all need to demand actively and know about it, but somebody with more activist insight would have rocked way more.


For me, the motto had it's truth on the part connecting people: As the community lead for DrupalCon São Paulo I got to know personally and work with the staff and people from the Drupal Association, which outside of the US' Drupal community doesn't seem to have arrived yet. Surely, the Drupal Association is not working as open and community based as most of the community members would like, but they are really opening up, and it is the responsibility of the international community to get involved! I would like to point to the awesome session by Donna Benjamin Infiltration Day 853: Drupal Association Board. Confessions of a not-so-secret double agent, the only one of the non North-American board members. Where she did a great call to people to participate and form constructively the Drupal Association, which is important to all of us. A nice detail was that out of a quarter million people entitled to vote for members of the board only 650 actually made use of it. It is necessary that the community accepts the Drupal Association, not as a decision making instance rather than as a representative that forsters the Drupal community and for this reason the whole world and active groups have to participate in the election and forming process.


This DrupalCon in Munich was an important step for scaling Drupal (community) internationally: The German community, as they were cooking their own soup for a long time, now got deeply involved into the international scene, two next DrupalCons have been announced in new parts of the world (Latin America, Brazil, São Paulo and Australia, Sydney), a prosperously discussion about internationalizing the Drupal Association has begun and another huge Drupal company has arisen on the European Drupal horizon.

Drupal rocks! Drupal rockt! Drupal rockea!

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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Mar 23 2011
Mar 23

DrupalCon is a Mecca for thousands of companies and individuals that call the Drupal community home and, naturally, several of the Larks attended DrupalCon Chicago earlier this month.

We’re very involved in our local and global professional communities and we participated at DrupalCon Chicago on several levels, from volunteering to organizing to presenting.

Sessions and BoFs (birds of a feather sessions)

Rain Breaw, who heads up our Drupal training program, presented to a filled auditorium on Views Demystified, a Drupal 7 update to her immensely popular session from DrupalCamp LA and DrupalCon San Francisco. Rain was also a DrupalCon volunteer and you may have seen her at conference registration.

Also at the conference was our Director of Business Development, Cary Gordon. Cary is a Board Member of the Drupal Association, the organization dedicated to Drupal’s funding, promotion and infrastructure, and he has been working to help build the Association’s professional events team. You may have seen Cary at the Library BoFs (I and II), the Domain Access BoF and several of the Core Conversations sessions.

As for myself, I co-presented on Building Successful Local Communities: Insights and Best Practices. I also participated in the DrupalCamp Organizing Round Table, where I shared how the Los Angeles Drupal community, already one of the largest Drupal user groups in the world, is dealing with the growing pains of nearly doubling in size in less than a year.

Drupal Fit: Drupal’s fitness movement and support group

For fun, I participated with dozens of others in the Drupal Fit BoF that ran throughout the entire conference. Drupal and fitness might sound like an unusual combination, but as Dries Buytaert, Drupal’s creator and project lead, once told me, “We want the Drupal community to be fit so that we make better open source software.”

During the conference, I recorded several new Drupal Fit interviews that will shine the spotlight on members of the community who are focused on getting and staying fit.

Looking to the future

DrupalCon is one of our favorite events and DrupalCon Chicago was no different. This time, DrupalCon felt like another turning point for the Drupal community. As Rudyard Kipling once said, “I have struck a city — a real city — and they call it Chicago,” and DrupalCon Chicago has without a doubt left a similar impression on everyone who attended and exhibited.

See you at the next DrupalCon at DrupalCon London!

Dec 17 2010
Dec 17

2010 has been a big year for the Drupal Association. Early in the year new members were brought on and the Board of Directors saw some changes. But most noteworthy is what the Drupal Association did for the Drupal community;

Screenshot of the newly redesigned Drupal.org.

Drupal.org Redesign Completion

Drupal.org has a new look and feel. If you have not seen it (have you been under a rock!?) go check out Drupal.org right now!

It took a few years and many iterations and volunteers, and even that was not enough. This year the Drupal Association came to the party with funding to finish the job. Contracts went to tender and were won by Neil Drumm, Achieve Internet and 3281d Consulting.

Thank you to everyone who contributed to the Drupal.org redesign for all your hard work and effort to pull this off. And especially thank you to the Drupal Association for funding the last several miles that could not be covered by volunteers alone.

Drupal.org will never be the same again! Find out what is next for Drupal.org.

DrupalCon San Francisco

Photo of chx with a large DrupalCon San Francisco logo on the projector screen behind him.
Photo by Kathleen Murtagh

How could we ever forget? DrupalCon San Francisco, was epic. By all measures, it was the largest and most spectacular Drupal event yet.

The Drupal Association bootstrapped the funding and locked in critical contracts in order to secure the venue and other services. Many of the DrupalCon San Francisco committee members also serve the Drupal Association. The Drupal Association managed all the finances for the event and coordinated the local team and service providers with the rest of the Drupal community.

And that is just the beginning of what the Drupal Association did to make DrupalCon San Francisco a reality!

Git Migration

Photo of Sam Boyer posing with a Druplipet on his head.
Sam Boyer. Photo by Fox

The Drupal Association recognized the urgency to update Drupal.org's version control system (currently CVS).

Drupal has an active, amazingly awesome and amiable community. One of the reasons for this, is that Drupal.org is our home. It has everything Drupal developers need, all in one place. However the last couple of years has seen a trend for contributions to be distributed elsewhere.

The Drupal Association realised that if Drupal.org did not offer modern version control and code-distribution tools, then Drupal.org would cease to be a central repository for contributed Drupal code. And that would ultimately be damaging to the community and the project.

Git logo

So earlier this year, the Drupal Association hired Sam Boyer to work on detailed planning and foundation work in preparation for the migration of Drupal's gigantic CVS repository, including about 9000 contributed themes modules and other projects, to Git.

This work is underway and is making good progress, but has some way to go yet. Sam is leading the effort but the success of the project is highly dependent on volunteer effort too. You can get involved on g.d.o.

Paid Staff

Early in the year, Treasurer Jacob Redding was hired as full-time General Manager for the Drupal Association. More recently, the Drupal Association hired Neil Kent as a Events Manager and Megan Sanicki as Sponsor Wrangler (Fundraising Manager).

Jacob does a wide range of tasks including managing financial assets and tasks, lawyers, accountants, contracts, bills, Drupal Association meetings and boot load of other tasks that arise.

Neil is working hard on a range of administrative, logistic and financial tasks related to DrupalCon Copenhagen 2010 and DrupalCon Chicago 2011, as well as trying to document it all and make DrupalCon production more sustainable, so that it is not so much work to reproduce DrupalCon in a new location every 6 months.

Megan is working on raising funds and managing relationships with past, future and potential sponsors, for both DrupalCon and other projects of the Drupal Association. She is also exploring new avenues of revenue.

These funds allow the Association to;

  • pay salaries of staff
  • fund hardware that keeps Drupal.org online
  • fund projects like the Drupal.org redesign and the Git migration
  • pay contractors to keep Drupal's websites up to date, secure and useful to the community

Megan's, Neil's and Jacob's responsibilities are critical to the health of the Drupal Association. Which is in turn, critical to the Drupal community and the resources they depend upon, such as Drupal.org and many other infrastructure services.

Legal and Financial Achievements

Through the careful management of Jacob Redding, the Drupal Association has managed to achieve all of this with less than 25% overhead. That is incredibly low for any non-profit or trade organisation.

DrupalCon Inc. received its 501c3 (not for profit) status, which allowed tens of thousands of dollars to be put right back into the Drupal community. This was a major process to work through the processes of the Internal Revenue Service agency of the US government.

Additionally, the Drupal Association;

  • got payment time for invoices down to less than 30 days (from more than 60)
  • turned over more than a million US dollars
  • registered for tax purposes in four countries
  • was a fiscal agent for 3 major DrupalCamps in the US; NYC, Colorado and Chicago

Mission Statement

Another important achievement of 2010 was updating our mission statement. We began this process in April in San Francisco at our full-day-long meeting, then iterated on it over the following months to reach the final wording.

You can read more about the process and work that went into the missions statement in this blog post by Robert Douglass. Or you can just skip to the result;

Mission Statement

The Drupal Association fosters and supports the Drupal software project, the community and its growth.

The Drupal Association does this by:

  1. Maintaining the hardware and software infrastructure of Drupal.org and other community sites.
  2. Empowering the Drupal community to participate in and contribute to the project.
  3. Protecting the GPL source code of the Drupal project and its community contributions.
  4. Protecting the Drupal project and community through legal work and advocacy.
  5. Organizing and promoting worldwide events.
  6. Communicating the benefits of the Drupal software.

The mission statement helps guide the Drupal Association in it's decision-making, and makes it clear to the community what the Drupal Association does and does not do.

Priorities

Another of the main outcomes of the full-day-long meeting in San Francisco was a list of the five highest priority goals;

  1. Completing the implementation of the Drupal.org redesign
  2. Continuing to build a sustainable model for DrupalCons
  3. Improving internal processes and decision-making
  4. Hiring permanent staff to help the DA better execute on its initiatives
  5. Improving the technical infrastructure of drupal.org

We completed items 1 and 4. Double yay!

We made excellent progress on item 2, including hiring an Events Manager and outsourcing website development to Growing Venture Solutions. However scaling the production of 3000-person bi-annual events is a large project that will take time and never be completely finished.

Similarly, item 5 is never really "done". Maintaining Drupal.org hardware, software and infrastructure is a never-ending job that volunteers work at tirelessly and with very little thanks from the hundreds of thousands of members and visitors to Drupal.org. The Drupal Association applauds their hard work and thanks them sincerely. The Drupal Association funds some of this work from time to time when volunteered time is not sufficient, and also pays for hardware and expenses required for the task.

As for item 3, the mission statement is one significant achievement towards this goal, but there is a lot more to it than that. Additionally, the Drupal Association has hired a consultant experienced with non-profit organisations to help us determine changes to structure that will help us achieve this goal. We are looking forward to report the changes that we decide to implement and how this will improve the efficiency of the Drupal Association to better serve the Drupal community.

Thank You!

Thank you for empowering the Drupal Association with your financial contributions and volunteer effort. You can continue to donate to the Drupal Association by;

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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Sep 24 2009
Sep 24

Today was a big milestone for the Drupal Association and for the future of European DrupalCons. Over 70 people met in IRC for over two hours to discuss and ratify two documents which lay out the process by which we will select DrupalCon locations going forward, and how the production teams to run DrupalCon will be managed. These are the two documents:

If you belong to a local group somewhere in Europe and you want to see DrupalCon happen in your city, region, or country, read both of these documents carefully. The time for nominating locations is now open, you can read the exact details of how it is done via the links provided above. Nominations must be submitted before October 1. That means there are only six full days to work on proposals. Nominations are being taken for both 2010 and 2011. The nominations will be evaluated, as per the plans in the documents, by October 15. They then get submitted to the Drupal Association Board of Directors, who have to meet and ratify the suggestions.

The important point in all of this is the level of openness and transparancy that is being brought to the system. The Drupal Association is working hard to involve the community in decisions, and to have well defined proceses for making important decisions, like where DrupalCon is held. Today we had a great discourse, thoroughly discussed all of the points that were important to people, and came to nearly unanimous agreements about how things will be done. That is what makes Drupal a nice community to live in.

Feb 25 2009
Feb 25

created on Tue, 2009-02-24 21:00

The 2009 North American DrupalCon is just around the corner. From March 4th-7th, Drupal fanatics from around the globe will be descending on Washington, DC for four days of open-source madness. The conference is already sold out, so if you were lucky enough to get tickets you're in for a treat. With over 1200 people attending, this is going to be the largest DrupalCon ever.

For those who are not familiar, DrupalCon is the official Drupal unconference and one of the best chances for the Drupal community to get together and have some fun in person. This year's conference has a fantastic lineup of presenters and is bound to be great experience for everyone attending. Everyone seems pretty excited about the state of Drupal 6 and its contributed modules. There's been a lot of hard work and the future is looking good for Drupal.

Raincity Studios is a sponsor again this year and we'll absolutely be attending. Come visit us at our sponsor table, check out some of the projects we've been working on and learn about some new services we have coming down the pipe. We're looking forward to meeting everyone so please don't be shy.

The conference will be held at the Walter E Washington Convention Centre and early registration will begin at 4pm on Tuesday, March 3rd. To get the details, check out the DC DrupalCon website for scheduleand venue information.

This conference wouldn't be possible without the hard work of many dedicated individuals. We owe a big thank you to the Drupal Association for carrying this torch and we'd especially like to offer many kudos to the good people at Development Seed, Jacob Redding and the DC Drupal Community for their hard work this time around.

See you at DrupalCon!

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