drupal association

Drupalcon Austin and the Drupal Association

Submitted by matthew on Sat, 2014-05-31 10:00

I was musing yesterday morning while heading to the airport that I've been attending Drupalcons since 2007. Seven years. When I entered into the Drupal community back then, I had no real idea that this would become the focus of how I chose to make my living. I had no idea that, mostly, twice a year I would join with other like minded people. I didn't know that I would find myself in a leadership position in the community. I didn't know that I'd end up helping lead companies. What I did know was that I was working with a software project that made it easier for me to do my job.

2013 - A Year of Changes

Submitted by matthew on Tue, 2013-12-31 09:14

fireworks

Prologue


Happy New Year to all. 2013 was a year of many changes. These were professional, personal, and on a more macro level. I had recently left my job with Trellon to pursue contract work. We had just finished renovating our kitchen - just in time for a New Year's Eve party that involved a large percentage of guests from the Drupal community. Our little dog, diagnosed with mast cell cancer, wasn't expected to live for much longer (spoiler - he's still kicking it with us). Congress, in the United States, continued to be deadlocked culminating in a partial shutdown of the government, and a populace that was sick and tired of 534 people who simply could not agree on anything. There was a seriously flawed rollout of the healthcare Website, which as a Web Application professional I found fascinating.

I thought that sharing some bits and pieces from my life over the last year might be fun. If you feel interested enough to follow along my geeky and Drupally year, that would be just fine.

January


I had started working as an independent consultant with several clients late in 2012. The biggest one was 5 Rings Web, where I was consulting as the COO and managing the project management side of the shop for my good friend Lindsay Ogden. 5 Rings is largely a Drupal shop and I started by auditing processes and helping the group of excellent developers and designers organize in a more efficient manner. I was lucky to work with some terrific clients supporting existing Drupal sites but also defining some complex architectures for several companies and helping the team organize around Agile Sprints to bring web products to market. I am very proud of the work I did there when I was more heavily involved in working with them. Some how I managed, while doing operations for both Vintage Digital and 5 Rings to write a blog post on Managing Multiple Drop boxes

March


In March the community found out that Neil and Marta were leaving the Drupal Association in a restructure of the organization. This came as a shock to many. There were those who had really come to know Neil and respected his hard work on the Drupalcon. He had a pretty rough go of it with Drupalcon Denver in 2012 as he better integrated into the community. I was amongst those who were deeply saddened by the departure. Holly reached out to many in the community, including myself, to reassure us.

So Long Neil and Marta and Thanks for All the Fish

Submitted by matthew on Mon, 2013-03-04 22:41

sad_face by mcmrbt

The Departure

A small portion of my world was shaken by The Drupal Association's announcement about Neil and Marta today. Neil had some rocky times with the community, but Drupalcon Denver really changed all of that. As he came to understand the community and how passionate we all are about what we do and how tight a community we all are he became one of us. I would hazard to say there are a significant number of us that don't just think of him as the con's organizer but also a close friend. I got to know Neil well during Drupalcon Denver and can honestly say that his grounded down-to-earth nature, his skills as an organizer, and his willingness to listen and adapt to how we do things was a real boon to the community. You will be missed.

I don't know Marta as well as Neil, but I've very much enjoyed my visits with her.

Drupal Association Elections - Thanks for the Support

Submitted by matthew on Sun, 2012-10-07 19:04

About a month ago I decided to run for the Drupal Association elections. I've been told that I'm nuts for wanting to serve in this capacity. The fact is, in many respects I've lived a life of service. This started as a boy when I sang in a Men's and Boy's choir. This choir practiced Tuesday, Wednesday, and Friday afternoons after school for several hours. It then had two services on Sunday - one in the morning and one in the Evening.

Questions from Meet the Candidates Session 4 - DA Elections

Submitted by matthew on Wed, 2012-10-03 00:17

This is the last of the questions asked in the Question and Answer sessions for the Drupal Association elections. There were only two new questions that were asked during that time. Here are my thoughts.

1) valthebald: What threats to the Drupal community do you see, which are not handled by DA? How CAN they be handled?

The biggest threat to Drupal and the Drupal community not handled by the the Association is competition. This competition manifests itself in both other opensource projects and from the closed communities. At the end of the day, most looking for a platform or a CMS seek something that:

  1. is cost effective
  2. reflects the client's brand and aesthetic
  3. scales to the traffic they need it to scale to
  4. is easy to use

In general, we can eke out reasonable results on 1-3. There is still work to be done - but the fact is folks looking for the CMS do not...

Questions from Meet the Candidates Session 3 - DA Elections

Submitted by matthew on Mon, 2012-09-24 23:26

The following are the new questions that emerged from Session 3 of the DA Elections "Meet the Candidates". I didn't attend that session but thought a few short answers would be good to share. If you want to go back, you can read my original answers.

Share this post across your social networks and VOTE. I need your help to be elected to the board and I very much want to serve. Thanks for your support!


1) simesy_: I'm interested in what the other candidates think about Narayan as a candidate who will fill the gap of having infrastructure representation on the board.

I know Narayan quite well from the Examiner.com days. He brings a thoughtfulness and intelligence to every project, conversation, and challenge he faces. I said in Session 2's questions:

The board can include anybody who is active in the community and has a desire to serve. It isn't a matter of should or should not, it is a matter of interest in furthering the mission of the Drupal Association and wishes to engage in good governance. I do think having a presence either on the board and/or the advisory board is attractive.

Narayan would fill the current gap nicely and would be easy to work with.


Questions From Meet the Candidates Session 2 - Drupal Association Elections

Submitted by matthew on Sun, 2012-09-23 19:16

I didn't participate in the second session, but I did want to give a few short answers on the questions asked. If you want to read my answers from session one, they are available here. I'll do the same for sessions three and four in the next couple of days..

1) nnewton: Should the Infra team be represented on the (governance) board or the advisory board. Or both?
(but anyone can answer if they have a view)
The board can include anybody who is active in the community and has a desire to serve. It isn't a matter of should or should not, it is a matter of interest in furthering the mission of the Drupal Association and wishes to engage in good governance. I do think having a presence either on the board and/or the advisory board is attractive.

2) highermath: What should be the number one goal of the Board?
Growing the community and attracting new young members.

3) highermath: What should be the relationship between the Board, the ED and the staff.
See Question 7

4) KatteKrab: In 2012 the DA was trying to achieve 6 goals as outlined here http://groups.drupal.org/node/197558 Which one in particular would you champion?
Drupal in Schools. This serves two directions I think that the DA ought to be working towards. First, growing the community. Second, attracting new young members of the community.

5) jthorson: What specific initiatives would you suggest as a DA board member, to help drive growth of the Drupal community in new regions and communities which may not currently be represented?
See Question 3

Drupal Association Elections - My Criteria for Voting

Submitted by matthew on Fri, 2012-09-21 17:41

When I vote, I'm going to be looking at four criteria. Here they are.

Criteria 1
Experience - Has the candidate had experience working in the non-profit space? Has the candidate had board experience? Does the candidate have educational background that supports the board's needs? Does the candidate have work experience that supports the board's needs?

Criteria 2
Community Interaction - Has the candidate been involved in the community through Camps, Cons, presenting, code contributions, and other kinds of participation?

EDIT: Criteria 1 and 2 for me are both important, neither one is more important than the other.

Criteria 3
Technology Background - How long has the candidate been involved with technologies that support Drupal? How long has the candidate worked in Open Source? How long has the candidate worked with Drupal itself? This doesn't necessarily mean coding - it means how long have they spent time in the space in their own discipline.

ALL THESE BEING EQUAL

Criteria 4
Diversity - Does this person have specific attributes, by way of diversity, that we would like to target?

Meet the Candidates Session 1 - My Answers

Submitted by matthew on Thu, 2012-09-20 18:03

This is cross posted from Donna Benjamin's request for the candidates to post responses from the questions fielded during the phone call.

I bring 17 years from the technology world, 13 years in Opensource, 6 years of highly active participation in the Drupal community, 8 years of nonprofit management in a US based Technology focused nonprofit, two VP board positions in nonprofits including policy development, and two university qualifications - one a Masters - focused on organizational management for nonprofits.

I'm passionate about Drupal and adore the Drupal Community.

You can read more about my candidacy as I continue to write about it here: At Large Election 2012 - The Drupal Association.

1) stevepurkiss: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the Drupal Association, what would it be and why?

I think it is critical to not cycle onto the Drupal Association board with a strong personal agenda. The point should be about serving the Drupal community as a whole and not seek to disrupt the DA because of an axe to grind. It is a natural progression, when working with experience board members, to direct the overall mission of a nonprofit in a 10,000 foot view. So, my first job would be to observe and absorb. I do think that the Drupal Association needs to continue to focus on outreach with a goal of strengthening membership in underserved populations. This includes untapped markets with potential and culturally diverse populations who can add their uniqueness to our own. The magic wand is hard work continuing to push forward the DA's mission and expand.


2) Senpai: QUESTION: How much money should the DA spend each year on furthering Drupal? Followup Q: How much of that money should come from the users of Drupal vs sponsorships or advertising?

This question is a bit like asking "How long is a piece of string". The amount that the DA should spend ought to be budget driven, so we really should be looking at percentages rather than how much. Some of the other candidates expressed that "The DA should spend it all!". This is naive at best and reckless at worst. All non-profits should have 3-4 months worth of operating budget at hand to weather bad times or needed expenditures such as new servers. This is just simple math. The exception to this rule is if the nonprofit has a desire to build an endowment for scholarships, grants programs, etc. In this case, the goal is to build up enough of a reserve, for this fund, to pay out scholarships/grants/program cash largely through interest. Outside of remaining fiscally viable and being a responsible 501(c)3, every last available dollar should go towards supporting the Drupal community.

The Drupal Association Elections - My World View

Submitted by matthew on Mon, 2012-09-17 23:34

Multiculturalism and Diversity

My last two blog posts were about why I want to serve on the Board and how my experiences make me a good choice for the position. This one is about my belief in diversity and a commitment to multiculturalism and recruiting youth. A couple of weeks ago I was writing on the Marketing of Drupal about the current cultural fabric of the Association.

We must put a focus on helping internationalise the project (do-ocracy or not) in order to fuel sustainable growth across the globe. And we must understand and embrace the cultural differences of how different peoples approach contributions and participation in the project. This will allow us to nurture future leaders that would never have come to the surface in the current environment greatly enhancing and enriching who we are as a community. We must not simply say that we're a do-ocracy so those that do things will lead - if we don't make a conscious decision to move beyond this mind set, the squeakiest wheels will continue to be oiled and we will live in an unintended never intended circle of hegemony.

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