general

Drupalcon is dead. Long live Drupalcon?

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With Drupalcon Copenhagen now behind us and Drupalcon Chicago approaching, I've found myself thinking about what Drupalcon is and how it's changing.

My first Drupalcon was in Barcelona, I was lucky enough to get to tag along with the guys from Bryght. I had an absolutely amazing time and met dozens of people, many of whom are now quite close friends. To top it off I also met my now fiancee and a future boss (no longer my boss, but still a good friend).

Since then, the twice yearly Drupalcons have consistently been highlights in my year. It's often the only time I get to see many of my friends in person.

Drupalcon is not a conference. At least not in the traditional sense. It's a time where some of the smartest people in the community get together, work on code, figure out problems, and teach each other what they know. It differs from a traditional conference in that there are no paid speakers and it doesn't come with a $2000+ price tag. In addition almost everyone attending is also a participant, whether they're there to hack code, present, contribute to BoF's, etc., everyone at Drupalcon makes it what it is.

Or I should say Drupalcon was that.

Since the first Drupalcon in Antwerp (correct me if I'm wrong), the number of people in attendance has almost consistently doubled every time. With 3000+ people at DCSF and a planned 4000+ attending Drupalcon Chicago, maintaining the personal feel that Drupalcons have traditionally had is simply no longer sustainable and I don't believe possible.

A few of the signs that lead me to believe this are:
* One of the stated goals of DC Chicago in the opening keynote at Copenhagen was to make it the "biggest" Drupalcon ever. I recall in Barcelona the goal was "Best Drupalcon Ever!". Biggest is still a great goal, but it doesn't say anything of the quality of the con, nor if people will enjoy it or not.

* At the end of each conference, traditionally the final keynote includes a slideshow of flickr photos from the conference. This to me is a reminder that the conference was about the attendees. It's an important reminder that the conference isn't so much about the sessions and learning, as it is about the experience of having everyone there in one place at one time. This was absent from this years closing keynote. In fact, this years closing keynote seemed more like the season finale of a reality TV show, than the closing keynote of a Drupalcon.

* DC Chicago will select a set of more "well known" speakers prior to opening up the session proposals and voting to the public. While this is actually quite beneficial to people who need to convince their companies to let them attend it is a big change (possibly the biggest in my eyes) to the way Drupalcons are traditionally a bit more open for anyone in the community to present their ideas. I see this ultimately heading down the road of having the conference organizers select all the speakers, and possibly even moving to the paid speaker and expensive conference price tag model. When the vast majority of the attendees shifts from Drupal contributors to people trying to learn what Drupal is and how it can fit into their company, this is really only natural.

* Lastly, Drupalcons are now being planned multiple years in advance. This is quite different from the planning that normally occurs one Drupalcon in advance.

None of these changes are necessarily bad things, they're just a sign that times are changing.

For me personally, I think Drupalcon will soon no longer be something I look forward to and anticipate, but instead something I go to out of obligation for the work I do.

This doesn't mean I'm not still super excited about the community and new things that are happening in Drupal, but instead that it's time to redirect my energy elsewhere. I think the stuff I'm really gonna be excited about in the future will be the local Drupal camps, and things like the upcoming PNW Drupal Summit (which unfortunately I'll be missing :( ). Also, I think there will be some very cool community stuff happening in new areas with Drupalcon like conferences happening in Asia, South America, and Africa.

The most important aspect of Drupal is the community. It's sad to think that Drupalcons are leaving that behind a bit, but I also don't think there's any other way it can go.

With that said, I had an amazing time in Copenhagen. There were a few issues (as there always are) but overall the conference organizers did a great job putting it together and I thought the sessions had a very good balance from intro to advanced. And I'm definitely looking forward to seeing everyone in Chicago :).

Trust

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I've been thinking a lot lately about the idea of trust. What it means to trust someone or for someone to trust you, trust in new/foreign situations, and most importantly the risks associated with trusting or not trusting. Over the past two years or so of traveling Sam and I have been confronted with a lot of unfamiliar situations and unfamiliar people. Fortunately, both of us have a very good eye for spotting bad situations and if one of us misses something that's potentially off usually the other will catch it.

We've been lucky to have really only been "screwed", taken advantage of, conned, whatever you wanna call it, by only three people in the past two years. The most recent situation was the worst by far in terms of the stress and money involved and I suppose it's the reason I've been thinking more about this now.

Lazy Sunday

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It was a gorgeous winter day in Cape Town today so we decided to go for a little Sunday drive around the city and table mountain. I posted a bunch of photos, mostly all from a moving car.

A new blog RSS feed

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Since I'm writing a lot more technical posts now than I have historically, I've decided to make another RSS feed for people who don't want the tech posts clogging up their RSS readers. You can subscribe to it here: General posts

If you want to read only the technical posts, but not the other stuff then subscribe to this one: Technical posts

And if you don't mind getting both, then you don't need to change anything.

Launching Wedful.com

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As I think anyone who reads my blog knows, over the past year I've been working on a startup idea with Sam. It's basically a wedding website builder.

Wedful Logo

I left my job at NowPublic almost exactly a year ago to focus more on travel and working on my own things, and I've been quite successful in doing just that :). Thinking back, my time has been split almost exactly between travel and work and it's been a really awesome time and enjoyable balance.

Today we're /finally/ launching the private beta of Wedful and if you're interested in checking it out just let me know (or better yet, signup for a beta code on wedful.com). Also, if you know anyone who has a wedding coming up in the next while and might be interested we'd be happy to hook them up and possibly even get a custom theme done for them.

We're starting a new wedding blog that will mostly focus on Wedful specific things, online wedding planning topics, and other things we think are cool (related to weddings, of course).

On /this/ blog, I'm going to start posting a lot more technical entries to explain how things were done on Wedful. Primarily Drupal things but also a few other types of hurdles that we needed to get over to build a product with Drupal as the foundation.

It's been super fun building this project and so far a really an awesome experience. Over the next few months I'll be able to start working on a bit more innovative features and getting into a realm that I have pretty much no experience in, marketing :).