2013 Election - Questions for candidates from session one

kattekrab's picture

The first "Meet The Candidates" (MTC) session finished two hours ago.

Taking part were:
* Joe Bachana
* Steven de Costa
* David Stoline
* Matthew Saunders

Here are the questions that were asked and answered.

There is a partial recording of the session available as a zip file here:
https://association.drupal.org/files/meet_the_candidates-session1.zip

For a full list of candidates, and details on the remaining 3 MTC sessions please see https://association.drupal.org/election2013-update

All candidates: Please respond to these questions in a comment.

Opening remarks:
Briefly introduce yourself, and outline what you will bring to the board of the Drupal Association.

(06:09:32) stevepurkiss: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the Drupal Association, what would it be and why?

(06:20:11) 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?

(06:29:23) KatteKrab: QUESTION: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? How can we be more international?

(06:35:32) dstol: QUESTION: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently? [the website]

(06:35:39) steveoliver: QUESTION: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?

(06:43:41) beeradb_: QUESTION: What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?

(06:44:30) j_matthew_s: My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?

(06:45:07) joebachana: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?

(06:46:01) starl3n: Q: how do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...

(06:48:42) beeradb_: QUESTION: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?

Comments

Sound works only about 10sec

tsvenson's picture

Unfortunately the sound file is very partial. It cuts the sound after about 10 seconds and then there is nothing more. This is with VLC on Win7.

Any chance you can convert it to mp3?

--
/thomas
T: @tsvenson | S: tsvenson.com

My notes

stevepurkiss's picture

Thanks Donna!

I made some notes- as we had issues with the sounds I'll post them here. Questions and my comments in brackets. Heavily paraphrased plus I got cut off so some answers blank. No messenger shooting pls ;)

David Stone
https://association.drupal.org/node/16993
1. Wish - Drupal.TV (stevepurkiss note: there is an effort to do this I believe which we should promote)2. Agrees with everyone else but hates to ;)
3. International reach - local php groups
4. (asks question) What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.org currently?
5. (Formalised Training & Testing) Not sure it's the DA's role.
6. (My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?) - not sure DA should get into minuscule bits of community management
7. burning out of core developers - if they go away no-one to step up
8. teach about drupal and get involved in community
9. beeradb_ asks What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board? capital camp, cat herding, no board exp, great pop
10. beeradb_ If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board? all great

Steven De Costa

https://association.drupal.org/node/17033

  1. Wish - Refreshing the image of Drupal. focus on govts.
  2. Money - Invest it all!

  3. International reach - review what the community is (stevepurkiss note: great answer!) - engage

  4. Get more involvement form external to review it
  5. Lots of companies who do it already, part of the ecosystem
  6. competting platforms, eg. sitecore, documentum, not going away
  7. how define the community and devs vs users

J. Matthew Saunders

https://association.drupal.org/node/16948

  1. Wish - Getting in the youth
  2. Money - Build reserves, spend every penny on things that help the community as a whole
  3. International reach - different kinds of international. Well established ones & other underserved ones. Find those who want to help Drupal grow, e.g. chinese guy who wanted to learn more and grow his community. Reach out to all community, not just developers & designers. being open minded, embrace with open arms
  4. Still struggling to build a system to find things. Getting better but still fragmented over d.o. and g.d.o. - find a way to merge them. (stevepurkiss note: I think federated social web so no central point of failure/control. The internet is distributed, d.o. is not. Do you support the efforts of the federated social web, so instead of building one big thing we do things in a more distributed and flexible, personalisable way)
  5. uncomfortable DA being certification provider although impressed with DA working out trainings for cons, getting the right ones. Testing - not as a product wrt DA.
  6. Board principally in strategic discussions.
  7. Biggest threat replacement of younger members - build our ecosystem - lots of work - shops challenged
  8. once we get past the thinking that it's just debs & designers. community is entire ecosystem.
  9. lots
  10. a pony

Joseph Bachana

https://association.drupal.org/node/17003

  1. Wish - Focus on the local. people then process then technology
  2. Money - Echo chamber. Instead of asking how much think how different we can communicate ;) Being able to communicate to the outside world
  3. International reach - local groups
  4. something about people who have more rights but not done anything for ages and those who do don't.
  5. Trainings are good, e.g. PM, is a coach, also doesn't believe DA should be doing certification. Reach out to uni & colleges
  6. Listen to the community. Staff push feedback to board. board role is governance & admin
    7.( What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?)
  7. loves the question - dries said wants to create a system where grandma (i.e. anyone) can make a site. huge community, once we learn how to develop that, once we learn how to say it's not just developers.

Pretty good notes, just one

dstol's picture

Pretty good notes, just one correction, my last name is Stoline not Stone. Thanks!

oops!

stevepurkiss's picture

Sorry about that! I can't seem to edit the above but have changed my copy - thanks, was really interesting listening to all your ideas!

wow - thanks Steve :)

kattekrab's picture

wow - thanks Steve :)

Donna Benjamin
Board Member Drupal Association
@kattekrab

I bring 17 years from the

MatthewS's picture

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.

How much of the money should come from different sources? Well, the fact is - the more diverse the funding pool, the more likely the DA will not end up having money problems in the future. We should be looking beyond users/sponsorships/advertising to diversify our income streams. This may extend to applying for grant funds ourselves to having some kind service model. When I was with the Western States Arts Federation, I was central in defining new revenue streams through designing software as a service models and service based systems like:

  • ArtistsRegister.com
  • Artjob.org
  • CultureGrants Online
  • CallForEntry.org
  • ZAPPlication.org
  • WritersRegister

These are just a few. My point here is that I have extensive experience in the nonprofit world designing and implementing diversification of revenues to provide organizational stability.


3) KatteKrab: QUESTION: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? Be more International?

The Drupal Association IS international. The biggest challenge here revolves around participation. How do we engage other communities? Well - first of all, we need to understand what the needs of those communities are. Is it as simple as providing money to help a local community run a camp? Do they need organizational advice on best practices for setting up regular meet ups? Do they need help figuring out how to generate an audience to attend events. Each local set of constituents will have different challenges that need to be met to efficiently grow. We need to have an overall goal of continued "Internationalization" with eyes towards tactics that make sense in each different cultural context.


4) dstol: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently? [the website]

My personal pet peeve is that d.o is separate from g.d.o so you can't search across both at the same time. However, I don't think that personal annoyances should fall into the pervue of the association board. The D.A. could have an overall goal of "Improving the User Experience on the Drupal.org Website to increase engagement and drive usage of Drupal", but then the strategy and tactics and execution of that goal should fall to the association staff.


5) steveoliver: Q: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?

The association should not be the owner/arbiter for certifications. I think the DA is doing a good job providing opportunities for community trainers to offer services at Camps and Cons. As a member of the local organizers of Drupalcon Denver, I was struck by the thoughtfulness of the DA in choosing excellent training opportunities that were well balanced to the needs of new members of our community.

As for testing, that is part of development of the software itself. That should be a community activity. I do think that the DA could/should fund usability studies and provide the results, but without trying to direct how those results impact the software itself.


6) beeradb_: QUESTION: What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?

I covered a good chunk of that in a blog post. This can be covered in a few numbers to begin with:

I have:

  • 17 years in the technology space
  • 13 years in the open source space
  • 8 years of nonprofit management including grant making and board management
  • 6 years in the Drupal community
  • 2 University programs in non-profit management
  • 2 VP positions on other Boards, including a Charter School in the Adams 50 School District in Colorado
  • 1 Committee position as a policy maker/drafter for the Charter School
  • 1 Drupalcon as Volunteer Wrangler and Customer Service Manager
  • Helping in numerous Drupalcamp in Denver

I am a community leader through camps and Drupalcon. I have tremendous experience in the nonprofit space - particularly in the United States. I have board experience in similar sized organizations. I have policy experience. When folks are thinking about where to cast their ballots, I urge them to not approach the election as a popularity contest but look at the qualifications of the candidates and ask - who would do the best job..

I'm the complete package for the DA.


7) j_matthew_s: My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?
This was my own question and I didn't answer it during the session. There were a variety of answers, but I think this chart lines up my expectations of proper governance vs operations activities.

Only local images are allowed.


8) joebachana: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?
I wrote a little bit about HR attrition a few days ago. I believe that the community, as a whole, is getting older. We need to be bringing in larger numbers of young people into the community in order to refresh our ranks. This extends to helping more experienced developers move up the ranks into core developer roles. One of our challenges has been core dev burnout. So, in short, our biggest threat today is ensuring we have an adequate population of appropriately talented people.


9) starl3n: Q: how do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...
This is a super easy question to answer. The "community" are all people who interact with the Drupal project even at the most simple of levels. This would include Developers, Themers, Project Managers, and End Users, Companies who use Drupal. All members of the community are users, but there is a subset of the community that are developers.
10) beeradb_: QUESTION: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?
I honestly punted on this question and said, "I want a pony" in relation to Morten's blog post. The truth is, that the field we have to choose from is incredibly talented all around. Some individuals have more experience than others in the nonprofit sphere and others have some board experience as well. I won't be discounting popularity of candidates, but that will not be my number one priority in making my decision. In the end, I honestly have not decided who I might vote for - I need to hear what everybody has to say about the position first.

I would be honoured to represent the Community as an At Large Board Member if the Community would like to place that trust in me. My love and respect of our "Team" transcends just a job and extends to some of my deepest friendships. If you want to talk to me about my candidacy - please find me on IRC j_matthew_s or in Skype jmatthewsaunders or you could even call me 00+1 (720) 254-1546.

joebachana's picture

Hi all,

Here are my responses to the Tuesday call.

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

On the phone call I brought up the notion of localizing our organized efforts in support of the Drupal Association's mandate. The idea would be to define a couple of local roles that could work in a more intimate, grassroots fashion with any given community. Just an example of a few roles could include DA local Drupalcamp liaison, local media contact, local sponsor liaison, and so on. First off, you might not need these particular roles, I'm just throwing them out there. The board would decide the fewest number practical for starters, then take it from there.

This would provide some continuity within a community, good bidirectional communication between the DA board and/or staff and challenges or opportunities within a community/market, and also possible opportunities for sharing across analogous roles in different markets.

We might start this just in a few major cities AS WELL AS a couple of spots where we really want the Drupal community to grow and so we want to plant a seedling in that area in the form of a local DA 'representative.'

Q: How much money should the DA spend each year on furthering Drupal?

I think the more interesting question here is how the money should be allocated in support of the Drupal project. Certainly an important part of the DA’s mandate is to spread news and information out as far and wide as possible, and I think that the PR and marketing budget should be a healthy one. Obviously the ‘messaging’ is something that should be really well thought out. I think that’s been going well, frankly. Of course everything can be improved upon. There are ‘threats’ to the messaging that we’ll want to address, both by the DA and with calls for assistance from the community (recall the crappy screed against Drupal written by Chris Wilson on slate.com back in 2009, or the FUD ‘white paper’ written by SiteCore that lambasted Drupal and other opensource projects). People who don’t necessarily know better believe these things, and so the DA does need to be attentive (and on top of disseminating news about Drupal in a proactive way spreading the good word, not necessarily just reactive damage control).

Another area that the DA needs to spend money is in creating a climate where learning opportunities are somehow rewarded. I periodically take a look at the usual Drupal sites that publicize training, and I still feel that our community could be creating far more opportunities. I do not suggest that the DA should be actually conducting the training. We just need to think strategically about how to create a climate where training opportunities are found everywhere and often.

Still another area I think the DA can be effective is in the way we reach out to the Computer Science departments of Universities to discuss adding Drupal (and believe it or not, PHP, which is woefully absent!) to their curricula. Sounds impossible, but honestly I did just that with a different technology about 10 years ago when I was guest lecturing at RIT. I began to develop a relationship with professors and the chair up there, and believe me, they are interested in hearing what’s hot out there. We can’t assume they know – true, the modern CS department should be concerned with turning out a well-rounded architect/developer. However, the Universities are deeply concerned that their students find great work after they graduate. So I think we can spend some time – and money – reaching out to the Universities.

Q: How much of that money should come from the users of Drupal vs sponsorships or advertising?

Funding should be coming from all members of the Drupal community. This isn’t just developers or implementation shops. One of the things I’ve worked hard to do in NYC is discuss with enterprise corporations that use Drupal what their obligations are to the project. Thus, while we can always count on organizations like Phase2, Chapter Three or Lullabot and many others for funding, we must reach out to end user organizations such as Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia, the World Wrestling Federation, NBCU and TheStreet.com, to mention just a miniscule number of big companies using Drupal, to provide funding. I have approached a few of these and they have been willing to fund things like our camps. Others, not so much YET. But they will, particularly through thoughtful communication from the DA.

Q: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? How can we be more international?

Nurturing a community is challenging to do remotely. If there’s a part of the world that we want to nurture, first question I ask, is there a person or a few people there that are there who are trying? What resources can we provide them? Is there someone we can convince to go there for a short while (missionary? Yes, you can shoot me now, WE ARE NOT A CULT! ) to help that community grow?

I think that we could also be making it easier for people to interact. Like most communities that grow organically, the communication seems spidered out across contrib initiatives, vertical markets, geographies, vendors, vets vs. noobs, and so forth. Without making any specific recommendations at the moment, I think it would be worthwhile to discuss the kinds of tools and protocols that have been successful here and there beyond just IRC and g.d.o/d.o that could help us communicate more effectively internationally.

Q: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently?

I like where things are going and I appreciate the amount of work that people are doing to manage d.o and g.d.o infrastructure. Also, making changes to a platform that thousands of people interact with isn’t easy! It is not easy to elicit, validate, then verify functional requirements for that vast a body of people spanning geographies, interests, and cultures. I think we’re heading in the right way on d.o.

If I would express annoyance at anything, it would be more around g.d.o, we really could be doing a better job of adding functionality that will help the local communities be more effective in communicating and interacting. While we’re on it, I have a feeling that the localized permissions are both a little stale and arbitrarily bequeathed. It would be nice for that to get looked at. Again, might tie back to that notion of some localized DA representative managing permissions to localized g.d.o (and hopefully enhanced) functionality.

Q: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?

I addressed this question earlier. I do not believe it is in the DA’s mandate to develop training programs or certifying people. I feel that both endeavors are actually quite worthwhile, but until the DA Board votes to extend that charter to include that offering, I think the DA should not offer those.

However, the DA should definitely create the conditions/climate that somehow rewards organizations for doing so. My persistent worry is that anyone can then put out a shingle and say they are certifying someone in Drupal. Certifying to do what? Build modules? Build out the site infrastructure? Site build? Theme?

There are regulations from the Federal and State departments of education on what can be called a licensed ‘certification’ entity. To me, shops and training companies can and should definitely offer classes. But the Universities or technical colleges are where we at the DA should be going to have these certification programs implemented.

Q: What community leadership have you shown that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?

In the publishing technology community, I have spoken at major conferences over the past 15 years of my career (Gilbane, Createasphere, Lavacon, AIIM, Henry Stewart, etc). I have also written articles for various trade publications on the state of the industry and where I believe things are going with multichannel technologies.

In the Drupal community I have served as a co-organizer for Drupalcamps in the past two years. I hope to continue doing so in the future. They’re fun to put on. New York is a tough community to organize things. There are a great many competing interests, and we don’t always make ourselves look very good in the eyes of the world. But, it is a flourishing, passionate, and VERY bright bunch of people that love Drupal. And we’re making it work. I enjoy serving that group.

In my local community I have also been active in fundraising and other activities for local public schools in Manhattan.

For my alma mater, Brown University, I had in the past served as the alumni President for a 5 year term. I have, in the past, also been quite active in planning events and in fundraising for my college.

In the triathlon and running community I have volunteered as race support, and recently took the additional volunteer step of becoming the race manager for the Tri-State (NY) team Duathlon championships, which will be held October 14th in Central Park.

Q: Question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?

IMO the Board should be engaged in strategic planning and the staff should be supporting that strategic work through execution of the mandate(s) and following up with communication on how things are going.

However, having said that, the DA staff members are the front lines of communication to a vast array of Drupal community members as well as outsiders looking in. We owe it to ourselves to also offer them opportunities to communicate to us what they’re hearing from the ‘membership’ as well as those in outer circles.

Q: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?

I had asked this question. I am not a religious man by any stretch of the imagination, but when I was young I heard a Rabbi’s sermon about a concept in the Talmud called “Sinat Chinam” Or ‘baseless hatred.’ Like any community, the petty jealousies or competing interests of different people can rip that community asunder. Continually finding ways to team-build within the community, also to bring in ‘new blood,’ to recognize the value of all the different contributors, and to address any flare-ups that many of us have (in)advertently stepped into, would go a long way to helping strengthen the community to achieve in greater things than it already has.

Q: how do candidates define the Drupal 'community'?
And, developers Vs users...

The Drupal community is a broad ecosystem of developers, site builders, themers, infrastructure gurus, project managers, functional/business analysts, trainers, documentation specialists, content producers, and on and on. Recognizing respecting all of their contributions is consistent with a healthy community.

I found it frustrating when I first found Drupal in 2006, having had a good 20+ years of implementing extremely amazing and awesome technologies, not to have been welcomed particularly warmly at first. My feeling about that is, anyone who comes to our door and makes inquiry, we have got to be more respectful about what they can bring to the table. Doesn’t mean there won’t be ‘takers’ that come. But honestly, I really still believe that most people will default to sharing and volunteering when given the chance.

Q: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?

There are so many different people running this year, it is going to be a tough decision. With two slots, I’d love to see one filled by someone who takes a broad view of how Drupal fits into the ecosystem of content technologies – technologies like digital asset management, editorial workflow, semantic enrichment, multichannel content delivery. That’s been my career and passion since my early days playing w/ a computer that my dad built back in the 70’s, so I’d like to think I’d be a good fit for that seat at the table.

Joe Bachana
First Employee at DPCI
1560 Broadway
NY, NY 10036
212.575.5609
www.dpci.com

follow-up question...

Mediacurrent's picture

@Matt and Joe

First and foremost, I appreciated your thorough responses and insight.

Since tone is hard to interpret, I hope this does not come across the wrong way. You both seem to be open-minded and have an understanding of the cultural diversity that makes up the Drupal community. However, you are both white males from North America that work at "big" Drupal firms. In short, you seem to be the profile that many in the community feel is over-represented on the DA Board already. How would you respond to this?

Thanks in advance,

Dave
Mediacurrent

Great Question

MatthewS's picture

Big Drupal Firms
If by "big" you mean, large in size - I wouldn't say that Trellon falls into that camp. If by "big" you mean large in its support and presence in the community, I would agree with that.

International
I talk about this a little bit here. I'll cut and paste some chunks of it so people don't need to go running back and forth between this thread and my personal site.

My background isn't as cut and dried as many people who live in the United States. I was born and grew up in Canada. My mother is Danish and my father is British. This meant spending quite a bit of time abroad as I grew to adulthood. I moved to the U.S. in 1995 to take an MFA at Virginia Tech and became rooted in the States marrying here and starting a family. This has given me an interesting outlook on the world. I live in the U.S. and I understand America well. I have a strong Canadian identity. I also identify with Europe. This has left me with a strong empathy and understanding of cultural diversity.

I am a first generation Canadian (who also holds British Citizenship), from European parents, who lives in the U.S.A. Fairly multicultural, no?

I think it is important to understand who is running - I appreciate the question.

thanks for the response

Mediacurrent's picture

Matthew - Indeed, you do seem to have an international background that would add value to the Board. Thanks for the feedback, I appreciate it.

My pleasure and thank you for

MatthewS's picture

My pleasure and thank you for your kind words. I'm pleased that you recognize the value my experiences could bring to the Association and it is my sincere desire to serve.

Best,
Matthew.

Profile

nickvidal's picture

@dave: just a comment, which by your tone, i'm sure you agree with:

The physical profile is irrelevant. What really matters is the mind profile. An american white male could very well represent the whole community, if they are open-minded and have an understanding of the cultural diversity that makes up the Drupal community.

Agree

Mediacurrent's picture

@Nick - Yes, I agree 100% with you and hope others do as well. Where someone resides, their national origin, age, gender, etc. is less relevant than their character and what they would represent on the DA Board. For example, just because a candidate does not live in Asia, does not mean that someone from Europe cannot understand their challenges and plight. Does it help? Of course, I would not dispute that for a second, but I hope it would not be the deciding factor.

Frankly, I believe Matthew and Joe are two of the more qualified candidates, yet, they may get overlooked because of these very things. Let us hope in our zest to make the DA Board more diverse we remember this. I would much rather vote for candidates (like Joe and Matthew) that have a reputation and track record of activism and growing Drupal at the grassroots level than a candidate who helps fulfill some unwritten quota. As I talk to those in the community, the internationalization and continued expansion of Drupal across the entire globe is something I hear unanimous consent for. It will happen - awareness and recognition is the first step.

Its all OK - WE know whats best you you!

mortendk's picture

This sounds like the discussions i had with my mother for many many years, I used to belive just as you guys that offcourse I could see the world from another culturel background than mine" (beeing a Scandinavian Man)
What my mother asked me was to look at a statement like this:

"We dont need to have any women on _________ cause the Men that are sitting there have enough insight into understanding this issues for women"...
Now exchange Women and make em Asians, Americans, South Americans, Designers, nerds, or european etc.
and then think about what that statement are saying. These are the kinds of arguments that were used to deny women the right to vote. Yup i know im putting it to the extreme, but bare with me :)

If we want the DA to be an international organization then we need to stop beliving, that we all can speak for everybody else & understands their situations "its just about the mindset" - thats not how the real world is - sorry but time for a wake up call.

To make it very clear before anybody reads the following let me just hammer this out:
I have NOTHING agains americans, or the US I would leave my dear Copenhagen in a heartbeat if i didnt have a Daughter here, i even love american football & have the NFL network running 24-7. (but i dont drink fucking budweiser)

Right now we have about 80-90% of all key positions in the Drupal Association placed by people that all more or less share the same culturel background all by beeing rooted in the United States. That is a problem, simply if we wanna make a international organizating.

Let for fun say that all members were rooted in a Scandinavian background and all was living here up in the northern Europe, how many would look at the DA and say. Yeah they totally understands my needs in _______ (put in you area) ?
How many would instead feel alienated & not believing in an organization that they dont feel reflects where they are standing. No matter if its based on sexuality, nationality, gender, expertice etc.

We need to accept that its a problem that we are facing right now, if we keep closing the eyes for this will end up having an organization that will not be international & will never be able to grow.

/mdk

/morten.dk king of rock
morten.dk | geek Royale

thanks for the response

Mediacurrent's picture

Morten, thanks for your feedback. Your sentiments are the elephant in the room I was talking about. Although, I have no idea who "WE" is and what is best for "you you" means in the subject line.

As a candidate, what is your solution for a more diverse DA Board?

Personally, I agree with what I've heard other candidates say (including you) that we need to recruit, engage, evangelize, nurture, grow, etc. under-developed global areas and this should absolutely be a focus. With this, will come more candidates in these under-served regions and more balanced demographics overall.

Until this happens though, it sounds like you are saying people should not vote for a North American for a DA Board seat, and place more of an emphasis on where they currently reside because of their ability to better understand that particular culture.

We do agree on one thing - any solution starts with awareness and discussions like this. I do hope having constructive dialogue about these issues will lead us to a better place.

I think that people should

mortendk's picture

I think that people should vote for who they think will be the best for the job, and what those candidates would bring - its simple like that. If you think its a good thing to get a more diverse board vote that way, if theres another candidate that brings something else you like the choise is yours, the beaty of voting.

If some thinks that means i dont think yo should vote for an northamerican candidate, they could not be more wrong! Americans have stepped up and made things happen in the DA & the lazy goddamn europeans should learn to step up and begin to take some responsibility ;)

My solution is that we in the future chose people (also) based on their demographics - that can also trackchairs advisory boards etc. Let me make it clear is not a qulification by it self beeing from a "non american background" But it wont hurt to be South American, Asian, european, australian etc cause that can bring us some more on the board.

This is a touchy subject, but lets be adolts and talk open about it & with an open mind, even that it can hurt our personal feelings.

/morten.dk king of rock
morten.dk | geek Royale

Nomination Committee

stevepurkiss's picture

It would be good to have more info about the work the Nomination Committee are doing on recommendations for the other 3 Board seats which are up alongside these elections for two community candidates. From what I've heard, this is where their efforts are focused, it's not only just these two community positions which we have.

More communication = good!

Morten's thoughts are wise

joebachana's picture

Morten,

First off, you and I should switch for a few years where I get to live in Copenhagen, which has been a dream, and you can take my place in NYC. My daughters will be great baby sitters for your cute kid!

Second, I agree that a global organization needs diversity of board members, not just from different countries but also different ethnic, gender, religious, and other backgrounds.

The challenge is who would get to determine whether a Scandinavian male, or an African female, or someone from any place on the Earth can best serve the WHOLE drupal community. I think NickVidal said it most succinctly, which is the mindset of the candidate to cherish the Drupal project and work to the benefit of its growth and health globally is what we should seek.

In my heart, I know you love Drupal and I also know that if you are elected, you will do an outstanding job, whether you were from Copenhagen or Canarsie, Brooklyn. I love the project and the community too, and while I'd love to serve, I'm really ok with not getting elected if the community picks two other outstanding candidates from the huge list of terrific people - I'm just enjoying this process.

I just would hate to think that any candidates currently up for election here in the USA would be unilaterally dismissed just because of where they live.

And let me also emphasize that while many of us live on this North American continent, we're not such a monolithic culture. You say you love American Football. Well, I grew up with what we call soccer here, barely if ever watch NFL, never been to a college game, do not ever drink beer (or anything for that matter, yes, I am boring), and have other very non-American interests that you wouldn't know by just looking at me. In fact, if I could have made a go of it, I'd have been studying, performing, and teaching classical piano performance in Vienna at this point in my life, but I was better at tech than music :-). I'll bet if you talk with many of the USA candidates you'd find out some very cool things about not only their cultural interests, but their global view of things socio-political.

Lets keep an open mind in this process for the best candidates. I love our chances of electing some great people, and frankly, I think ALL the board positions should be elected in a rolling fashion. Its fun!

Joe Bachana
First Employee at DPCI
1560 Broadway
NY, NY 10036
212.575.5609
www.dpci.com

To make it clear i would hate

mortendk's picture

To make it clear i would hate that anybody just voted for a candidate based on where they came from.

That dosn't make it less of a problem that we right now have a problem wit 80-90% americans on the board, track chairs etc - it will no matter how much we all wish for it, end up in a "mono culture" - just as well if it was only Australians that was in the organization leadership, im pretty sure theres a person or 2 in the american part of the community that would feel that they didnt get heard. Even that everybody tried all the best they could.

No matter that we dont wanna accept it: its gonna be very hard for me as Danish to understand all the culturel elements that makes an american,as you point out its a very diverse culture, its not all gunslinging-budweiser-nflcowboys ;)

You are totally right that we need to keep an open mind, and we also have to ask ourself some of the hard questions, even that it can hurt our personal pride

thank you for the kind words, guess people are learning that im not just a crazy drinking cursing viking ;)

So were gonna see portland timbers in may ?

/mdk

/morten.dk king of rock
morten.dk | geek Royale

Hey Morten - I want to

MatthewS's picture

Hey Morten - I want to preface this by saying, you and I have been friends since 2007 and nothing I'm about to write reflects on your skills or abilities. You are very high on my list of candidates to vote for. However, I take pause at some of your assertions.


I agree there is currently a skew in the make up of the board to White U.S. Men. I also agree that we need to work as a group to more closely reflect the Drupal community as a whole. There are, however, things that need to be thought through intelligently to ensure that the board is stable and effective. Simply voting for people who are not American Citizens to achieve this without looking holistically at the candidates, I would humbly submit, is wrong headed.

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?

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?


I want to be clear here. Our number one goal on the board must be good governance. The board has a fiduciary responsibility to lead the organization effectively. This is a LEGAL responsibility and should not be taken lightly.

There are three legal responsibilities for boards of nonprofits in the U.S. - the specific statutes vary a little from State to State. Still this gives you an idea of the nature of the beast.

1) Duty of Care - this is expressed as "care than an ordinarily prudent person would exercise in a like position and under similar circumstances." This means that the person needs to have general understanding of the business and exercise care as a steward of the organization.

2) Duty of Loyalty - "a board member must give undivided allegiance when making decisions affecting the organization." You can't use the information you have as a board member for personal gain. You have to have the best interest of the organization in mind always.

3) Duty of Obedience - A board member must always be obedient to the organization's mission. The basic idea here is that the board member will manage funds to fulfill the organization's mission.

If you don't or can't follow the duties, you are no longer protected by Board Insurance and become personally legally responsible for actions you take on the board.

I'm not saying that diversity isn't important. In fact, I think it should be one of the goals of the board to recruit board members from diverse backgrounds to fulfill the mission. What I am saying is that good governance must be the primary function of the board.

Personally, I am committed to recruiting board members who are nationally and genderly (is that a word?) diverse.

Hey man :) So i can see that

mortendk's picture

Hey man :)
So i can see that i have pushed buttons that provokes some americans in our community. Its great though that we have this discussion & im happy that i have put this on the Agenda :)

DrupalCOC & the BROgrammer

Instead of all this legal stuff & obvious observations of how a organization's should run & what the law n insurences. i wanna tell the story of what I learned during the Drupal Code of Conduct disucssion:
I Dont understand the full picture for north american women in tech” I can try to understand, I can try to figure out what goes on, but basically I can only try.

In my european/Scandinavian mindset i thoght that "Dont be an asshole" must be enough of rules to do into the COC - the more “american political correct” approach was the original document that listed all the things we were not alloed to do. (i know that not all americans are like that, like not all europeans are a bunch of no rules hippies, im trying to make an example here!)
I could not understand why on earth that there was a need for any rules, i felt it was pressed down my throath! - it made europeans look into Dropping the Drupal Association and create a new organization, that could understand & listen to what we needed in europe- yup tempers were running high those weeks ;)

After days of discussing back n forth & talking with a lot of the Drupal Women, it suddenly bleebed into my radar, that there was a thing called a “Brogrammer” & that women in tech wasnt respected the same ways as the men :/ Aparently thats what goes on in the states I live in copenhagen… How could i know, its another world over here.
I had to get the Brogrammer explained(!) dont have em here, yet. I could not understand the need for the rules, until I got explained & understod that it made some women in the drupal community feel safer that we now had a set of directions if “dumb shit happend”

I can understand you now feels that you are beeing targeted by beeing from the same 90%, and that should not make you qualified, even that you have all the qualifications to serve the board & the community.
you should know that is not true, and its another issue we are talking about here.

Beeing american,european, white, blue whatever is not the issue We need an organization that can be a voice for a whole community, not only a voice of one culture (even if that culture is as diverse as the american is) That demands for more than one culture represented. No matter how much you or me want to, we will always ende up beeing more focused on whats happening in “our world” (you beeing in the states - mee beeing in Europe)

If we think its not a problem to be only rooted in one culture or that we dont do something about it, then we will have a whole other problem in a year.

Btw when i vote i look for those that can bring the organization closer to its members, if that ends up having to choose one or two "just as qualified as the non americans" Well so bee it.

/morten.dk king of rock
morten.dk | geek Royale

@mortendk: We need an

tsvenson's picture

@mortendk:

We need an organization that can be a voice for a whole community, not only a voice of one culture

Completely agree with you there Morten. The kind of political correctness as you describe in your comment is in most cases very unique to the country they origin from. Drupal is a borderless community. The Drupal software is open source and can be used by anyone no matter what their personal views are or their agenda. Lets leave that outside of the community please!

I wasn't paying much attention to the Drupal COC (impossible to be involved in everything), but your story tells me that we all need to pay better attention to these things before they get out-of-hand.

Just because something is taboo to even mention in one country doesn't mean it is that everywhere in the world. Heck in many cases its even being laughed at because people in those other countries think its just silly...

Thus, the DA needs to place more emphasis on this and have gate keepers to make sure that for example political correctness in one country doesn't trickle into any official community standards etc.

Instead we need to promote better use of common sense, respect and understanding for cultural, language (as English is not the native language for all countries) and other differences in the world.

Lets not forget we are here because of Drupal and that 99.999% of us know how to behave and want to focus on that!

--
/thomas
T: @tsvenson | S: tsvenson.com

My own experience tells me other...

tsvenson's picture

While I agree that being open and willing to understand needs and challenges for people living in different parts of the world than yourself is admirable, it is not the same as living there.

I have had the opportunity to live in two other countries than my native Sweden - 4 years in England (London) and 7 years in Spain (Costa del Sol) and my experiences from that tells me just how little you really can learn and understand from afar.

It isn't until you settle down in a new country and know you will stay there for years to come you really understand it. Then you are forced to become part of that society and will learn just how much it differs from what you are used to. Things you take for granted "at home" often doesn't work any more. Things your parents organized for you, such as simple stuff such as getting a social security number and being registered with other governmental services or even setting up a bank account can be daunting tasks.

It is also only by living there you really get to understand the cultural and historical differences. This was really the biggest eye opener for me of them all and changed my previous opinions about both the English and Spanish completely. It is also the part I am most grateful for having the chance of experience and something that really has made me a better person (hopefully).

I am not doubting that Matthew, Joe or anyone else in the community has the ambition and best intention here. One of the things that makes me most proud of belonging to the Drupal Community is that borders doesn't matter here, nor the color of your skin, religion, age, sexual preferences, and so on. The only thing that matters is that you want to be a member of this amazing community and are willing to learn, listen and work with everyone else to make Drupal, yourself and even the world better.

But, there is little that can replace personal experience of being in the middle of something for enough time. In this case, living a longer period of time in a country that is vastly different in what you are used to.

--
/thomas
T: @tsvenson | S: tsvenson.com

"London" and "the English"

slef's picture

One could live in London for years and still not know much about the English. The rest of the English have a stack of nicknames for London, from the fairly polite "That London" through to some really quite offensive ones, because our national capital is a bit different, a bit apart... even in a country that isn't very homogenous anyway. And it's harder to learn about England while in London than the other way around, because London has dominated most of the media and most of the government since ages ago. You know what? I think it's almost offensive to suggest that living in London is informative about the English in general... ;-)

I think the lesson is that you can't live long enough in enough places to know all of even one country. That doesn't mean you can't be useful or helpful to people from other places, mainly by being respectful of them while being true to oneself, I think.

hi Dave, re follow-up question

joebachana's picture

Hi Dave,

Great point. I am indeed a very big male from NYC, I am 6'3 and as big as they come. I never quite viewed myself as a 'white' male since I kind of come from a mutt of a family with an immigrant dad. I can share with you what it felt like to go to the grocery and be told by my mother to put something back on the shelf because we did not have enough food stamps. I was the kid picking up the garbage in the parking lots at Nassau Beach for the summer job while some of the other kids were lifeguarding and such. In any event, I wouldn't rush to conclusions based on a picture of me of where I came from or what I think about this world we live in.

As for big firms, people seem to think DPCI is a very big company. That perception may not be a bad thing, but it is an inaccurate one. We are 15 people all-in. Been that way for many years. I founded it in 1999. I never had any intention of being the biggest at anything, just the best I could be. That includes building the best company I could, doing the best work we can. If we hired 2 more terrific Drupalistas in the next 6 months that shared this view of life, I think we'd all be in heaven here. A third and it would probably be a bit crowded here.

You don't see us posting HR adverts for developers. People find us through our relationships, that's how we grow. It is slower, but healthier. A good number of the great people working here today have been here for almost as long as the company has been in business. That's not a bad sign. Yields great results.

As for why someone like me may be helpful on the DA board. I came as an utter outsider. I've been doing tech my whole adult life, but I wasn't just focused on Drupal. In addition to CMS technologies, I have been implementing editorial workflow technologies, digital asset management systems, multichannel systems. Having grown organically into an active member of the Drupal community in these past few years, I know how it feels for so many shops, or end users, to be on the outside trying to figure out how to give back. So many of those people/companies WANT to contribute, but they don't see how they can.

It is precisely that voice that I can bring to the table -- along with some of my more specific ideas that I mentioned in the Q&A the other day.

Thanks again for your input. I appreciate your straightforward question and I want you to know that I was not offended at all by it.

-Joe

Joe Bachana
First Employee at DPCI
1560 Broadway
NY, NY 10036
212.575.5609
www.dpci.com

thanks for the response

Mediacurrent's picture

Joe - thanks for sharing your thoughts. I appreciate your entrepreneurial story and contributions you continue to make to the Drupal community.

jam's answers to the session one questions

horncologne's picture
  1. Briefly introduce yourself, and outline what you will bring to the board of the Drupal Association.
    • I am a multilingual, multicultural communicator with deep roots in the Drupal project. I build networks, make connections and build bridges. I am a Drupal community contributor, advocate, evangelist, and marketer. I have been a vocal advocate for our project, volunteered and worked with Drupal in many capacities, and have a wonderful network of friends and colleagues throughout the Drupal community.

      You can read more about me, my contributions, and ideas here: https://association.drupal.org/node/17043

      I think I can make a difference. I’m on the side of the contributors – all of us. If you’re giving back to Drupal, we’re on the same side; however and wherever it is that you contribute.Please help me join the DA Board with your vote.

  2. stevepurkiss: QUESTION: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the Drupal Association, what would it be and why?
    • The solution to any hard, complex problem will usually be hard, complex, and require a lot of effort and patience to pursue to resolution. Planning what I'd do with a magic wand makes me uncomfortable, since I think we have real challenges that we need to face in the real world.
  3. 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?
    • The Drupal Association's entire spending beyond operating costs should be to support and grow the Drupal project, obviously. The exact amount spent should balance current needs against future plans. That is, the DA might need to save up for a big project in the future, might need to rein in something if money is tight, or whatever is appropriate. No matter what the situation, the DA should probably be putting some money aside for future needs in any case.

      As to the exact mix of revenues, the DA can be an important fundraiser for the project and should be more active in supporting or facilitating support for things like the D8 initiatives in future. The initiative owners and teams should not be left on their own to find time *and* money to get their piece of the core-development puzzle done on their own. These projects benefit the entire project and should not be left to chance or goodwill.

  4. KatteKrab: QUESTION: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? How can we be more international?
    • We cannot make a difference with grand gestures only. It is not a matter of "if you build it, they will come" and a big event or two. This also makes it a hard problem for the DA to address. Wherever the motivation and action come from, the community will need to go to new places, new potential users, and show them Drupal; show them Drupal can make a difference to people's lives; empower them to earn money, do business, and change the world. The change will not happen overnight; it will be the result of outreach, personal visits, facilitating local meet-ups, new adoption, training courses, blood, sweat, and tears.
    • We need to change the perception that Drupal is American.
    • We need to make it clear Drupal is great for all sizes of site and organization.
    • On a technical level, immaculate mobile (developer- and user) experiences out of the box would be huge, too. Much of the developing world relies entirely on mobile technology for its web access. Supporting that would open the way for more great things for Drupal.
  5. dstol: QUESTION: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently? [the website]
    • The site is trying to be too many things to too many people: showcase, job portal (to some extent), code repo for the whole project, documentation repo ... It's no wonder people say we're hard to approach! (To be clear: this is no one's "fault"; the site was created a long time ago and has grown wildly since then. We can see now that things that made sense for a smaller community don't work at scale.) I was part of the effort to design drupal.de once we got the domain squatters off it a couple years ago. We made it a marketing site, with different "entry funnels" for developers, designers, users, and decision makers. I'd say we should split the marketing and other extraneous parts away from our code repository home-base. Why not make code.drupal.org, documentation.drupal.org, and other sites as needed? Api.d.o, groups.d.o, association.d.o, localize.d.o, are perfect example of how well targeted, mission-specific Drupal sites can work. I'd say Drupal.org needs to be our community and project welcome mat. It should invite people in, get them excited, and be something Drupalists are proud to send people to, instead of being, "This is where we do all our work, sorry if it's kind of a mess. I'll send you the right links."
  6. steveoliver: QUESTION: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?
    • I think it is time for the community to bite the bullet and do Drupal certification. People around the world are asking for it; there are places where Drupal shops are getting calls from people saying, "My government department is adopting Drupal, to keep my job / get promoted / whatevs, I need to be a certified Drupal admin/user/something. Where can I get that?" The Drupal Association should open an *open* consultation and discovery process with the community and some outside experts on what to do and how to do it. When a consensus is in place, it needs to be assessed and refined by qualified experts into an actionable plan. At that point, the DA should do what it takes to make it a reality. Let's be clear though: this will cost money. The DA will need financial buy-in at one or more levels: certifications will need to cost something (and to be worth anything in the broader world, they'll have to be reviewed and renewed at regular intervals), companies offering training will need to support the certification in practice and in cash. The demand is there; if the DA and the community don't run this process, someone else will step in and set up programs like the Red Hat Certified Engineer and others.
  7. beeradb_: QUESTION: What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?
    • I co-founded a local user group, helped set up the national Drupal Association in Germany, and organize the first German Drupal Camp.
    • I've created a lot of Drupal marketing material.
    • I've presented at numerous Drupal community events around the world about doing business with open source software, but more importantly, met and spoken with large numbers of Drupalists at those events.
    • Being multi-cultural, multi-lingual, and a grass-roots Drupalist gives me insight into many perspectives within our community.
    • My nomination for the DA Board elections includes this and more in more detail: https://association.drupal.org/node/17043
  8. j_matthew_s: QUESTION My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?
    • It seems clear to me that the DA board is there to create policy. It can, of course, make suggestions about policy implementation, demand metrics, measurable goals or results, but it is up to staff to build strategies, tactics, and plans to achieve the DA's goals. This should not stop individual board members being part of implementing any given plan, but the board itself is there to act in the Drupal community's best interests, to know its members, to understand its needs, and be visionaries and stewards for its future.
  9. joebachana: QUESTION What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?
    • The biggest threat we face is losing momentum. We need to reach critical mass outside of North America. Even in Europe, Drupal's "2nd market", where we can see increasing/healthy Drupal adoption in some places (Scandinavia, UK, BeNeLux), Germany, Italy, and elsewhere is nowhere near sustainable levels of Drupal adoption or business. This is my home market and a focus for me in any case, but we need to change the *perception* that Drupal is American. This might not be the DA's job, but Drupal speakers (companies, individuals, DA representatives, whoever) need to be showing up at non-Drupal events to raise the project's profile. "We" can mean all sorts of things, but it needs to happen. I love the Drupal Road Shows that the Austrian community has been doing in the last year. The DA could help set up the planning, booking, preparation, kits and stuff for actions like that. Target areas to assess and attack ;-) include: universities, chambers of commerce, geek nights, FOSS user groups, conferences (tech, education, government, open source, media, publishing, etc.), and more.
  10. starl3n: QUESTION: how do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...
    • If you're making a positive difference to the Drupal project, you're in. That starts with downloading and using Drupal. It's not much, but you're another user, another sibling-in-arms. Everything above and beyond that is a huge win for the Drupal project, since it's all (theoretically) voluntary beyond there. Anyone filing bug reports, coding, writing anything (documentation, blog posts, how-to's), marketing, running any size Drupal gathering, teaching, designing for/with Drupal, etc. ... *and* anyone supporting any of the above are part of my community.
  11. beeradb_: QUESTION: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?
    • Looking at the list of candidates, it would be a very hard decision for me to make this year. I see lots of ways they could each contribute.

Pedro's answers for session 1 of MTC

pcambra's picture

Brief introduction
I'm a drupal developer, focused on ecommerce, I'm involved in the community since 2008 and I've helped to build the local Drupal association in Spain, I'm trying to represent the spanish community on the board and helping the local communities all around the globe, I will try to get the local members in South America involved again for having Drupalcon SA sooner than later.

More on my candidate profile: https://association.drupal.org/node/17013

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

Magic solutions are never definitive, all the DA problems and issues are solvable through effort and talent, but in any case, we could use some magic help to get more people engaged, as I strongly think there is no lack of ideas or transparency, there is a lack of helping hands that can help to communicate all the work done broader.

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

As I see it, the main target of the DA is to help grow Drupal, so the short answer would be all of it. In a more elaborate fashion, I honestly think that communication and local groups fostering should be a priority for the budget assignments.
Having seen the numbers of the total paid members of the DA vs the total number of Drupal users or active users of drupal.org shows that the ratio can be clearly improved, so we could get more involvement within the current and future individual community, but changes like the DA partners are a big improvement for getting a stable funding. I don't think that the ratio of individuals vs companies vs advertising matters, I believe that the important thing here is securing a stable budget to be able to focus the DA target in spreading the word.

KatteKrab: QUESTION: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? How can we be more international?

It's a matter of not waiting for the people to contact and ask for help, but being responsive and contact them as soon as there's a minimal clue that something is going on.
I wish I had a magic answer, but my point of view is that we need to improve our diversity and finding what our local communities are, where they are, how active they are is not really easy, we don't have an easy way for this.
There are some tools like groups.drupal.org but we need to improve this so we can see very clearly who's putting together the next drupal events all around the world and have a tool for the local communities to easily post when and where they are going to meet to contact them and offer them support and tools for improvement.
We need to have means to identify all the communities around and we should go to them rather than waiting for them to ask for help.

dstol: QUESTION: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently? [the website]

Basically it's a tool for developers, we should difference clearly the sections and ease the use of some of them for different profiles, for describing two examples, the success stories have a really complicated workflow to make it to the "home" and once there, the appearance is still not enough. Other example is the themes section, we've got a ton of free templates around but the browsing and the looks probably mismatch the target audience.
Personally, as a developer, search is something to improve in the future, but there's work already going on for fixing that.

steveoliver: QUESTION: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing

This subject has been discussed a lot in the past, and there's clearly a division of opinions among the community, on one side is a business model that has shown to be very successful but on the other is something that could be done by one or several companies and my opinion is that the DA should not compete with companies in this kind of matters.
I completely understand the reasons behind offering certifications, but honestly, I don't see it as a priority.

beeradb_: QUESTION: What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?

I've been getting more and more involved in the Drupal community since 2008, my first contact was in the local group of Barcelona and since then I got really attached.
My first Drupalcon was in 2009 in Paris and that was the definitive trigger for me, I got involved in the organizer team for the first Drupalcamp in Spain, Barcelona 2010 and I helped funding the Spanish Drupal Association, which I'm presiding currently.
I've also helped organize the local group of Barcelona, Drupalcamp Spain 2011 in Seville, a Drupal day for developers in Barcelona in 2011 and the Barcelona drupal developer days in June of this year. Currently I'm helping out and facilitating the organization of Drupalcamp Spain 2012 that will be hold in Madrid on October 20th.
I've also attended a number of Drupalcons, I spoke at Drupalcon Denver, and I've offered myself as volunteer in most of them, also I've been giving talks some European drupalcamps such as drupalcamp Lisbon 2011, Drupalcommerce camp in Lucerne 2011, Drupalcamp Porto 2012, Drupalcamp Helsinki 2012 and many other Drupal and technical events.

I'm also collaborating with the South American community as much as I can, for example with ALCE initiative.

j_matthew_s: My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?

Well, I think there's little doubt here that is the DA board responsibility to set the guidelines and the strategic planning, but this has to be done in harmony with the community as it's not DA business to drive the direction of Drupal whatsoever.
One thing that could be very positive is to open a permanent channel with the community, extending the idea of the cultivation grants, to allow community members and groups to propose ideas and initiatives that could be approved and funded by the DA, this would allow the DA to fund things like, just an example, the CMI initiative, that is currently seeking for funding to become a reality, but not only coding stuff, other community related initiatives could be funding if they're, as I mentioned before, in harmony with the overall goals of the project.
Said that, whereas direct funding may not be the best option, facilitating the contacts with the right companies and promote direct funding is a really feasible option.

joebachana: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?

With the appearance of new and modern technologies such as node.js and a ton of other stuff going on, we may be in some risk of obsolescence if we don't push forward, I strongly believe that the current direction through mobile and REST is the right one and linking with my answer above, the DA might want to act as a release cycle facilitator through funding and contacts.

starl3n: Q: how do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...

Everyone contributing back is Drupal community. You don't need to be a developer, there are outstanding efforts in the documentation team, users opening issues, project managers and of course a bunch of brave designers that are giving back a lot of added value to the project.

beeradb_: QUESTION: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?

As I've answered in the third meet the candidates session, I think that all candidates have shown an awesome community engagement, but I'm going to be totally honest, If I weren't running I'd vote for Morten because his energy and strong opinions can't bring nothing but good things and open minded discussion to the community and the DA board, and also Jam, who's proven his great experience communicating and spreading Drupal among different roles many times.

Si's answers for session 1 of MTC

sime's picture

All of my answers are collated here.

Jeremy Thorson's responses to Session 1

jthorson's picture

cross-posted to my candidate nomination page

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

If it were truly a 'magic' wand, I'd give the Drupal Association infinite resources (money, people, and time); so that it need never be hampered in it's quest to foster and enable the product and community, and facilitate the further growth of the Drupal ecosystem.

Then ... I think I'd spice up their official logo.


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

It is impossible to provide a quantitive response to this question, without first defining the scope of what is meant by 'furthering Drupal', and the approach being taken to accomplish that goal. In the end, it is important to ensure that the money being spent by the DA is being done so as to maximize the value of that particular expenditure for the greater Drupal community. In addition, the funding distribution needs to represent a balance between short-term and long-term initiatives.

As for the follow-up question, the DA would definitely benefit from an increased diversity of their revenue sources, as the current model contains a severe dependency on the success of the NA and European DrupalCon conferences ... and the risk that a single "marginal" or "unprofitable" conference could drastically reduce the association's available operating budget for the next year. That said, this shift is something that is going to have to occur over a longer period of time, and can not be solved within the span of a single one-year 'At Large' director term.


Question 3: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? Be more International?

I must express an appreciation for the particular wording of this question. International representation has been a hotbutton topic during this particular campaign, but it's important to recognize that there are also still 'parts of the world' within North America and Europe which are not active in the Drupal community. I personally come from one of these regions ... the nearest active regional user group is over 8 hours away, and I'm not aware of any local web development shops who are actively promoting the project in my own city.

Given that we don't have a magic wand, and the Drupal Association does not have infinite resources, the key to reaching out and promoting the Drupal project in under-represented areas of the world is the establishment and fostering of regional user groups who can then act as evangelists and catalysts for growth in their area. The Drupal Association can help provide a spark through grants, events, and training initiatives ... but without a local presence to fan the flames, that spark will never take.

Whether you are in Regina, Canada or Tacuarembo, Uruguay; the cultures may be different, but the challenges in establishing a local user group are largely the same. One of my suggestions on this front is the establishment of a mentorship program which would help pair strong and established regional user groups in the US and Europe with a new or fledgling regional user group community, as a means of providing them a little extra support in establishing self-sustaining momentum ... whether the new community be located just down the highway or across oceans.


Question 4: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently?

On a personal level, my biggest annoyance with drupal.org this week is https://drupal.org/node/1778056, given that I work for a dinosaur of a company that is still stumbling forward on IE7 ... along with the added annoyance that I haven't had the time this week to write a patch to fix it. But that can hardly be considered a high priority with regards to these elections. :)

From the community perspective, I think my largest concern would be related to discoverability of content on the site; especially for newcomers to the Drupal ecosystem. We need to do a better job of connecting users with the information that is most relevant to them, and providing them an 'information fastlane' through to their destination which doesn't necessarily involve sorting through pages of obsolete search results.


Question 5: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?

Let me tackle this in two parts. First, I work in an industry with LOVES it's certifications (telecommunications) ... but in my personal experience, only a fraction of them are worth the paper they're written on. I'm not a fan of certification programs with respect to Drupal, and think the "Certified to Rock" criticism is spot-on with it's analysis and commetary. (Note: This is not a suggestion that CTR scores themselves should serve as a formal measuring stick either!)

From the training perspective, I do see a role for the DA; in the fostering of the development of new training materials within the community, as well as a potential aggregate and/or distribution point for various training resources. However, the DA should steer clear of any 'approving', 'rating', or 'rejecting' any of these training materials or resources (as well as individual trainers or providers) ... this is a task which is better left to the community at large.


Question 6: What community leadership have you shown that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?

I believe that leadership within the Drupal community is largely demonstrated through 'example' rather than through any official 'role'. That said, I can provide a examples of both:

  • Even before ramping up my involvement within the community, I took it on myself to identify potential improvements to Drupal's "New Project Application" process and compile them in a draft proposal for the community.
  • This led to other roles in mentoring new project application reviewers, establishing better consistency in the process, and driving the development of a strategy and roadmap for introducing an automated review process.
  • I took on maintainership for Drupal's automated testing infrastructure.
  • I have served as a mentor for core contributor sprints and during core mentoring office hours.
  • I applied for and was selected as a speaker at DrupalCon Munich, which was only my second time attending the conference.
  • I attended and participated within the Drupal Governance BoF at DrupalCon Munich
  • and many more ...

However, this is just the side of me that the community has seen ... I have a history of strong leadership abilities and roles outside of the Drupal community as well. For these examples, please refer to the 'Experience' section of my blog post at http://jthorson.doesdrupal.com/DA-elections.


Question 7: My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?

Before I answer, I'd like to make a distinction between 'staff' and 'volunteers' ... these are two different groups with involvement on the DA operations side of things, and the answer differs slightly between the two.

As a 'policy' board, the DA Board should perform strategic planning with regards the how the Association can best fulfill the mandate defined in it's mission statement. This planning may include setting strategic direction for individual initiatives; but only with the support of the community ... which in turn drives the 'strategic direction' for the Drupal Association and project as a whole.

The Board is ultimately accountable for the development of these strategic plans ... and, depending on the particular plan or initiative, accountability for execution of those plans may remain with the board or fall to the staff. In either case, the responsibility for execution should not sit with the board ... that honor belongs to members of the staff, volunteer teams, or specific individuals within the community.

The distinction I made between 'staff' and 'volunteers' is to distinguish that while the board can hold staff accountable for execution on the strategic plans or specific initiatives, and delegate responsibility for execution to either staff or volunteers ... it can not assign end accountability for execution to any member of the volunteer team; these team members must take on that accountability of their own accord. Even then, the Board still retains the ultimate accountability.


Question 8: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?

I feel the greatest threat to the Drupal project today is the risk of attrition outpacing recruitment in key segments of the community. While the project as a whole has a tremendous amount of momentum behind it, a lack of new recruits has caused specific areas to start lagging behind.

The role of the DA in alleviating this threat is to i) help enable the community, providing tools and resources which help these groups do more with less, ii) facilitating the introduction of new individuals who can step into these positions (through facilitating the growth of the community as a whole), and iii) stepping in to provide direct resources for critical areas where it would be inefficient or impractical to depend on volunteer commitment.


Question 9: How do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...

To me, the "community" encompasses the entire Drupal ecosystem. Whether developers, themers, site builders, customers, end users, testers, administrators, or groupies, the 'community' is open to anyone with even a remote interest in the Drupal product.

Occasionally, however, my use of the word 'community' scales back slightly; to represent the subset of the above who actively interact with other community members outside of their immediate work responsibilities; or alternatively as anyone who self-identifies as a member of the community.


Question 10: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?

At my first DrupalCon, I had the priviledge of working as a volunteer under Matt, and witnessed first-hand his level of commitment and tireless dedication (both to the project, and to his particular duties). Seeing now that this is backed up with a strong resume of related experience, I believe he would make a strong director.

David Stoline's answers to questions in session one

dstol's picture

(06:09:32) stevepurkiss: If you could wave a magic wand and change one thing about the Drupal Association, what would it be and why?
Drupal Camps and Cons generate a wealth of information that is spread out out over the various sites. Those who are new to Drupal are definitely not aware of all this great session material. The community needs to have a 'one stop shop' for all this great information. If I can point a new community member to a website with hundreds of videos about theming, I have drastically increased their ramp up speed. This is important for addressing the knowledge gap and growing the community as a whole.

(06:20:11) Senpai: QUESTION: How much money should the DA spend each year on furthering Drupal?
The Drupal Association exists to serve the Drupal community and every reasonable dollar should be spent on serving this goal. Budgeting and saving for the future are important aspects of this if the Drupal Association wants to continue going great work. My aim will be to keep administrative overhead low so that every dollar coming in works for the Drupal Community.
Followup Q: How much of that money should come from the users of Drupal vs sponsorships or advertising?
Funding should come from everywhere. A diversified income stream is a happy income stream. As long as the Drupal Association stays creative with fundraising the money should be accepted from whomever to keep the DA working for the community.

(06:29:23) KatteKrab: QUESTION: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? How can we be more international?
Drupal is a very international community, but how to do grow participation from under-represented areas. I had first heard about Drupal at school. My local Linux user group had been trying to get a website off the ground and we had been investigating the various open source CMS offerings. I think this is our grassroots base that we need to be engaging at a higher rate.

(06:35:32) dstol: QUESTION: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently? [the website]
I asked this question. In project context is lacking for maintainers. When I am making a commit I need to have three or four tabs open to be able to provide information in the commit message and then in the issue itself. I think there really needs to be a Drupal.Org power users mode.

(06:35:39) steveoliver: QUESTION: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?
While I think certification and trainings are a great way to fundraise, I do not think this is a good role for the Drupal Association. There are many Drupal Association member organizations who offer formalized trainings. It would not be appropriate for the DA to get started as a competitor to member organizations.

(06:43:41) beeradb_: QUESTION: What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?
I am:
* active Drupal evangelist
* popular module maintainer
* local Washington, DC community group organizer
* organizer of CapitalCamp
* occasional speaker at Drupal Camps
* hard working
* committed to improving and growing the Drupal community

(06:44:30) j_matthew_s: My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?
The Board sets the high level tone; values, mission, goals of the Drupal Association. Everything else should fall to the operational full time staff. However, as a Board member, I am still invested in the organization and willing to get my hands dirty, if I am asked. After all, this is a do-ocracy.

(06:45:07) joebachana: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?
Drupal's biggest threat is not growing enough talent to keep up with the demands of the community. Who will be doing core development when they start burning out? Who will be our future community leaders? More strategically, if companies can't hire talented Drupal developers our growth as a community will start to shrink, as companies start to use other platforms.

(06:46:01) starl3n: Q: how do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...
Everyone who uses Drupal. From project managers, users, developers. Anyone who interacts with Drupal in some minuscule way is a community member. Drupal 8 will do a great job of expanding the community to include more traditional PHP developers.

(06:48:42) beeradb_: QUESTION: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?
All the candidates are great and in talking with them more and more it makes my decisions even harder. I know that they all have some great ideas to help grow and improve the community. I am excited for the future of the Drupal Association.

Session 1 Q and A from Steven De Costa

starl3n's picture

Briefly introduce yourself, and outline what you will bring to the board of the Drupal Association.

I'm the Executive Director of a digital agency in Canberra, Australia. I founded the company in 2001 and we do a lot of Federal Government work with Drupal. I have a background as a developer but now focus mostly on business strategy and execution. From mid 2010 to early 2012 I was the Chief Marketing Officer for Australia's fastest growing cloud services company, where I developed and executed on a multichannel strategic marketing framework that proved highly effective within the context of global IT service trends.

I want to help the DA define its position within a broader economic view of the IT services industry and leverage the flow of value to benefit the Drupal project. 1st up: I'll aim to bring new funds via Govt memberships and a grants funding initiative.      

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

I'd hope to refresh the perception people hold of the Association. From what I've learnt the DA appear to be doing a great job and are remaining within the boundary of their responsibilities as outlined in the Association statues and regulations.  

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?

They should spend it all, but of course within the constraints of remaining financially responsible for the ongoing activities of the Association from year to year. My view is that the Association should not be a conservative when it comes to executing on its goals, but should aggressively promote the adoption of Drupal within new markets while actively providing every support it can to the existing community.

QUESTION: How would you help make the Drupal Association reach out to parts of the world that aren't yet active in our community? How can we be more international?

The first step is to revisit what the community actually is. I think there is a very strong perspective that the community is a bunch of developers that have been contributing to the core and contrib modules and that's certainly true, that's the inner circle of the community; however there is a very broad and very international user group. I'd be seeking to really engage with that user group and see how we can bring them deeper into the core [of the community], and into that inner circle of contributors.

So that kind of comes back to my core [election] platform; that Government is a great place to be sparking that sort of fire and to get them to be contributing significantly, whether it be through resources, financing or getting their developers on board to contribute code. From that international perspective Drupal already has massive adoption worldwide, so it's a great place to start I feel.

QUESTION: What is your biggest annoyance with Drupal.Org currently? [the website]

So this might be a tiny, little thing but my biggest frustration with the site is breadcrumbs. The amount of times I've come across a really great page and read some great content, just in terms of an informational point of view, and thought well this must be part of a really good body of information. But, there's no way to just backtrack and just find it.

I guess that leads me to the broader question of, what should the DA be doing about it? There's that saying that a mechanic doesn't always fix his own car and I'd just be saying that it doesn't sound like a big problem to solve [improving drupal.org]. There are ample companies around the world that tackle these sort of problems, [they] step in, look at the information architecture, look at the structure of the site, look at the user groups and stakeholders and actually just fix it.

I wonder if using the community's efforts to actually solve that problem is the best use of the community's time. If you could have an external group come in and just review it [Drupal.org] with a fresh perspective then you might get some really good feedback.

QUESTION: What role do you see for the DA in developing and/or certifying formalized Drupal training/testing?

Coming at this from a fresh perspective, training is something that I think the community is doing quite well. Its maturing its level of sophistication around providing training – at least that's what I see here in Australia and I saw a bit of that when I was in Munich as well.

Going back to a broader perspective, what you see when you have a mature ecosystem is a wide range of companies providing a wide range of services in all areas. Training is just one of those. I think the DA should look to always go to the highest viewpoint here and promote the industry view. So whether it's training, whether its enterprise support or whether its supporting content authors in how they work with systems in the long term – these are all things the DA can elevate as a discussion and make sure people are working on it.

j_matthew_s: My question is related to Governance VS Operations at the DA. Where are the lines between what the Board should do vs Staff? For example - who should be directing mission vs strategic planning vs program management?

DA staff will always develop expert knowledge in their field but the community feeds into the Board so things like Governance are bout reporting back to that community, the operations should be driven by the needs of the community but the strategy sessions should be taking inputs not just from the community but from a broader world view and make sure they are setting in place operational objectives that make the Drupal project successful in the long term. That is certainly what the statutes are about, and the regulations.

So, where an operational need is identified then you have that program setup and where you have the need for staff then the staff obviously contributes into that program – and therefore develops that sort of cyclical nature where they develop expert skills, feedback into the Board [via strategy sessions] – but, clearly, the Boards role is governance and administration.

joebachana: What is the greatest threat to the Drupal project today and what should the DA's role be in ameliorating/resolving that threat?

I think it's the competing platforms. So, the Adobe platform with regards to it getting reach into the CMOs and such, things like Sitecore, things like Documentum… where are those projects going? The companies behind them aren't going to just give up and walk away so we've go to look at that [competitive] view.

starl3n: Q: How do candidates define the Drupal 'community'? And, developers Vs users...

Although I didn't answer my own question in the session, I put this forward as I wanted to see how broadly people would define the community and how much significance they would give users of Drupal in their community perspective.

My view is that users are an extremely important and largely overlooked majority member of the Drupal community. Active code contributors can be measure in the thousands, while there are millions of Drupal sites on the Internet and behind these there are people who can be encouraged to have a voice within the active Drupal community.

Let's engage with Drupal users and inform them about the fantastic community which is ready to support them. Let's interact with users and create initiatives that cater to their needs. Let's also transact with users and raise new channels for membership funds that will advance the Drupal project toward long-term success, ahead of all competition.

beeradb_: QUESTION: What community leadership have you show that you think positions you well to be a community representative on the board?

In terms of community leadership I've had a sporting background and in the past I've played a lot of inline hockey. It's hard to think about community without having a personal reflection on things, and I think it's the interpersonal skills that really matter when it comes to forming community – having those one-on-one relationships. I draw back to the experience I've had in developing my own company, managing my staff, and working with them in a flat level management system – and, just that whole set of life skills that develop around that.

beeradb_: QUESTION: If you weren't running, which of the other candidates do you think would be great for the board?

I'd vote for Pedro [and wear the t-shirt J] Simply because, if it's a popularity contest, I love that one liner.

Steven De Costa
Executive Director, Link Digital
w: www.linkdigital.com.au

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