We had an open panel / community feedback session at DrupalCon with the members of the association. I was very proud to be sitting there with those folks, even more so after each person spoke about what they want to do as part of the association. But...
...but let's not get to the "but" yet. The photo at left is myself, Dries, and Kieran sitting down at OSCON 2005. This is when we first started discussing the idea that, well, Drupal was getting pretty big, and we might need some other entity to help support it. What it really came down to is that at the very least, we needed a checking account: shuffling money between companies and Dries' personal Paypal account, etc. were getting increasingly painful. And heck, we had a conference with a whole 50 people show up!
2 years later and we've had many more successful DrupalCons. Sticking just to Europe, we had 150 people last year, and almost 450 this year. That's a tripling every year, and it's clear that the Association really is needed to help handle the logistics around these gatherings.
Back to the "but". The Association is almost a year old. It's been tough getting started, with only Kieran Lal having had previous experience serving on a board / running an association, and some of the busiest community contributors upping their contribution. We've got some of the nuts and bolts tackled now (accounting, legal, meetings, roles, etc.), have gone through some growing pains, and are pretty much ready to kick ass. We've got our first General Assembly ahead of us in a couple of months time, which will likely see the Permanent Membership grow and we'll have a new board elected.
One of the big points from the community was they wanted more feedback about what the Association was doing...but also how they can help, and what they can expect from the Association. We've talked internally and will try to adopt the Mozilla Foundation model of "reporting via blog". See Zak Greant's MoFo Weekly Reports for an example. This blog post isn't really a report in that style...I just sent off a bunch of email that should be good material for next week's report, and have tried to put a few bits of info in the footer that are a bit report-like.
And me? Well, I need to continue the process of getting things off my plate and having someone else's name attached to responsibilities, and to look at recruiting more people across the community to help run various initiatives. My main "hat" within the Board is marketing...I do a lot of that through direct outreach now, but there are so many other large and small things that could/should be done. For starters, I need to put some energy into gathering all the marketing folks back at home base -- http://groups.drupal.org/drupal-marketing. There were many "marketing only" folks that came up to me after the panel to say "how can we help?" ... many business cards to go through!
I would also like to serve as a direct channel to many large entities that are now starting to interact with the Drupal community -- larger enterprises, governments, universities, research initiatives, and so on.
In particular, it's my not so secret ambition to start at home in Canada / Vancouver and encourage local and federal governments to fund and support open source in general, and Drupal in particular. How about a 3rd Computer Science university course on "Coding for Open Source", including a section on Drupal in particular...
OK, time to wrap this up. I'm re-invigorated both about the Drupal Association and my role within it, and of course with the Drupal community as a whole after such a large gathering in Barcelona.
Update: after a little sleep, I realize I forgot to link to Planet Drupal Association -- you can subscribe to a feed of all posts there. Also a few minor updates to reports below. Case studies!
- Engage with marketing connections made at DrupalCon -- go http://groups.drupal.org/drupal-marketing
- Look at where / how to gather case studies using case study template sent from Wim Janin
- Follow up on emails related to local user group support
- Follow up with Sun about various projects
- Help with DrupalCon Barcelona debrief and wrap up communication
- Further discuss concept of "legal fund" and get legal advice mailing list setup
Boris Mann is on the Board of Directors of the Drupal Association. Feel free to contact him about Drupal Association related inquiries, especially related to press and marketing.