webchick’s picture

I find it interesting that your first major headline is "Drupal is International" (100% agreed), but yet under "DrupalCon & Regional Events" you specifically don't want DrupalCon spread to more than North America and Europe. Those two viewpoints seem at odds with one another, to me.

Why shouldn't people from other regions in the world be able to get key Drupal project contributors flying into their country, the chance to work alongside the likes of chx and sun and JohnAlbin and so on at collaboration sprints, the chance to boost the Drupal economy in the area, etc? These things won't happen purely with increased support for DrupalCamps. When was the last time you attended DrupalCamp Guadalajara? :)

ronald_istos’s picture

Probably not the right place to ask this but there are two issues at odds here.

1. Drupalcons seems to be perceived as must-attend events from all the community.

2. We need to have Drupalcons in places other than Europe and USA in order to spread the love

Conclusion, let us have more of them. There is another solution however. Let us keep it to two but have them travel around the world.

Europe and the USA have nicely split the Drupalcon love between themselves, in a comfortable timeframe of 1 every six months (more or less). The other fledging Drupalcons, however, need to fight for space in there somehow while still attracting an international audience. This would tough for anyone to pull off.

Has the DA considered keeping just two Drupalcons but having them being travelling affairs across the globe? This would give every region a fair share of exposure and reduce the "competition" as they would be the only game in the world. It would also probably mean that Europe and the USA would only see a Drupalcon once every 2 - 2 1/2 years. They can tie over the rest with "locally" organized Drupal summits though (just like the rest of the world has to do now). It also means that Europeans and USA citizens need to get their act together and travel to these other places.

Think of what would happen if the IOC decided to hold "more" Olympic games to spead the love rather than have the Olympics move around the globe.

corbacho’s picture

I agree with that : Has the DA considered keeping just two Drupalcons but having them being travelling affairs across the globe?

webchick’s picture

The challenge around that is (currently, at least) both our attendee and sponsor base is largely North America and Europe-based, and as of 2011 (2012 numbers still aren't in yet, obviously, since we're still in 2012 :)), DrupalCon tickets + sponsorships accounted for 78% of the DA's revenue. (Source: 2011 Annual Report)

So we can't really take away either of those conferences without supplementing that income through some other means. We are experimenting with various alternatives, such as a membership drive and our Supporting Partner Program. But we're a ways off yet from declaring organizational independence from DrupalCon revenue.

And as we've seen with extremely unfortunate canceling of São Paulo, moving DrupalCon to a new international location does not in fact guarantee you'll get sponsor and community support for an event. :( You really have to build this a lot from scratch in each new location. It's going to take time to support DrupalCons outside of NA and EU, but the DA is committed to doing so.

mortendk’s picture

I am very pleased to se that there is now an understanding in the DA for not doing another Sao Paulo incident.
That the internation growth its a thing that will take time, based on a respect for what works in that region, how business is down and how the community works.
That is how we build a International community, not by riding into towns like cowboys and spoon feeding the natives what we think it will work.

I am Very Satisfied to hear that the DA is committed to and understanding now that its gonna take time.

This is really about moving forward, learning from the mistakes that was made and then not repeat them :)

...and stop agreeing with me so much, im trying to run a campaign here ;)


John_B’s picture

I have read, more or less, the manifestos of all candidates. Most of the candidates appear qualified and willing to provide skilled and diligent service to the community. You (mortendk) appear to be someone who can do that but who may also thrive on creative tension. Please correct me if I am wrong.

If am not wrong, the question is how far this is good for Drupal. We all benefit from contrubitions of the largest Drupal companies, notably but not only Acquia. We also benefit from the way their successes can promote Drupal's profile. If you think of Wordpress as strongly directed by the Mullenweg empire, and Torvalds as having remained above the commercial fray for most of his working life, Drupal (with Acquia employing some of the strongest developers) is perhaps somewhere between the two: a good place to be.

Having said that, there is room for creative tension in the Drupal communitiy, in the sense that the serious hobbyists, and the small-time professionals are likely to have different perspectives on community governance, product marketing, and software design, than are the players who customers are necessarily found more among relatively large and wealthy companies. It may be that we smaller Drupallers need a stronger voice, and find it harder to acquire, particularly where those developers from Dries down who have deservedly earned their authority are, naturally, aligned in terms of their professional life with companies whose clients tend to be larger Drupal users.

A second question is, whether it is right, or even possible, to attempt to engage with that kind of creative tension and represent the inclinations of the more numerous 'small' members of DA. And to do so potentially in tension with the thinking coming from the most powerful, but also the most generous contributors in terms of both code and money into the community. Or whether by contrast, the DA should take the position that we are all basically on the same page, and consider that the DA is wrong forum for issues which may be contentious.

The third question is whether promoting creative tension is likely to be good for Drupal, or just damaging.

My own view is that the quality of the software, the developer-minded style of the community, and the consensual (and charming) personal style which comes from Dries, are all wonderful contributions to the strength of Drupal. This means that there is room for a little more pazazz, a little more stirring thing up, a little more design-focus, and little more shouting from the roof tops to complement these excellent qualities which Drupal already has. The benefits will probably outweigh any little contentiousness there may be along the way. My view is also that that it would be healthy to see DA engaging in this arena rather than simply being a decent if low-key marketing and conference-organizing operation which stands aside from controversy. However, given the realities of the situation, in practice this may not be possible or realistic.

I wonder whether you have thoughts about this?

Incidentally I went off to Acquia's site to see whether it uses Druplicon. It makes very heavy reference to it, without, I think, using it in its original form ever. I have a lot of affection from the Druplicon, but I also admit that changing it may be good for Drupal's market penetration.

mortendk’s picture

When there is something that I burn for I get fired up with a ton of positive energy ? Isnt that how everything in Drupal has been done so far ? still love when webchick declared WAR! on the signature field - is that what you mean creative tension?

If there isnt room for tension, and a little yelling from the rooftops, im pretty sure that Drupal would not exist without a little passion & tension, and then a lot of hugging when the smoke have settled - I can get a little worried when developers slug it out in the issueques ;)

The community needs representation by members that have an ear to the ground, that can create a link from the Community to the board and vise versa. That demands for members that are highly visible, can deliver the message & listen to ideas, problems frustrations that are not their own, and bring them to the board. But also that have a strength to "get it done" Drupal are build on a culture of Deocracy.

One of the many things that we should be proud of in the Drupalsphere is that that were not like WordPress is married to one company ;)

Giving the history of the DrupalCommunity you can be sure there will be "DrupalDrama" in some way or another, what i see as a strenght above anything else is. We have a highly resopect among eachother, that i think the DrupalCOC discussion was a great example of.

Nobody says you can't use Druplicon :) But there is a need for an Alternative to it. - How that have become a part of this election process is a riddle to me, i think its a bit more intersting to look at what i can bring the board, in knowledge and workforce of the community ;)

Hope i answered you questions :)

John_B’s picture

Pretty much answered, yes.

I first became aware of the Druplicon issue from your writing, and it was immediately obvious to me that it many would perceive it a strongly symbolic of change, and changing the icon would be disliked by Drupalers with a conservative approach to the community.

The reality is the size of the community, and Drupal's penetration of high profile clients and the influence relatively big money (especially via the increasingly major contributions made by big Drupal shops) mean that structural change is with us anyway, like it or not. I would see bringing creative tension to DA as making DA one of the players and engines in that change, whereas many candidates seem to be focussed almost entirely on the DA's (undoubtedly important) support role.

mortendk’s picture

Well the whole Druplicon debat is imho totally out of proportions, and was raised by another candidate.

But anyways let me clear this up before it spreads into urban legends:
When i am talking about Druplicon its this specific design of "the Drop":
We have the drop all over the drupal world, that drop of water that acquia is also inspired at in their logo, my own company have a Pirate version of the drop ( its a normal part of the DNA.

What i said was that the Druplicon needs a fresh & modern version that can be used, as a general ident for the project. for events, camps, books, tshirts, 16*16 icons etc. and look smacking good - how come it looks so good in all these companies but for the Basic project it looks outdated & old?

The good old drop with eyes n stuff will still be around, hey we the 16 different versions of it for DrupaCon copenhagen :

the Drupal logo have changed over time ( we improve on it as we see a need for it, just as the code & right now Druplicon looks a little bit like 4.7 ;)

mortendk’s picture

When the whole Force of the Drupal Association Board and the full staff and not to mention countless of hours cannot get a 500 attendess DrupalCon to work in Sao Paulo, what do we think that traveling DrupalCon's around the world will restult in?
It would turn into a completely economycal ruin.

So lets build up local first, make things grow, let the community grow (as they did in eu & us) and slowly build up so it matches the needs in the regions. That will make Drupal grow internationally, not this "heres a drupalcon lets make it happen" dropped into regions as we kinda see fit.

It wont work, and we end up having communitys burned out, frustrated and that is even worse.

mortendk’s picture

Hey Ronald
I have given a very long answer to webchick about my perspective in moving Drupalcons around, copy pasting etc - think they answer most of you questions, but let me adress the last one:

"Think of what would happen if the IOC decided to hold "more" Olympic games to spead the love rather than have the Olympics move around the globe."
The magic of the Olympics would dissapear - a part of it is that theres 4 years between it, theres something to build up to, be hungry about, looking forward to. That wont happen the same way if it was there every year.

The same by having 4 DrupalCon's how would you ever become hungry for going. If you bankaccount was empty from the last time,
your didt not even have time to write a new module before you went to the next one.

We must not dilute the magic that drupalcon also it, and a part of that is also wanting it again to happen soon.
Just like X mas


mortendk’s picture

I wanna have as many big regional events as possible as long as we can handle them!
We have to be realistic & understand our history and how grow functions, and not killing whats already working.

We have a structure of events in the drupalworld that goes more or less like this:
1. User groups / meetups (copenhagen Drupøl)
2. Drupalcamps (Drupalcamp blabla)
3. Summits / regional events (frontendunted, dev days)
4. DrupalCon Eu & US

Drupalcon have more than one function:
* Codesprint with the other key players
* Make a ton of money for the Drupal project.
* Be a big event for big companies. good for promotion
* one place where “we all meet”
* Build relation ships across the borders
* Create a buzz & feeling of beeing bigger than 200 at the local camp, so you all fired up untill the next one

copy - paste Drupalcon X

There seems to be an idea that yo can just copy and paste an event from one region to each other - You cant just take "Drupalcon USA" and then move it to Sao Paulo and then expect 4000 people to show up there in May 2013 instead of in portland. We cant expect the sponsors, and we cant expect the speakers, and we cant expect the attendees to go.
Sorry that wont happend no matter how much somebody might dream of this - You cant just move an event that is rooted in a region and that specific culture, around a whole bunch of people (and their relations to eachoter) and think it can be exported to any other region with a magic wand.
Copy paste dosnt function with humans & relationship & the history an event have.
Drupalcon is a whole bunch more than just a wifi+speakers+beer, and its about time we begin to be proud of that and Respect that!

Build up Regions naturally

Each region needs to build up its own identity, needs to build up its own history and feel. It needs to have a community around it that wanna build it, local business that can see a reason to support it, knowledge of how to plan events, social activities around it and so forth.
This is what we have build up in europe now, along side of Drupalcon eu, as the flagship. We found a need to have a “Frontend Regional Camp”, “developer Days” & “business days” all regional events, but with another focus.

Drupalcon is in my eyes This hge Event where all the “top geeks” rolls in (core dev, rockstars in my eyes) its the “Olympics of Drupal” The number of attendees numbers are big, its hard to get you session in (getting picked out of 600 sessions feels good) The demand for a speaker is getting higher, so you know its top Quality, cause so much work have gone into it.

We have 2 big flagships that are proudly building their own identities US beeing more business, Europe beeing more developer
2 events that we all know is gonna be there and we know what to expect. So we can use that as a point for releases etc in the Drupalworld. Dont think it was a coinsidence that the Wunderkraut merger was announced at Drupalcon, and not at Drupal usergroup meetin in Stockholm.

How would it feel when you rolled into “DrupalCon Vojens” that only had Drupalcon put on there as a name? 400 attendees showed up cause it was not in America or Europe, The speaker list was a little “thin” (well it got the driesnote), lack of core developers, not the buzz and hype, and 40 % of all sessions were in “jysk” (a danish dialect) Would that help anything on a global scale? Would that help Drupal grow in that region, or would that leave everybody with a taste of failure in their mouth. Cause they were expecting this kick ass huge event, and now it was just a “big camp”

Why is bad that we make South America, Africa, Asia build up their own Regional events based on their culture, their needs, their business culture? When these events have a volume & a drive that can match the Drupalcons then they can carry that badge, not before.

Drupalcon is a brand now and we need to protect it, ther is something to expect from a DrupalCon, its expected its big, massive awesome magick & kicking ass. Lets not devaluate our biggest brands, just because we wanna see the name Drupalcon all over, cause it gives somebody an idea of Total World Domination.

Use case Sao Paulo

Look at what happend in Sao Paulo after years of planning and the whole full support of the DA and the Staff: It got cancelled!
If the whole might of the Drupal Association & the full support of the Staff + 3 years of planning and “countless of hours” cannot move a Drupalcon to South America.
Do we then really wanna experiment moving DrupalCon around each year between different cultures, languages barriers, new sponsors logist problems etc
I have one anwer for that NO! This will resolve in one thing: A DrupalCon that would die, quicker than we could post an issueque with the subject “It Dont work”

We must build upon what we have, learn from what goes well. learn from what goes bad. and spread that knowledge, so regional events can grow on their own pace. When an event grows to be of a volume that is DrupalCon sized, then its a DrupalCon. I dont belive that will happen the next year, see how many years we have struggeld in Europe & the States to make it happen

Are we not beeing realistic about this will end up in more Sao Paulo accidents, and that is not a thing anybody can live with, No matter how much we wish we can copy past DrupalCons all over the world.

Hope it answered you question and why i belive in local growth based on what that region can handle, needs & will become better with.
This demands patience & a whole lot of human interaction, understanding on what a region needs, gathering of data from other events, networkd etc. there are no easy quick solutions to this, but there is a solution: Grow event in your own tempo

linclark’s picture

You keep framing the opposing argument as "World Domination". I believe that the intent of the SA DrupalCon was the exact opposite of "Total World Domination".

Instead, the effort seemed to be about ensuring that historically dominant cultures (where historical accident has focused power for the last 500 years, i.e. the US and Western Europe) aren't the only centers of power and influence in the Drupal world. Making sure that decisions about core aren't just made far away from our Latin American contributors, but also close to home where they have a chance to engage. This is an effort of empowerment, not domination.

You ask "Do we then really wanna experiment moving DrupalCon around each year between different cultures, languages barriers, new sponsors logist problems"

I believe that we DO want to engage with this challenge because it is in line with our core value of community and inclusion. I think projecting this core value is much more important to our brand than making sure that we have a polished corporate event every time in every place.

mortendk’s picture

Maybe the intent was completely different, but it still looks to me like a case of TWD

offcourse we wanna encourage local events to grow up, anything else would be stupid :)

But we cant be blind for the effect that a brand has.
By adding Drupalcon to everything, dosnt make em Epic, so why do it if it dosnt live up to some criterias

linclark’s picture

Adding "DrupalCon" to an event does increase the likelihood that core developers or other major contributors will go, though... and if the goal was to make it easier for Latin American contributors to interact with those contributors and influence core development, then that is the important thing.

For example, I considered going to Sao Paulo because it was a DrupalCon. There are a variety of reasons I chose not to go, and collecting that information from more people would probably be a good next step.

However, if I had heard that there were too few session proposals, then I would have submitted a proposal and committed to going. I don't mean to suggest that simply soliciting more sessions was a solution to the problem. But what I do believe is that there are many core contributors who feel the same way I do—that it is important for us to diminish the barriers that contributors from outside the privileged areas of the US and Western Europe face. The messaging and organization that would get these similarly minded folks to come wasn't in place this time. That doesn't mean the whole effort is a guaranteed failure from the start.

webchick’s picture

Thanks, Lin. You're exactly right on.

Also, to correct a few things in Morten's reply:

1) São Paulo was most definitely *not* a "copy/paste event." DrupalCon São Paulo was to be an event that celebrated and immersed attendees in Brazilian culture, with sessions in both Portuguese and English, etc. while at the same time ensuring standard items people are used to seeing at a DrupalCon like a "Driesnote" and a code sprint (led by a Drupal core committer, no less).

We are not interested in assimilation, and forcing North American and European ideals/cultural norms on other parts of the world. That's called colonialism, not growing our international community. :)

2) The proposal was never to have 6 DrupalCons a year (though other nominees are proposing that as a goal. It was to have 3 per year, NA, EU, and the third rotating between SA and Australasia/Asia. I think the timing between BR and AU was too close for comfort, but one was in 2012 and the other in 2013, so that does jive with this general goal.

Now, clearly (for a whole host of reasons, visa requirements among them), this didn't work out in São Paulo. I don't think at all that this means we should stop trying, though.

It is, however, a very good point that before we attempt to run a DrupalCon in a location, we need to ensure that successful 400+ person events have run there by local teams. This is true of Australia w/ Drupal Down Under, and DrupalCon Sydney looks to be on a strong path to success.

mortendk’s picture

1 Fair enough Sao Paulo was not a copy paste job - fair must be fair. That can explain other things (The resources that was used,hours that was assigned to the procject... ) - guess we can use other names than are more appropiate for what that kind of job that was ;)

2. Im just going with the number 6 out of what i heard in the drupalVerse / on the long halls of DrupalCons, that it was a future goal, by "people" (dont think it will do any good in a principel debate to point fingers)

You are reading my post opposite of what im saying, which isnt really very fair, but ok I am a candite so i better get used to it ;)
Please go back again and read what im writing about building up events in regions, so they can stand on their own. How we must help them out but where it must be done based on the local values. There is no way im talking about giving up or not helping growing quite the opposite.

The value in having few event that we now all the "key players" are gathered at for a week. Where we can go really deep into discussions, or as a Developer said to me after the 10 hour long marathon theme discussion I had in Munich "Its not so much about submitting issues, as its importent to be in the room, when the real discussions are taking place" If we end up having "to many" Key Conferences, the developers have to choose where they will go, and make the chances of meeting eachother smaller (not to mention draining they wallets)

Lets talk about South America . which i think the DA owns to make an event happen one day - damn they must feel so gutted. I truly understands em, having had my turns with event planning & the DA, theres scars that can prove it.

So when can we (maybe) begin to talk about having a DrupalCon in SA - something like these criterias should be checked off as a minimum:
* There needs to be a local team, in that city, that knows the city (so no busses throught ghetto areas etc)
* the language barrier isnt south America 90% spanish speaking, and Portuguese is only spoken in Brazil ?
* Visa isn't an issues, else the dream of coredevs flying in is a pibedream
* the local team have a couple of camps on their shoulders 400+ fx
* There is a network of speakers, sponsors, attendees in the country and outside the country.
* The venue, locant and hotels etc are attractive - so it can lure people in, now that its not "the usual Drualcon"
* The portland staff is really ready to take on another DrupalCon, in their normal workload.

Then we have an event that can begin to be something, so it has a chance of becoming a succes for that region Not a 4000 attendes powerhouse but an event that will create energy, business growth, oppeprtunities & Drupal love.

We are much agreeing upon the timing & that they are put to close together, it was not so smart to fill up the ocean with "DrupalCons" all over - you can say as much as you want that it wasnt 4 in a year but from Denver (munich, Sao Paulo, Australia) Portland: That is 4 conferences all called DrupalCon. and only 2 of them are "real" DrupalCons (as the knows em) that certently didnt help

To keep us in the Flagship terminology: We wanna rock the boat so new and exciting things happen, but we dont wanna sink the ship (as it happend in Sao Paulo.)

mortendk’s picture

So i saw today that DrupalCon Sydney is open for tickets - Which is truly awesome!

But it screams into my eyes that you are stating here
" We are not interested in assimilation, and forcing North American and European ideals/cultural norms on other parts of the world. That's called colonialism, not growing our international community. :) "
Then 8 days later the Tickets for DrupalCon Sydney are not in AUD but in American Dollars.
The last time i checked its only in the US that the USD currency are accepted as local currency - i might be wrong i have never been in Australia. The DrupalCon Sydney is clearly marketed to the locals (Australia & NZ) so I guess they have changed currencies over night?

Maybe its me, that dont understand symbolic values or need new glasses but isnt that pushing Cultural Norms? - or can we expect DrupalCon Prague to be in USD or are we gonna use greek drachma's instead, or will DrupalCon Portland shift to Using Danish Crowns - cause thats the currency of kings ?

This might have a practical issue (not worrying about currency rates - for the Drupal Associations staff in portland) but this look to me as the DA is doing exactly what you are saying they are not - Please correct me if im wrong?

This was exactly one of the things that have made sponsor sales & the communities in Europe feeling alienated before, but apparently that memo from 2010 wasnt kept on file?

I know that Sydney gonna be a kickass event as "Drupal Down Under" was - But These mixed signals gotta stop and they gotta stop now! - its unbearing to watch as a non us citizen, the "small mistakes" likes this keeps throwing shadows over our project, and make us all look like "a bunch of yankee's that dont know theres other currencies in the world" (yes im stereotyping)
i know that is NOT what anyone wants, and that is hurting our international profile.

How can the DA board members aprove this & well knowing the signal value that it sends, not only in australia but in the whole world?

And to make it very clear, this is probably just a "DA brainfart" ;) - but seriously it makes me cry on the inside. We wanna win the World we wanna make this so epic & great, lets stop stepping on our own toes :)

sime’s picture

Morten, this sort of detail doesn't worry most people in Australia who I speak to. (Maybe if it was in British pounds then we'd get a bit miffed.)

I see that you are just jumping to conclusions here, and the conclusion coincidentally seems to support your argument. I just can't imagine that anyone would make Drupalcon organization harder than it already is by choosing the currency based on ideals of cultural dominance - we choose what is easiest and then we go and get pissed.

For example, Australians all know what USD/AUD is about 1:1, whereas yanks get confused about it. So by choosing USD, you have increased the likelihood of attracting more Americans (California is very very close compared to Europe). At the same time, no-one in South-east Asia cares because they think in USD before they think in AUD.

I am not an organising for DC Sydney, so I'm just conjecturing about the reason, but I can think of other reasons why USD makes more sense than AUD, so I really don't sympathise with your point.

I do see that you value "sending the right message" over "practical decisions". I'm personally running for the board to make practical decisions, I think if we both got on the board then it would bring a nice balance ;)

mortendk’s picture

Drupal is international & what the DA does will reflect on all of us, if we like it or not.
If we wanna get rid of the (apparently false ) accusations that the DA is an US centric organization, then we have to stop sending messages as this - as you say you would have been a little miffed it was british pounds, so local currency do have a signal value ;)

This is destroying for changing the perception of the DA to be an international org. we keep doing these simple mistakes again & again. Its not that hard to see the symbolic value that can be "misunderstood" here.

How can we go out say "Become a member of the DA International Organization" - when the answer to that will be "But its an american organization that dosn't care about anything else than the US - the DA even forced the dollar down the throath of the Australians & then took over the Drupal Down Under conference", and who can blame anyone for thinking that? If we wanna change the current tide of frustration in the Drupal Community, we must at least be able to not do feed the throlls ;)

If you wanna talk about a "practical solution" then this is not attracting more members. More members = more money in the bank, and the DA is now what 80-90% dependent on DrupalCon's - the DA need more members, That is as "practical" as it can be, this is directly destroying recruitment.
"practical decisions"? its pretty simple what we have to do - start learning to communicate to an international audience isn't that what we want ?

I am hellbent on changing this, cause I see a community so Awesome that it deserves to not be alienated by its own organization. Lets work forward & learn from the past. Make the Drupal Association an organization for the whole world just as the whole community is.

*phew* pulse is down again


apparently the ozzys & nz like american dollars & its "normal" to do conferences in usd down under. im pushing a suggestion to change the word to something a little bit more clear, that will hopefully remove the bad signal value

sime’s picture

I am not convinced that US-oriented decisions have a negative affect on membership numbers. Sure, I believe that *you* have anecdotal evidence of it. but was is this opinion backed up by Association surveys or something?

My anecdotal evidence is that people perceive the DA doesn't add value to them (benefits, certfication, discounts) and also that they won't become a member until it is tax-deductible in their country.

So, really, this AUD thing is a non-issue. I'd personally prefer if you stopped using it as evidence to support your beliefs here. But, I guess that when you tweet about it it gives advertising to DrupalCon Sydney, so honestly that's great.

mortendk’s picture

We dont need a survey to see that frustration have been running for years in europe and that the DA have been accused of beeing US centric.
Boardmembers have stepped down in protest, movement towards an "EU DA", alternative DrupalCon have been on the table - This should be common knowledge. Small things like this currency will be used as arguments that the DA is US focused - maybe not in Australia - But they will in europe (and my guess is South America) You can choose to ignore it, like having DrupalCon EU in the French summer vacation) but that wont make it go away. It maybe not fair towards the DA, or even relevant That is just how it is.
I Do talked with australians that are "a bit annoid" with the USD decisions, but are not calling out, "woudnt change anything anyways" that is understandable not all battles are worth fighting.

The DA provides a HUGE benefit to all of us: but they are been able to tell that story with the noise: lack of transparency, us centric (and a lot of other stuff)All that is pretty easy to change, if we learn to tell the right story every time misunderstandings are possible (and that we know will be issues)

In this case it would be :
"Hey we are using USD, even that we know its a local DrupalCon for the aussie & nz's - It makes it easier for the DA to handle the money and Local tax"
- there done! all happy & it make sense to people that are all ready frustrated.

if tax issues for 30$ is an issue, then we really have a whole other problem, that nobody is getting payed;)

Now I can understand you are interested in my views both political & tactical approaches to make the DA international - I would love to hear your views on those, if possible. They are focused on my view from Scandinavie & i think it would be interesting to hear how these would work with Australians. I have gotten response from several Sitting Board Memebers & other candidates allready in the thread - so whats you views on this ?

I dont think you have to be worried for sydney the 200 tickets left (- speakers & sponsors) should be sold out by the end of next week & I have off course promoed it in my networks So dont be worried about that :)

btw the DA dont provide certifications - but thats gonna be a fun issue in the future ;)

meichr’s picture

During DrupalCon Munich I decided to get a DA membership to finally also support that way. The only thing was that I was told at the bookshop, I would not be able to do it in person, only online (I thought I buy it together with a membership t-shirt personally).

A week ago, when I read about the election here I was motivated to finally sign up online, only to find out that by trying to pay the EUR 22 I would have to sign up for a PayPal account. Why not just Visa I thought, because I didn't like to be forced to get a PayPal membership just for paying my DA membership.

When I wrote to the DA support about it, they let me know, that by paying in USD I could pay by plain Visa, no PayPal needed. Thanks to that info I have a USD DA membership now, but I also could have not asked and left again - maybe frustrated - by not knowing the work around with USD.

I think Morten has a big point with those many small things which a non-American can point out and thus help the DA board in getting accepted much better world wide.

And as I wrote between the lines, I don't mean I didn't want to pay in USD to solve my case - I just didn't want to have to sign up for a PayPal account.

And as a European I was given no choice, just Paypal, while as a US citizen I can pay by many credit cards and even by cheque.

Just my two € cents ;-).

mortendk’s picture

One of the points i have tried to make the last couple of years is that its "the little things" that matters. Like feeling included & not having to battle uphill to get anything done, even the simple things like becoming a member of the DA. or not bee forced to register a paypal account, or just beeing able to pay in a normal accept curreny. - Could you see the outrage in the US if the DA only accepted euros ;)

Not being able to become a member at a DrupalCon is flat out Stupid :(
That we didnt roll out of DrupalCon munich with 400 new members is a little disaster, it was a bucket of money (to run the d.o servers etc) that was just standing there & waited to be picked up.

So you did manage to become a member at last ?

sime’s picture

Thanks Morten. I've got a whole heap of good stuff out of this conversation. I wrote up my own thoughts about regional events here:

webchick’s picture

You rightly point out that the DA continues to struggle with being perceived as not transparent enough, despite:

I'm genuinely interested in suggestions on what we can do to be even more open and transparent. Because as far as I can tell, we're already engaging in open discussion with the community (or trying, anyway), and we already provide a clear report of actions and decisions at board meetings, etc. I'm sure you're right that the website structure and SEO could use some work (cobbler's shoes and all that), but do you have other concrete suggestions?

mortendk’s picture

Hey Webchick
The problem could be solved by going out and do something a little bit different, somebody might even calling it charming the memberes.

The DA and the staff

We are the DA!
* Do a 10 minuts quick n dirty video from the DA Retreat in portland (or after badcamp) 10 minuts of quick run down of what it is the DA does. whos who & what it is were trying to get done
* a simple pitcture of each of our proud members of the board and 2 minuts of "hi my name is" - so we can put a face on the members of the board.
* A blog post after each Board meeting that summons up in plain words what was disucced. so its easy to find - Something that is not meeting minuts hidden down in a google drive somewhere.

This is the staff
I wanna se pictures of em, i wanna figure out who they are. I wanna know what jacobs favorite records are, I wanna see pictures from the office, wanna know if my poster i gave megan is hanging on the wall. i wanna see them as human beeings, not a name in a email. Right now the staff is just a bunch of text, maybe a half user profile.

This is all about telling our community who is it that we have hired & look how goddamn cool they are.
“Hey We got them just for you, So you can kick more ass, so go out and write some code cause they are taking care of business”

what is the staff do for the Drupal Community
* What it is that the staff can do for me & my user group / company retreat/birthday party - "oooh hey the can send me a "build a camp box" so i can actually use them to something awesome!" Right there we killed off the "what are they doing for me crap", its visible what the DA are, and what the staff does.

Hell gimme a tweet out from the “@DAportlandoffice-coffemaker” whenever they are in dire need of coffe - something that we can laugh about - We are a community that have a pretty good sense of humour, that binds us to gether, am i the only one that still can smile over “chxcantbedistracted”?
This gives us a connection to the people on the board and on the staff Now its Not just an office in portland or a board where a bunch of “Americans are talking & doing nothing” - Jacob might even end up getting demotapes from obscure jazz bands around the world ;)

Okay so that was the staff & the DA let me take another one (hey you got me started)

Meet people where they are

An issue that makes people go bunkers each 6 months could be handled. DrupalCon is announced & early bird tickets are set to sale for XXX amount The community are rising up screaming against the sky "Why do Drupalcon tickets cost a Fortune“!

Usual answer from the DA is “Its not expensive compared with other professional conferences”. - which is completely true!
The problem here is that a large part of the community dosnt go to macWorld or WMware conferences, they go to Usergroup meetings, FOSDEM, free or almost free events, local Drupalcamps & then DrupalCon. In their reality it expensive, not to forget how fx it must feel if you in a country with a lower income that we have in Denmark or USA. Noone from the DA or the Staff or the local Group that helps out with doing the conference answers the outcry. Instead its met with complete silence
“Let them just scream on its gonna go away in a couple of days, dont worry” (and thats a quote)

Now people, are both angry over a price that is ten times as much as their usual ticket price for a camp - They also gets frustrated and that feeling dont go away, even after the tickets are sold they are still standing back with a feeling that they payed a shit ton and that the DA didnt take em serious when the were frustrated, maybe like little kids, but guess what thats how it is.

So to solve this problem how about this:
“ Drupalcon Portland! Tickets are XXXUSD for early bird in Portland- A price we think is amazing and cheap!
WE know that a camp is much cheaper but theres a reason for this, when you have events for more than 600 attendees, everything begin to be very expensive, that is just how it is nothing we can do about it, unless we have to go back and do 500 attendees conferences”

Last year in Denver/munich a ticket for XXXUSD was covering this:
Coffe: X Venue + stuff: X Food: X Web: X Staff: X
a quick round of rought numbers of what a ticket was actually paying for.

/drupalcon Portland

There no more moaning people can see why it cost what it does. We remove the myths and meet people where they are.

This is a battle of the hears and minds that will go on nomatter how unfair it seems, The DA came out bad from the start & have screwed up things over the years, but just as we all know that the code what we did yesterday was crap... What were doing tomorrow will be awesome!
Lets take the same approach with the Drupal Association. Then Show an open face, meet people where they are & join hands + kick ass

Hope that answers your questions & can give a little bit of input to remove the gray dull non transparent non communicating image thats attached to the DA which is really not fair.

webchick’s picture

Awesome! Great suggestions! :D Thanks, Morten.

As a side note, I've never been a fan of early bird pricing, because the data shows that those tickets overwhelmingly go to people who are already gainfully employed in Drupal (as they're the only ones who know 6+ months in advance that they'll be able to make it to DrupalCon), so the people you're concerned about end up paying full-price anyway, or else simply don't go. :( The scholarship program and free admittance for speakers have helped off-set this burden more than early-bird prices have, IMO.

But I think regardless if we do early bird pricing for Sydney/Portland, more transparency around the cost of the ticket is a great idea.

mortendk’s picture

you are welcome - and thanks for asking :)
i am sure you are listening & thanx for kicking ass to make the DA more transparent - that rocks!

bjlewis2’s picture

I was just reading your points about people who are going to go anyway are the ones who get the early bird tickets. Have you thought about not selling early bird tickets, and using the difference to provide additional scholarships?

1000 early bird tickets sold at $300 ($100 off each)
2000 regular tickets sold at $400

if all 3000 were sold at $400, the $100,000 difference could be used to provide additional scholarships.

Just a thought...

mortendk’s picture

I am pretty sure that the freelancers, unimploied, startups, well all attendess would like to have a cut in the drupalcon ticket. And not forgetting the developers who are not from the "rich part" of the world (west europe, the states etc)
If we are looking at lowering prices for certain groups, it should be based on income or need instead of a student status, simple as that.

If we wanna get more students enrolled then its maybe not only a cheaper ticket to a DrupalCon thats the way forward. Instead focusin on the local network & events that are closer to the groups we wanna atract would be the way forward.

In Europe some of us are working on creating BIG, but cheap as hell conferences for specific groups: Developer Days & Frontend United + the Business days. for the suits ;)


sime’s picture

The DA came out bad from the start & have screwed up things over the years.

In my opinion, the Association has done an extremely good job with the resources it has had, right from the outset.

mortendk’s picture

They have done a good job with the resources they had, but that dosnt make the start better, or make people stop complaining over transparency issues, ticket prices or the feel of alienation.
We must not be afraid to critize and then find solutions

sime’s picture

I agree, we must not be afraid to speak our mind. Just like I am not afraid to say that the DA has done a great job.

Anonymous’s picture

Hi Morten,

Thanks for your nomination, it's great to see so many people who are so passionate about Drupal putting themselves forward!

I want to pick up on one point you mention about the Drupal Association engaging with the community. The Drupal Association, myself included, have spent a lot of time over the last few years and especially the last few months setting up a Branding and Marketing Committee, not in order to create 'chains of command', but to set in place a system which enables the community at large to be involved in the branding and marketing of Drupal. This was to merge the various efforts going on in branding and marketing around the Drupalsphere and provide one space where everyone who wants to can contribute and have their say, and those who want to do stuff can.

We had a BoF in Munich on this but you didn't attend. You did however have your own BoF entitled "Respect the Drupal Brand" where you discussed how the Druplicon "must die" and the Drupal logo should be changed according to what you thought was good as a designer.

Upon being informed again of the Branding and Marketing Committee by Marta from the Drupal Association, and the fact that this was an area which we're all interested in, your response was:

"I think what we should focus on is actually getting the actual work done. I mean all the talking, all that thing, fuck it, because everybody can do that"

and proceeded to have a separate group on gdo where you are working on branding away from the work being done by the Branding and Marketing Committee.

I am wondering how this fits into your statement above about engaging with the community, and how this "lone ranger" attitude fits in with a role as a community-elected Director, where your role is to Direct and lead as opposed to taking your own views and running with them, especially when talking about something as precious to the community as the Drupal logo.

So my question is, in essence, do you think you will be able to step back and see the wood for the trees and engage more of the community in these sorts of potentially big changes to Drupal and its brand?

mortendk’s picture

Hey Steve.
I have already tried to explain to several Marketing plan Committe members that we need to create som Designs else we will never move forward. I now understand that this is a big issue that needs to be brought into the election for the Drupal Associan board. Im glad though that this gives me a chance to clear a couple of misunderstandings, that im sorry i have not been able to clear out before:

Drupal should be visual appealing!

The "Respect the Brand" in Munich was to get designers into the room. I made it very clear "This BOF will be for Visual skilled people - yup we dont care about the code or the way it used to be, we care about how drupal looks." Its not Marketing plans, code etc its about how Drupal Looks.

As i remember what i said was something like this:
We can sit and talk all day and have done now for now for 6 years - Drupal still looks like a project made by geeks for geeks. So fuck the talk - everybody can do that (!) We are designers - we create stuff, lets make thingies that the community can use: How about we start with a design for a DrupalCamp"

"Lets kill that XXX", its means something like this in design lingo "what we have dosnt work, it needs a complete makeover, lets dig in and see what we can use & create a new thing, that is better" If somebody wanna keep Druplicon alive, well go ahead - We wanna create a better alternative.

We talked with Mark (who did the Drupal wordmark) after the bof to join inand help creating a Design manual and "fuck around with the Druplicon to make it better" marks reponse was something along these lines: "Yeah i would much like that, but how are you gonna work with all the noise in the community”…

As a marketing/branding guy you should now that it make no sense to not have a logo or ident that can follow the Drupal wordmark. That is what were looking into doing, im not so sure its so precious to the community.

g.d.o & Noise

We know that Design By comitte & the dredded idea about a "design contest" endes up in nothing. we knwo the noise rate in a geek community towards designers is extremely high.
It was discussed to not even have a group at the bof. But it was agreed anyway to do a group, so we had a place to share the design files. when there was something to show.It took a couple of Marketing committe members no time to fill up the Visual Branding of Drupal group with complaints, over a seperate group. As a consequence of that, we are now hiding in basecamp working, without noise.

We are Cowboys and on Steel Horses we ride

Steve you ask do you think you will be able to step back and see the wood for the trees and engage more of the community in these sorts of potentially big changes to Drupal and its brand?

Its been clear from the start, that we were there to "get shit done". When we had a design that was ready for public eyes it would be put on g.d.o
We are now doing that work, but away from the praying eyes of marketing people, geeks, nerds & even the mighty DA. to make sure we can get a draft done and we have room, silence and a better tool than Groups to do what we do best: “Create Design Files”
Like every other project in the Drupal Universe. No one expects a Module to be released in a version before it actually do something, do they?

We wanna make Drupal look Wonderfull - as good as it does on the inside. That is not gonna happen with the “design by committee” approach.
You can be 101% sure that everything were working on will be released to the community:
* The draft for a Design Manual for Drupalcamps
* a Design + theme for DrupalCamps
* concepts for a better Druplicon
* a concept for unifying the Drupal wordmark and a "drop" icon
* colors
* fonts
* icons

We would all love to see it beeing used, abused, forked, hacked, redone and redisgned hundred of times as everything else we do int the Drupal Community, that will only make it better. We hope our efforts will start a little revolution. I am pretty sure that the work you guys are doing in the Branding and Marketing Committee will become easier when you have something pretty to work with.
the Branding and Marketing Committee should focus on what they are good at, and let us get some work done.

Nobody belives in leadership without clear standpoints, a clear vision and the guts to follow through. I belive in leading by example and ride first into battle. Guess that the first man one the field can look like a "lone ranger"
I have the scars that proves my ability to lead & direct not just my own itches (Drupalcon, frontend awareness, lead of 3 international design camps, 3 cph camps etc)

Hope this clears up the misunderstandings :) and gives you complete faith in my abilities to lead & direct on behalf and for the Drupal community.

Anonymous’s picture

Thanks for your reply Morten. With respect, I still disagree somewhat as one of the major issues is that we have just kept doing stuff without actually stepping back and asking whether they are potentially the right things to do.

Whilst I do believe more design has to be done, I just think it's a shame it couldn't have been incorporated into what we are doing in the BAM group structure so it's more inclusive - it's still a break-away group just doing their own thing, and with the focus on the core Drupal logo itself, it feels a little like as if Drupal core had its own breakaway group saying "oh we don't care about these initiatives we're just going to go and do our own".

As for the quote, I took that directly from the audio recording of the BoF, haven't got round to publishing it yet, have about 8 BoF sessions from Munich I still need to sort out.

I do hope at some point you see the value of BAM, it would help if we had people like yourself and George on board, not least to assist those who don't know how the d.o and g.d.o systems work navigate their way into how they can contribute - we're getting there but would be great to have you guys there too.

All the best with the elections,


mortendk’s picture

I am not interested in the pissing match's thats apparently are going in the marketing world. taking that issue into these pages for an election like you doing here is imho out line.

Its awesome that marketing suits sits back and make big strategic thoughts, it looks like an impressive & very big task your group wanna do, so why not just go do it? :)
Why you and the BAM group are so fired up over 4-6 designers that are trying to make a design for Drupal, is beond my imagination. it would be so nice if there was a respect for the design process, instead of this.

We are a group of graphic designers - We are doing design files (.psd, .ai, .indd etc) OK i cant make it any clearer.

Now im gonna go play with crayons.

gdemet’s picture

As one of the folks who attended Morten's branding BOF at DrupalCon Munich, and as the person who created the "Visual Branding of Drupal" g.d.o. group, I can hopefully provide some clarity and perspective.

I have to say, though, that I am unclear why Steve has decided to re-open now what the rest of us thought was something that was resolved several weeks ago.

As many folks in the Drupal community know, Morten's been involved in Drupal community branding and design work for quite some time. Not only is he well known for his awesome Geek Royale Drupal t-shirts, he was also responsible for the official Drupal Association t-shirt, and the entire branding and identity platform for DrupalCon Copenhagen.

My understanding is that Morten decided to hold the BOF at Munich largely in response to a discussion on g.d.o earlier this summer about holding an annual design contest for a Drupal Association t-shirt ( This discussion generated several conversations with Drupal Association staff members and others about how we best could harness the talents of Drupal's creative community to help promote Drupal and the Association, and Morten's proposal for this BOF came out of those conversations.

The Munich BOF was attended by about a dozen folks from representing Drupal's design community from around the world. It was also attended by Steve Purkiss and Marta Betts, who serve on the Drupal Association's Branding and Marketing Committee (Marta is also an Association staff member responsible for the DA's marketing initiatives). I do not recall Steve raising any of the objections or concerns that he's raising now during that BOF.

My recollection is that most of what we discussed was how to make sure that designers and other creative professionals had the tools they needed to contribute to the Drupal community, as issue queues are not conducive to creative work. We discussed how designers could work using their own tools and environments, but still have a place for common information and outreach to other creative professionals in the Drupal community, which is how the idea of creating a g.d.o group came up. I do not recall Steve objecting to that idea during the BOF.

We also discussed how the efforts of designers within the Drupal community could be coordinated with the efforts being undertaken by the Drupal Association and other folks, like jam's Drupal Camp Kit initiative.

I agreed to coordinate with Marta and the other folks on the Branding and Marketing Committee to make sure that there was no duplication of effort and that we were all working together toward shared goals. I also said that I would create a g.d.o group that everyone in the BOF would be invited to. Marta and I also had a follow-up conversation after the BOF where we talked about how the creative community could help support the Association's ongoing marketing initiatives.

I created the g.d.o group a couple of days later, and let everyone know via e-mail I received back acknowledgments from several folks, including the DA's Branding and Marketing committee chair, Ben Finklea, who said, "This is great! Thanks George."

Steve also sent out a bunch of e-mails to the folks who were in the BOF sharing some of the resources that the Branding and Marketing committee had already put together and asking folks to provide feedback on the work he'd been doing on the g.d.o "Marketing of Drupal" group. At no time did he raise any of the objections he's raising now.

That's why I was really surprised and confused when just a couple days later, Steve posted a discussion asking for the visual branding group to be merged with the marketing group, saying that he didn't like its "energy". Other folks on the DA's Branding and Marketing Committee weighed in as well, so I offered a clarification reiterating what we had discussed and reached a consensus on in the Munich BOF:

Following this and a response from Morten, Ben Finklea suggested ending the discussion, supporting whatever decision the design community wanted to make. Steve posted in agreement, saying that he was "Happy for this discussion to be closed and hidden/removed":

Sadly, by that point, I think many of the folks who were drawn to the group in the first place had already left because they (very understandably) didn't want to be exposed to what must have appeared to be pointless political drama. If so, that's really unfortunate, because creating a place where designers and other creative professionals could work free of drama and other distractions was one of our goals, and we completely failed to do that.