Flickr photo: AdisfansnetI have the great good fortune to be in Sydney this week for DrupalCon Sydney, a sold out event of over 400 attendees!  So far, the Aussies have proven to be amazing hosts, and rabid Drupal fans. Since this is my first DrupalCon, I thought I would share with you what I've been learning as I take it all in. Unsurprisingly, what I learned turned out to be a whole lot of fun!

Dries's Keynote:

This was my first chance to hear Dries share his vision for the future of the Drupal Project, a future that might not exist without Drupal itself. As it turns out, the White House petition site, We the People, is a Drupal site. It was designed to help ordinary Americans find a voice in the federal government by creating petitions. At the time, any petition with 25,000 signatures in the first 30 days would receive an official response from the White House. Naturally, the good nerds of the Internet set up a petition asking the Obama administration to build a Death Star. Luckily, the Obama administration remains opposed to blowing up planets, and thus the world, nay the universe, is saved. Thanks Drupal!

Small footnote to this story, just last month, the White House increased the number of signatures required for a response to 100,000. And not surprisingly, it's hard to keep a good nerd down. There's now a Kickstarter campaign to build that Death Star. They're only looking for $30,000,000! Donate your $15 and you could have your name etched onto the underneath of on of the MSE-6-Series repair droids used on the finished station. Way cooler than naming a star.

On the serious side, Dries laid out a vision for Drupal that I think we can all get behind - fueling 10% of the web. Right now, we estimate that Drupal runs about 3% of the web, including some very big sites, but there's room for lots more growth. How is D8 going to get us there? By pushing Drupal closer to Web Experience Management (WEM), helping Drupal site attract, engage, convert, and retain their audiences. That means making some big changes to Drupal itself, and it also means increasing the integration points with other web services, and ensuring those integrations are broad. In short, Drupal needs to become the center of an integrated online ecosystem.

Getting to 10% also means growing the Drupal economy. We'll need more startups focused on niche markets and the specific tools and services they need. We'll also need more large agencies. While we always want to maintain the spirit of the Drupal community, its the big clients that large agencies attract that can help us push the envelope for Drupal's functionality faster.

Right now, we're at a pivotal point in the web. The transition to WEM is an opportunity for Drupal to sprint ahead of the competition and lead the field. And this is just the group to get that done! 

(Oh, and his keynote is already up on the DrupalCon Sydney site!)

Community Track:

Since our job at the Drupal Association is about the community (and, thankfully, not the code - I have a LONG way to go there), I spent my non-meeting time in the community sessions today. We had a lot of great conversations about what it takes to recruit and support community members, as well as how the DA can better serve you. I'll have more specific thoughts about that as I get my sea legs under me and have a chance to connect with more of the community and work with staff to develop some specific plans. But one thing I CAN promise, is that I am 100% pro-fun. Whimsy and absurdity are two of my favorite things (after bacon and bad 80's music), so please expect some of that at the DrupalCons in short order.

Though, it seems that you have the corner on whimsy and absurdity. I was delighted to learn about the Drupal Rap and the Drupal Song today. 

Drupal Rap - Monster (remix) feat. A.Hughes and D.Stagg

Drupal Song Live at DrupalCon San Francisco

Also - a huge thank you to our local lead Syndey organizers, Owen Lansbury, all our volunteers this week, Board member Donna Benjamin, and all our DrupalCon sponsors.

And that about sums it up for Day 1 of #DrupalCon Sydney. Now, what can I learn about how the Drupal Community handles happy hour?