This is part one in a series of blog posts about the Drupal Community. There is NO SHORTAGE of posts on this topic, but I wanted to take the time to tell my story of how I got here and what the Drupal community means to me.
If you have ever attended one of my private or public trainings then chances are good that you have heard me utter the phrase that titles this blog post. You can also hear me saying this on a recent Podcast I did with the good folks at LightSky.com: http://www.lightsky.com/podcasts/drupal-community
Here is that quote again in longer form:
“Drupal is a community and there happens to be a piece of software by the exact same name, and that can be confusing for some.”
If you read that statement slow enough, or maybe a few times, I believe you will agree that this is a VERY loaded statement, a provocative one even. How does it make you feel when you read it? Do you instantly agree? Do you instantly disagree? Do you wonder if it is hyperbole or sensationalism at some level? I think all these reactions, and more, are well within the realm of expected, and acceptable, responses.
You see, my early exposure to “Drupal” started with a rather humongous dose of the Drupal Community. Therefore, it stands to reason that I know it well, love it dearly, and engage and describe it as often as I do. But it wasn’t just my early exposures that set me on a path of life long Drupal Community advocacy. It was the opportunities for continued exposures that were afforded to me by the very members of the community. It fed me, equipped me, and empowered me which, in turn, motivated me to energetically continue on in my role as an active Drupal Community member.
How it started:
For the LONGER version of this story, go listen to my 2009 DrupalEasy Podcast Interview.
Suffice to say that I discovered Drupal in December of 2007 and after becoming convinced that Drupal ROCKED I discovered that there was a training in Portland Oregon. This outfit with a real funny name was doing a 5 day training on module development for Drupal 5. What was that funny named company? Well, it was Lullabot, of course! :-) There I met MANY of the people who I count as good friends, partners, and colleagues to this day.
Let me keep this simple with a visual timeline of just how much Drupal Community interaction I had right out of the gate:
- December | Discover Drupal
- Jan, Portland | 5 days of Drupal5 Module Development Training with Lullabot & 2 dozen other [soon to be] friends.
- Jan, Indianapolis | I start the local Indy Drupal Users Group. Why? Because in Portland, Addi Berry told me to!
- Feb, Los Angeles | 5 days of Drupal5 Theme Development Training with Lullabot & some of my new friends from Portland PLUS some brand new friends.
- Mar, Boston | 4 days at DrupalCon with 850 Drupalers, so many of which I already knew from the 2 Lullabot classes
- May, Minneapolis | 5 days of Drupal6 Module/Theming training AGAIN with Lullabot & many familiar faces & new ones.
- June, Toronto | 5 days of Drupal6 Intensive Training AGAIN with Lullabot & many familiar faces & new ones.
- July, Chicago | 2 days helping to man the Drupal booth at HostingCon. Kieran Lal had put out a request for people to take shifts. I showed up and never left the booth. I was an animal doing everything I could to educate ppl on how awesome I thought Drupal was. I COULD NOT [would not?] shut up. I impressed the local Chicago Users Group members and they asked me if I would come speak at their first ever DrupalCamp Chicago. I AGREED! [Still didn’t understand what a DrupalCamp was!?!?!]
- Oct, Chicago | DrupalCamp Chicago is my 1st ever DrupalCamp! I wound up delivering over 8 sessions and leading a couple BoFs as I discovered my new title, King Of The N00bs!
- Nov, Indianapolis | I become aware of an event called IndyBANG [Indy Business & Arts Networking Get-together] I pay for booth space, print up a huge banner, and enjoyed some local entertainment, beverages, and got to tell my own city about this awesome thing called Drupal!
- May, Chicago | My First PAID Gig! I am invited to deliver a workshop at the 1st annual CMS Expo in Evanston IL. Local community leader Matthew Lechleider and I wow a good sized crowd for a 1/2 day Drupal intro workshop. I end up meeting many ppl who will play important, longterm roles in my professional life.
You get the idea! right? :-)
So if you do the math, My first 90 days in Drupal included 80hrs of lullabot workshops, and the first “solo” DrupalCon in North America. That’s pretty intense! It only stands to reason that my perspective on Drupal is one that is Community driven. When I think of Drupal, I think of the Drupal community.
Other upcoming topics include:
- Why it's important to distinguish the Drupal Communuity as its own entity and appreciate its value and power.
- How companies have leveraged the Drupal Community and how they've achieved measurable ROI from doing so.
- How the Drupal Community is a "Value Added" consideration in the sales process and why the Drupal Community matters when businesses consider which CMS to use for their organization.
- The evolution of DrupalCamps across the years. Many things have changed!
- Other topics? Leave a comment on this post if you have an idea for a future blog post! :-)