Attending Drupal Events grows our community
In my last blog post about Talking about Advanced Webforms and Showing Code, I mentioned my presentation needed work and I needed practice. At DrupalCamp Atlanta, I was able to do just that. I delivered my 'Advanced Webform' presentation and received some very valuable constructive criticism on how to simplify and improve my slide deck from Michael Anello (ultimike).
At DrupalCamps I enjoy presenting and sharing my passion for the Webform module with the Drupal community. I also value hearing and seeing what other people are doing with Drupal. In Atlanta, listening to Jesus Manuel Olivas (jmolivas) passionately talking about using GatsbyJS with Headless Drupal was inspiring plus I want to mention that this approach represents a huge paradigm shift for all enterprise content management systems. Besides hearing about the latest and greatest technologies at DrupalCamp Atlanta, I also learned how much work it is to organize a DrupalCamp.
Sponsoring an event
Kaleem's post titled, Sponsoring a DrupalCamp is Not About the Return on Investment (ROI), reminds everyone of the importance and value of sponsoring a camp. He also acknowledges that some companies focus and roles are shifting within the Drupal community. I think the most important question/situation Kaleem addresses is…
If Drupal is the "enterprise solution", what does this mean to our community and camps?
I am 100% okay with Drupal being an enterprise solution. Large organizations are using Open Source and they need an enterprise content management solution. Enterprise companies using Drupal need to train and support their employees; DrupalCamps are a great place to start.
Kaleem makes solid arguments as to why a company should sponsor an event, which includes visibility, credibility, and collegiality. Companies have to keep track of their ROI, so it is important to ask what does a company gets and wants from Drupal event. The best way to get a company to open their wallets is to show them some results. Drupal is the result of companies and people sharing time and money to build something outstanding. We need to entice new companies to sponsor event and sprints.
Sponsor a sprint
Code sprints happen at every Drupal event. Sometimes there are organized collaborations with a dedicated time and place and other times peoples are committing last-minute patches and tagging a new release before a presentation. Events and sprints tend to go hand-in-hand, but it’s worth emphasizing that code sprints produce tangible results.
I always get nervous before I get up in front of a large audience, so instead of biting my nails, I work on fixing a bug or writing some cool feature enhancement to the Webform module. I have recognized this pattern, so now when I go to camps I have a personal Webform code sprint agenda.
At Design4Drupal, I started caring about and fix accessibility issues. At DrupalCamp Atlanta, I finally fixed all the lingering issues with conditional logic and even created a ticket for a stable release of webform. My point here is that things happen at Drupal events and sprints, sponsoring companies help make these things happen.
Companies should help sponsor and provide content and speakers for Drupal events.
Sponsor a speaker
Drupal events can’t happen if there is no one willing or able to get up at the podium and talk about Drupal. Good presentations and keynotes can inspire and even shift the direction of the entire Drupal community.
Who is speaking at Drupal event
There are generally two types of speakers at a Drupal event, the first is someone representing their organization/employer, and the other is someone representing their personal and professional interest. Both types are valuable and add to the collective discussion and evolution of Drupal and its community. Some speakers, including myself, represent an organization and their personal and professional interest.
Organizations need to encourage their employees to speak and contribute to Drupal. Everyone benefits when an employee participates in a Drupal event. Personally, learning how to speak publically is my biggest personal and professional accomplishment while working on the Webform module. Having my recorded session available online allows potential employers and clients to know that I am not afraid to get up in front of a large group of people and talk about Drupal.
Organizations also benefit from having employees promote services, hosting, products, and ideas being built around Drupal. Of course, we don't want DrupalCamps to become paid infomercials but these events provide opportunities for organizations and developers to collectively help steer the direction of Drupal.
Supporting individual speakers
There are a bunch of people in the Drupal community who are the maintainers of specific modules or APIs. For example, I am the maintainer of the Webform module for Drupal 8. I travel on my own dime to events and talk about the Webform module and related topics. The only limitation I run into with traveling to events is the cost per event, which for anything outside of the New York tri-state area is around $750 to $1,000 dollars. I am not exactly sure if people should be paid to speak at events, however, I know first hand that travel expenses limit where and how often I speak at Drupal Events.
Should organizations sponsor speakers?
There are three immediate benefits to sponsoring a speaker.
First, you get the subject matter expert to come to your community and share their ideas. For example, as a community, we need people passionately talking about using GatsbyJS and Headless Drupal at as many Drupal events as possible.
Second, you get to pick the brains of subject matter experts for ideas. I know that if an organization paid for my travel expenses, I would have no hesitation spending a few hours helping them review and understand how they can best leverage the Webform module and Drupal 8 for their client's projects and needs.
Finally, helping to offset some of the costs for someone who is sharing their ideas and time with the Drupal community is a great way to say thanks.
Proposing that a speaker should be sponsored/paid to talk at a Drupal event is going to require some more thought and work. There is one aspect to all our Drupal events which should be paid for… the red button.
Sponsor the red button
Kevin Thull has been recognized for his ongoing contribution to Drupal community which is making sure our presentations are recorded and shared online. I will let everyone in on a little somewhat known secret to getting your session proposal accepted at a DrupalCon - you need prior speaking experience. Kevin's session recordings from DrupalCamps are used and vital to the DrupalCon speaker selection process.
Let's not forget that Kevin's 600-plus session recording helps to share information with people that could not attend a DrupalCamp. We have all faced the quagmire of trying to understand how a module or Drupalism is supposed to work and have watched a recorded presentation to get over this challenging hump.
Kevin started a GoFundMe campaign for "paying for food and commuter costs out of my own pocket, which average around $350 per camp." He is really close to his goal of $5000. We should all contribute to making sure he reaches this goal and then exceeds it.
The Drupal community is massive, and we collaborate and solve some amazingly challenging problems. The challenge of sustainability is only going to be addressed when we figure out our economy around Open Source software. Realistically, the recent high profile acquisitions of RedHat and GitHub is tied to these companies’ reliance on software-as-a-service (SaaS) and cloud computing. Both companies contribute heavily to Open Source. These acquisitions are significant to ongoing growth and success of Open Source but these are large transactions.
Drupal and Open Source community still need to figure out what smaller transactions are required in order to help grow and sustain our communities. For now, giving $10, $20, or $50 to help Kevin Thull continue to record our presentations and share our ideas and passions is a good start.
What are your thoughts?
I am sure Kevin and I are not alone in trying to figure out how to offset the costs of presenting at and recording DrupalCamps. Conversely, there are also organizations who are also figuring how to start or continue support DrupalCamps and Meetups. Please post your thought below and on Drupal.org