DrupalCon 2015 in Los Angeles was my first experience attending DrupalCon as a business owner. I put together a presentation on my experience and shared it with the DC Area Drupal Meetup Group. I was blown away by how welcoming other business owners were. This year, in New Orleans, was the first time that Dagny and I both attended as business owners. My sentiment is the same this year. We spent a substantial amount of money between actual costs and lost-revenue to take us both down there and it was worth every penny. Whether or not we recoup some costs through new business in the long run is to be determined later, but that will just be additional benefit if it happens.
One of the highlights of DrupalCon is Dries' Keynote and the Core Conversation on "The State of Drupal". It looks like Drupal 7 is slowing down, and Drupal 8 is slowly ramping up. This is a scary time for people who have built Drupal businesses because if Drupal 8 doesn't take off it could be disastrous. Dries was adamant that he's been here before and we've seen the same process with every major release of Drupal. I tend to agree with him. If Drupal 8 has kept its Site-Builder friendly site structuring while also leveraging Symfony for back-end developers it is going to be a killer-app. We just need to get involved to get the contrib space ready for prime time.
The Gov Summit I attended was kicked off by Zack Rosen giving a presentation on Lessons learned building Internet era communities on open source projects. That link is his proposed community-keynote, which ultimately was not selected, but he gave it to the Gov Summit instead. The Gov summit had several breakout sessions where I contributed my knowledge of Drupal to people who were relatively new to Drupal, and also learned all about micro-purchasing capabilities by federal and state governments.
Through the next three days I attended a mix of coding and business track sessions. On the coding side the topics ranged from learning about new PHP 7 features to diving into specific Drupal 8 functionality. There were lots of sessions around using Drupal as an API and decoupling front-end dev from back-end content management, which is a topic I wrote about it before in my post on separating content creation and content delivery. On the business side I attended sessions such as creating successful distributed companies and creating company specific KPI measurements.
There were lots of great social events and Dagny and I were proud to have Digital Ambit sponsor the Women in Drupal event on Tuesday night. We bought the first round of drinks and mingled with like-minded allies of diversity in the Drupal community. This is yet another way the Drupal community is awesome.
One of the wonderful features of DrupalCon is the "Bird of a Feather" (BOF) system where attendees can schedule a BOF on any subject they are interested in and see who else shows up. While all the sessions are recorded the BOFs are not, so if there was a somewhat interesting BOF I always prioritize those. This year I attended BOFs on teaching kids to code, static websites and how they may or may not relate to Drupal, and a wonderful BOF setup by Justin Phelan and Aaron Harlow from Blackwood Media called "Small Drupal Shops." It was about 20 people, mostly partnerships like Dagny and I, talking about the common pain points of small shops. We setup a slack channel at smalldrupalshop.slack.com and will try to keep the momentum going in the weeks and months to come. There is also a Micro Shops Drupal Group that we were pointed to that we may be able to revive.
The community keynote, which was the third day keynote this year, was also worth noting. Michael Schmid from Amazee gave a keynote called Your Brain Health is More Important than your Standing Desk. It was a mostly common sense talk about the importance of hydration, sleep and mental preparedness. What I love about this topic Keynoting a day at DrupalCon is that it epitomizes the Drupal community. One of my favorite parts of the presentation was calling out that we should treat mental health maladies the same way we treat physical maladies and that we should get help and not create barriers to treatment. Again, just another way the Drupal community is awesome.
I will spend the next month watching all the sessions I didn't get to attend. I am hoping to ramp up my involvement in Drupal this year. I really do love the community and there are many ways to give back to it even though I'm not currently working on a Drupal project. But I'd love to work on a Drupal project if you have one :)
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