What's up with the webinars?

We’ve received some feedback expressing concerns about an email we sent this morning, promoting our mobile webinar for this Thursday. The webinar, Drupal 8 and Spark Simplify Responsive Design, Mobile, is being co-produced and presented with Acquia, which is providing the speakers and infrastructure that allows us to put on the event.

The webinar is part of a new educational series we are working on, where we create webinar programs in collaboration with Drupal-related organizations, including Drupal Association Supporting Partners as well as individual community members. The webinar program is so new that we are still working out the details, which is why we haven’t shared them with you all yet. With today’s questions, I thought this would be a good time to let you in on what we’ve figured out so far, and where we are headed with the program.

What is the intent of the webinar program?

The webinar program is intended to provide Drupal training between DrupalCons; a series of free educational, Drupal-centric sessions with top experts in the world of Drupal. Just like a DrupalCon track, each webinar will be targeted to a particular segment of the Drupal community, such as developers, builders, themers, or project managers.

It’s never easy to get a new program off the ground. We need content and a webinar infrastructure, and currently we have neither; to move past this, we are working with our Supporting Partners to get the program started.

How are we working with our partners?

One of the key ways we are working with our partners is in borrowing their infrastructure. Webinars can draw large numbers of attendees--Thursday’s webinar had 166 registrations at last count!--which makes a lack of suitable infrastructure a major roadblock to putting on webinar events. The Drupal Association does not have this infrastructure in place--nor a budget allocated for it--so this is one of the ways in which we are calling on committed Drupal businesses to help support our work in growing and educating the Drupal community.

Supporting Partners may also provide speakers for the webinars. While we do not have specific content criteria in place, there is the expectation and requirement that content will be educational and informative in nature, and that speakers will refrain from pitching their organizations’ products and services.

Drupal Association webinars that are co-produced and presented with partners will be moderated by Drupal Association staff.

How did we pick our first presenters?

To get started, we are actively reaching out to Drupal Association Supporting Partners who have a webinar platform. Thursday’s webinar was the first to come together. It is co-produced and presented with Acquia, and features speakers Jesse Beach and Kevin O’Leary, both subject matter experts, who are also team members at Acquia.

You will see that the webinar registration link takes you to an Acquia page. Why? The DA doesn't have a webinar platform yet. We need to build some momentum before we can invest in one. So, we are working with great community members who have a webinar platform already.

We are also asking other Supporting Partners if they have a webinar platform and would like to participate in the program, and may reach out to other great community businesses who can help us road test this webinar series and help get it off the ground. Two other companies have signed on to support webinars this June. We’ll tell you more about them as soon as the details are nailed down.

The ultimate goal is diversity in educational content and creating a following of Drupalers who want to keep learning. We are thankful for our Supporting Partners for being guinea pigs on this new adventure and helping us learn as we go.

Why don’t we have our own webinar platform?

We are researching our options and seeing what the best match is for our content, audience, AND our budget. In the meantime, we don’t want to stop progress (and more training) if others are willing to let us use their platform for now. We anticipate having a webinar platform in place by this summer.

Will the presenting company get to use attendee contact information?

No. One of the first things we established is that registrant contact information belongs with the Drupal Association, not partner organizations. If you register for a Drupal Association webinar hosted by a partner organization, your information is only authorized for use by the Drupal Association, not by event partners.

What future topics will be covered?

You tell us! Very, very soon we will post a call for ideas and proposals to build up a roster of webinars tailored to community interests.

Next steps

As I noted at the beginning, this program is still in early development. In the coming weeks, we will be establishing formal criteria and processes, and more directly soliciting feedback and volunteers from the community, including:

  • ideas and webinar topic proposals
  • infrastructure and speaker support from organizations
  • questions and concerns

Additionally, two new webinars are under development, tentatively planned for June, and we are aiming to hit a pace of two webinars per month by this autumn.

We appreciate your feedback

I apologize for the confusion and concern this morning’s email may have caused. I hope that sharing what we’ve got so far helps to assuage any concerns people may have about how we are partnering with commercial entities in Drupal. That kind of feedback is very helpful, and I hope that as this program becomes more established, everyone will continue to ask questions and voice their hopes and concerns.

We want this series to be an initiative that brings value to the community, providing both a learning medium for attendees and a channel for broader knowledge sharing by Drupal experts.

Please feel free to share your thoughts here or privately via our contact form.

Comments

I've said most of this in private before so sharing here now.
In my opinion, the Drupal Association should focus on doing things that are not handled well enough by members of the community pitching in on their own. Legal issues. Organizing Drupalcons. Improving drupal.org. That's...really it as far as I'm concerned. I see this program as a distraction from the core purposes of the DA.
There are many great organizations who provide education about Drupal in an online format in both free and paid formats. Buildamodule.com. Drupalize.me. Tutr.tv. The Drupalcon video archives. These providers are all top-notich online webinar-style education that include things like what's happening with Spark and Drupal 8/mobile. So, if you agree with the perspective that the DA should focus on areas where the community is not thiriving then Webinars are not a top priority.
If a webinar is hosted by the DA (and, to be clear, I think that's not a good idea at this point in time) it should be hosted 100% by the DA. If it's hosted by a supporting partner or other kind of sponsor (i.e. with registration on the supporting partner site and partner name/branding inside the webinar) there should be an open process for other organizations who want to host the webinar to offer a webinar.
One other thought - people may have misled you on this, but the Drupal Dojo group created a pretty top notch webinar program out of thin air using basically zero funds. There's really very little to creating a "webinar platform."

PS Thanks for making this blog post. It goes a long way to address concerns, but, in my opinion, not far enough given the mistakes that were made in the process of creating this webinar (no open call for providers being the biggest one).

I agree with greggles (and woah, I just noticed CKEditor in the comment textarea on a.d.o. Feels... strange!).
Acquia's been doing some great webinars on their own (without any direct involvement from the DA) for at least a year or two, and there are many online training resources for Drupal available. Maybe the DA could help advertise these resources better, but it doesn't seem like the DA's resources (limited as they are) are best utilized trying to produce training/seminar material outside the DrupalCon environment.

It comes off a bit like the D.A. is being used as a marketing platform for third parties. Also true that you don't need loads of money to host a webinar. Good that you did the post, but it would be better to scrap this activity and focus on the things greggles mentioned.

Wanted to lend my voice here as well. I agree completely with @greggles comments. I do appreciate the effort in trying new things but I don't think we have an issue with too little training content or even spreading the word about the availible resourses. Just my two cents. Thanks for the blog post.

Couldnt put it better than this.
Would also add that a better way for the DA to promote Drupal 8 would be to accelerate the process of upgrading Drupal.org to Drupal 7 (and to have a medium-term plan for getting it up and running on Drupal 8).

Thank you, greggles, extremely well said.
Just to be clear, I think the people giving this webinar are highly qualiifed and highly knowledgeable about the topic (and they are former colleagues of mine)... I am sure they will give a great presentation.
But I can't for the life of me figure out why the Drupal Association is involved in it.

Yes, absolutely agreed that the presenters are top notch professionals who give good presentations. But...that's part of my point: I don't think they need the DA promoting them because they are so good.

It would be interesting to see statistics on engagement of this webinar compared to other webinars on similar topics. If indeed this webinar has much stronger audience engagement then I can see a case for some sort of DA promotion of webinars. But if the level of engagement is similar to previous webinars...then it would be time to stop the experiment/distraction.

I can only echo @greggles words, they are spot on about why DA have failed here and made a major misuse of its resources.
As a member of the DA I was first confused when I read the email promoting the webinar, I simply couldn't figure out why the DA needed to spend its resources on this. Then chocked when I clicked on the link and got to an Acquia TV page.
Worst, in my opinion, is that the only ones that really benefit from this is not the general Drupal community, its the big and enterprice focused Drupal shops. Which beginning with Acquia clearly shows.
Over the last months I've got more and more worried about the direction the DA is taking. The new membership levels are just confusing, the firing of staff so shortly before DrupalCon and now this. The pile of cofusion is just getting bigger!
Lastly, this post is for me not an explanation, its a try to defend and justify a bad decision.

All good points by greggles.
1. The post already looks forward to more webinars more often. But I would like to see a response as to why the DA thinks these webinars are filling a gap left by the community and as such are a good investment.
2. Suggestion: It could be valuable if this were content that got fed back into the docs on drupal.org. But then:
3. Content-wise I think it's unfortunate to start with Acquia and to start with talking about a particular distribution. Absolute beginner and/or 'why Drupal for your project' focussed material would seem to be harder to produce by the community, and more credible if brought forward by the DA.

I agree that greggles makes some really good points.  It is valid and healthy to discuss what the DA should focus on.  There are a lot of things the DA could do, and we want to make sure our time and resources are best spend.

 
At the same time, we also need to step back and look at the big picture. We still have (1) a huge talent issue in Drupal, (2) Drupal is still perceived as hard to use and (3) and we're not attracting enough new people to the project. Just to name a few things. I could add more things to this list. While we have a number of organizations that are great at doing webinars, the question is "Is it enough?".  To me, the answer is a clear "no".   I feel that as a community (a) we don't always look at the 'big picture' and (b) that we don't think big enough.  If we did, they would start from a position where we need to do more to promote Drupal, do more to invite people to the project, and do more to debunk myths about Drupal (e.g. hard to use).  Instead some of us get all wrapped up about things like whether we should have our own webinar platform or not.  Clearly, it is best if the DA had its own webinar platform.  But in my view of the world, I'd prefer to attract 100 new people to Drupal vs not doing so because we don't have a webinar platform yet.
 
 

I tend to agree with the assumption that there should be no arbitrary limit placed on the amount of quality material produced for Drupal.
 
My concern is the audience being targeted here. The webinars I've seen from various sources across the Drupal community tend to be very much focused on convincing decision makers about the quality of Drupal or a specific Drupal product. The term webinar as used across the wider tech industry definitely lends itself to this type of material. Exposing decision makers to this type of information is important, but to me it seems well outside of the Drupal association's immediate area of concern.
 
I don't think there would have been anywhere near as much concern raised if the first webinar was a deep dive into CMI targeted at a developer audience. If the main goal is attracting new contributors and talent that should also be the clear focus of the content.

Your arguments don't add up to me. The total number of Drupal contributors is directly corelated to the number of organizations using Drupal. Convincing decision makers to adopt Drupal is an extremely effective way to bring new contributors into the Drupal project.  Most contributors work either for organizations that use Drupal, or for agencies that are hired by organizations that use Drupal. In both cases, these people are hired by decision makers that need to be convinced about Drupal.

In fact, a "Deep dive into CMI" may actually be less effective in attracting new contributors to the project.

If the focus is increasing the talent pool, I would tend to question the value of webinars. They're nice for sales, for generating leads, for some narrowcasted hype, but are they really what people need to learn the nuts and bolts? If the focus is on looking at the 'big picture,' then I'd also think that doesn't mean webinars, it means broader messaging.

The big picture is that the community is constantly failing to recognize that you don't build sites in Drupal directly in code. No, it s done by configuring features in the UI.
 
That is becoming painfully clear if you look at the role map in this post. The sitebuilder is the central role in Drupal! As long as the community keeps ignoring that, then the problems you describe in your comment is not only going to continue - they will just get bigger.
 
I have heard you mentioning many times that we need to improve the sitebuilder experience, but frankly I haven't seen much, if any, real progress on that yet. In fact, its just keeps getting worse and Drupal becoming a pogo-sticking heaven resulting in very frustrated sitebuilders!

I want to think about this comment some more, but there are lots of site builder improvements in Drupal 8 already.

Yes, there are. But they are not always implemented correctly. I spoke with many core developers in Munich, including several initiative leads. What I learned there was that the UI almost always was the last item added. That is after the API's and functionality was done.
 
The problem with this is that the UI then has to be tweaked to fit the API's, the machine, and the the users, site builders for example. This is a prime reason why we have so much problem with pogo-sticking in Drupal and why the process must be reverted.
 
The UX design, with UI design is one aspect of, simply must be part of the the process from the beginning. There is not other way, or it will just keep playing catchup with the API's and keep Drupal becoming increasingly more complex to work with. Not just building sites, but also running, maintaining and adding new stuff to.

Correction:
"The problem with this is that the UI then has to be tweaked to fit the API's, the machine, and the the users, site builders for example."
Should be:
"The problem with this is that the UI then has to be tweaked to fit the API's, the machine, and not the users, site builders for example."
Sorry for that, but its not possible to edit comments here anymore...

Hi all - 

One of the key things that the DA can do for our community is to help increase Drupal adoption. More Drupal sites is good for everybody. That's written right in to our mission and was stressed to me when I came on board about 10 weeks ago. It seems clear that to do that, we need to reach audiences that are, for now, not fully integrated into our community. We're looking to reach the site evaluators and the site builders - folks who are aren't wiriting modules or developing themes. There are a lot of strategies we can employ to reach those audiences:

  • Public Relations
  • Advertising
  • Direct E/Mail Marketing
  • Channel Marketing

to name just a few. Honestly, the DA is pretty resource constrained right now. Most of our staff and budget are tied up in Con production. As we have shared in board meetings and other posts, we're working on that. So big PR or marketing strategies are not viable in our near-term. However, education IS a strategy that we can act on now, and that's what this webinar program is all about. We're not trying to reinvent wheels, but we think that webinars are a great way for us to dip our toes in the waters to learn what works and what doesn't in reaching these audiences, while also delivering some REAL VALUE. 

So our approach for now is to do this in a low-resource way. We're working with our supporting partners to get good content delivered by smart people on the table and learn what we can about what kind of content resonates, what kind of folks show up, and what that might mean for the DA and its support of the Project in the future. I hope you can see from this post that - whether you think our strategy is misguided or not - we are doing it with the very best of intentions, and in ways that respect your privacy.

I hope that provides even more clarity. Megan and I are taking in your comments and thinking about what it means for our approach, but we feel strongly that we need to give this a shot and see what we learn. Our first take at it might not be right, and we appreciate you helping us think through how to make it better.

Oh - and sorry for taking so long to respond. I actually spent a chunk of yesterday traveling to spend some time working on 2014 plans with Megan, and we were heads down all morning. 

 

Holly,
 
While I completely agree that education is strategic, this webinar series is not the solution. As @greggles pointed out there are lots of amazing and very professional online training sites for Drupal already. Sites that publishes a constant stream of new material on a daily basis.
 
To that there is also Planet Drupal that aggregates content from hundreds of community members and organizations. Every day there is tons of high quality stuff, tutorials, howto's screencast, etc promoted there.
 

Honestly, the DA is pretty resource constrained right now.

 
All the more reason why this partner webinar scheme, particularly so close before the biggest Drupal event of the year, was a bad spending. A much better way to use the limited available resources would have been to call on the community to make needed improvement to the Planet Drupal feed. Making it stand out more directly on d.o for example. Its already an enormous resource for the community, just somewhat hidden and not user friendly presented.
 
Best of all, it would leverage the whole of the community, not just the big guns that has the resources to do so!

"While I completely agree that education is strategic, this webinar series is not the solution."

This suggest there is 'one' solution.  I agree that there are al ot of amazing online training sites for Drupal, and that the Drupal Planet is a great resource for people. However, that doesn't mean we should stop there. Marketing is doing a dozen different things (webinars, blog posts, conferences, PR and more), doing a lot of it, and doing them over and over again until you are blue in the face.

Also, webinars are *proven* to be one of the best ways to both market and educate. The fact 100+ people signed up for for the *first* DA webinar proves that.  Write what you want, but you can't argue with data. 

I don't understand why people are so violently against the DA experimenting with a new program and being lean about it. It is exactly what I would expect the DA to do because the status quo isn't sufficient.  Webinar series should be part of the solution, and a DA webinar could grow to become a truly amazing resource and tool to attract new organizations to Drupal and to educate existing Drupal users. It is worth exploring.

"All the more reason why this partner webinar scheme, particularly so close before the biggest Drupal event of the year, was a bad spending."

I don't understand this comment either. It is not because there is a big event one month away, that we should stop marketing.  That is simply not how marketing works, or how the Drupal community works for that matter.

The fact 100+ people signed up for for the *first* DA webinar proves that.  Write what you want, but you can't argue with data. 

Yes and no. If those 100 people are already getting educational/promotional content (e.g. from Acquia, the Drupalcon archives, Tutr.tv, Drupalize.me, Buildamodule.com, Modulesunraveled, or one of dozens of other places) then this hasn't marginally helped. 170 registrants is actually a relatively small number of registrants for a webinar. The Drupal Dojo regularly got close to that several years ago. Drupal-Security focused webinars I've done in the last 4 years easily double that and security is a much more focused topic than "good editing experience.". In a comment below I've proposed some data analysis that would "prove" this event is actually marginally beneficial compared to the existing offerings.

I don't understand why people are so violently against the DA experimenting with a new program and being lean about it.
That's a straw-man and I think I was clear about the distinctions that are different from what you're saying. I am not violently opposed to a lean program. I am violently opposed to doing things in a way that has a perception of giving insiders an unfair leg up. If we take the most optimistic perspective on how this unfolded it's something like the DA saying "We want to do a webinar, can anyone help us do it in as lean a way as possible?" Acquia says "we have webinar hosting accounts and top notch presenters, we'll give them to you for free." and then the DA goes along with it. I honestly believe that is exactly what happened. The problem is that nobody else was asked if they could provide that webinar platform. Both Acquia and the DA have taken actions like this in the past with the best intentions only to have the community get upset at the perception of insider favor. We're at a point where both organizations should know better.

"I don't understand why people are so violently against the DA experimenting with a new program and being lean about it."

  • The timing so shortly before DrupalCon
  • The Lack of transparency beforehand
  • The way it has been promoted
  • That it is not filling a real gap in the Drupal ecosystem

 
Basically, it has been planned and executed in a way that is not common practice within the Drupal community.
 
If this had been an initiative fully sponsored by a Drupal shop and promoted as such it wouldn't have been a problem. But, since the DA is partly funded by membership fees it put things in a very different perspective.
 
I'm quite sure I speak for more than myself when saying that I don't see my money has been used wisely and effective here.
 
"Also, webinars are *proven* to be one of the best ways to both market and educate. The fact 100+ people signed up for for the *first* DA webinar proves that.  Write what you want, but you can't argue with data."
 
You can argue about data. For example, the data will, I assume, also show the percentage of viewers that has no, or limited, previous Drupal involvement. That split will be interesting to see and will also show how effective this has been to interest new talent/users.
 
"I don't understand this comment either. It is not because there is a big event one month away, that we should stop marketing."
 
I see it is very relevant since Holly herself writes "Honestly, the DA is pretty resource constrained right now." and this is a cost for the DA, both in money and people resources.

You all know I love this community and support each of you (who I know, at least) in this thread.
But why all the pushback where Acquia is concerned. As your poor cousin across the road, I'm telling you, there is a tremendous amount of market potential that is being created that helps the broader pool of businesses.
I remember when you guys were the little guys. Maybe the grass is always greener and I understand I am not aware of all of the finer points involved - but the Ying always goes with the Yang. And, from where I stand, ya'all have done okay.
My 2 cents.
<3

Regardless of the intent, it feels a lot like my email address has been sold to the highest bidder. It doesn't really matter if you hand over my email address or if you send the email for them, either way it doesn't feel right.

I've read the explanation that any "supporting partner" with a webinar platform that the DA can borrow or one who can provide 'content' is equally likely to receive this nice favor from the DA (which, by the way, does not makes things any better) but it feels doubly yucky that the first "supporting partner" chosen is Acquia - it makes me wonder about the integrity of the DA as a whole.

Please stop this program.

I think a call to stop the program is premature, but not unwarranted. The webinar is today and should go on as a minimum-viable-product experiment. The comment about having the right to your inbox go to the highest bidder is roughly accurate, except it appears there was only one bidder. Which is a bummer. I'm actually fine with the DA selling my inbox as long as they are really getting a good value for it.

I would really like to hear that there will be some good metrics involved in deciding to continue the program or not. I agree with the goal of increasing Drupal usage, even if I disagree with the priority it's given relative to other items or the way that this particular webinar was handled.

Here's my proposal for how to measure the effectiveness of this program:

  • Acquia uses a variety of channels to promote their webinars. This webinar was promoted via at least one if not multiple DA emails, tweets, and blog/forum posts so it should reach an overlapping but separate set of people. My sense is that the goal is to get MORE people than something Acquia can get on their own AND to get different people.
  • Compare the number of registrants/viewers for this event to the number of registrants for Drupal Spark Simplifies Responsive Design, Mobile for Marketers which seems like a very similar title/content and thus gives a good.
  • Look also at the number of registrants/viewers for the last 5 or 10 Acquia webinars and compare this number to those.
  • Finally, the DA should get a list from Acquia that contains the md5 of email addresses and the top level domains (i.e. the .com part) for the registrants for the last 10 webinars. The DA can compare that to the md5 of emails for registrants from this webinar to see what overlap there is, if any. The DA can further compare the breakdown of top level domains to see if one audience skews more heavily to .com, .com.uk or .edu to see if a different market segment is being hit. It would even be possible to compare both of those lists to profile information on drupal.org to get a since of languages spoken and country of residence.
  • My expectation of success for this event:  the overlap between this webinar and the last 10 Acquia webinars is dramatically lower than the overlap of any of the other 10 webinars and the broader set. The number of registrants and attendees is dramatically higher than the webinar as promoted by Acquia alone. 

The reason I suggest md5 is to help protect the privacy of data for both partis and: If given the data I will gladly do all this analysis (I don't want to divert DA resources from high importance tasks, after all ;) ). If you need help obfuscating the data to get it ready for sharing I will gladly make tools to get it obfuscated to reduce the privacy concern.

I appreciate your understanding here. I also think that you have a future as a data analyst. These are great metrics. I'll be using some of these, and some others, and we'll share back out in a blog post. This work is a fun late-night diversion into excel for me, so no DA resources wasted! ;)

Remember that a) it's the first time this has ever been tried by the DA, and b) Acquia has a multi-million dollar marketing budget. By listing "similar numbers" as one of the goals, you're advocating comparing apples to orangutans. :)

I think the goal is much, much more on the "different people" aspect, rather than the "same quantity" aspect (as a board member, I don't actually care about the last one at all, other than making sure that we're providing enough value for more than 3 people to show up ;)).

The fact that 100+ people signed up for this, given that Acquia just gave a webinar on exactly the same topic not a month ago, shows that the DA might've achieved that already (md5 hash comparison would be an interesting idea to verify this). And if they don't know about Acquia's webinars, one could make a fairly strong hypothesis that many of them also don't know about Drupal Planet. In which case, they're missing out on tons of great training materials, and DA acting as a central "broadcast/curation" point for great content could actually be a wonderful way to help bring in new contributors. Let's give it a couple of tries before we shoot it down, hm?

I don't think it is unreasonable to compare the numbers. The DA doesn't have the same budget, but it does have a well curated email list, a much more popular website (d.o), and access to twitter accounts that Acquia doesn't. My understanding of the point is to get a message to a different/broader audience. If that's not achieved...it's not achieved. If you disagree with my metrics please provide others. But this has been put forward as an experiment and an experiment without a testable hypothesis is not actually an experiment.

I think the rest of your comment is shades of difference with Jen/Me. You expect at least 3 people. I expect at least 300. You want a couple of tries, I'm fine with that as long as the first shows promise.

I was being facetious with 3. :) I'm actually quite happy with 100+. In terms of metrics, I'd like to measure the impact of this with something more meaningful like surveys, and data analysis on who the audience make-up was and whether it differs from audience reached via other mechanisms, e.g. Acquia's marketing machine.

In terms of data, Hannah from Acquia said by the time the webinar started there were 453 people (!), which is just shy of the 520 registrants we got on the very similar webinar 3 weeks prior (!!), with much less notice and pretty much no extra marketing "oomph" behind it other than the DA's normal channels and whoever chose to share that message. (Acquia avoided marketing this webinar heavily because we were trying to avoid a big community kerfuffle over just trying to be nice and help the DA out with providing infrastructure + material + speakers to kick off their webinar series. Oops. :P~)

Those numbers make me very excited! We might be onto something here! :D

Hey Jen - 

I just want to make sure I understand where you're coming from. First - it *feels* like we're doing something creepy with your email address, even if we are not. If we had launched this on our own platform, but Acquia were the speaker, would that have felt better? And to your second point, if out first partner had been Phase2, that would have been more palatable.  Is that right? But in any event, the DA presenting content by any company is unacceptable in this format. Am I getting that right?

I'm just trying to understand if it is the way this was presented or the whole idea that is objectionable to you. And please know that I am sorry that is feels bad, that wasn't our intent either. But we have not in any way compromised the privacy of your email address. 

Holly

Hi Holly,
I completely agree with Greggles first comment .  While I am not against a webinar series that is promoted by Acquia, I'd like t point out a couple things that I think would make this better:

  • As far as I know there was no solicitaiton for support on the webinar series from other supporting companies.  This makes it feel like drupal association is just promoting an Acquia distribution.  I'd like to see an open process to solicit other companies to support the effort.  
  • Webinars are used to provide information and to solicit leads.  It is no secret that Acquia is a very agressive sales organization, and I don't think that I am wrong here, whose process is to feed the webinar sign up list to their sales team.  I don't see any privacy notices on this sign up, until this post went up,  that guarantee that sign ups for this webinar won't be fed to the boiler room.

We are @prometsource run our webinar series and I agree with Megan that it is hard to get off the ground.  However the technology necessary to run a webinar is hot hard to use.  We would be more than happy to shoulder all the costs of running the webinar software for the quarter.
 

Hi Andy - 

So this is hard to write without sounding defensive. Please know that I 100% believe that ciritcism and community debate make any organization, especially the DA stronger. I do, however, feel the need to correct mis-information. To your two points:

1. Megan has had conversations about these webinars with several supporting partners, not just Acquia. We haven't talked to everyone, because we're just getting going. But intent was never to work with Acquia alone, and other webinars have already been scheduled for post-DrupalCon.

2. That is normally true, but is not so in this case. In fact, Acquia explicitly put this language on the sign up pageAcquia is hosting this educational webinar as a Drupal Association Supporting Partner. All personal data is managed by the Drupal Association, no personal information will be added to the Acquia database. Click here for more information about the Drupal Association webinar program.

Lastly - that's a super generous offer and I know that we have enjoyed working with you on COD and would love to do so again in another capacity. Megan will definitely follow up.

I registered for the webinar, but will not attend after reading this discussion.
I was confused about the link from the Drupal Association email going to Acquia but didn't think to much of it at the time. I am very interested in the topic and would have attended the webinar had it come directly from Acquia.
Process is very important and I agree that this could have been handled better. Thank you for the blog post.
 
 
 
 

Sorry to hear that Ari - if you get some time, I'd love to know more about what we should have said up fron to be clearer. That was what we were trying to go for. Are you saying that if you had this blog post to behin with, it would have been ok with you?

Hi Holly,
Thanks for your response. I think a lot of what I'm thinking has already been said, and quite well, so not sure that I need to share too much. Basically, I'm concerned about how this webinar came to be and believe it could have been handled in a more community-driven way where the decision-making is transparent and the people who want to help make the decisions have an opportunity to give input.  Yes, process takes time, but it's worth it, and an investment in our community .
I tend to agree with greggles that the Drupal Associaition should focus on "Legal issues. Organizing Drupalcons. Improving drupal.org." I agree with tsvenson that making Drupal Planet more prominent could go a long way. I'm not against the Drupal Association doing webinars but I don't think the Drupal Association should be a vehicle to market one company. It's like a no-bid contract, which I think many of us agree should be avoided, and as a community we can do better than that.
So it would have been okay with me if there's an open community process to start new initiatives of the Drupal Association, like webinars. Does that make sense?
 
 

Whatever you do, please make sure the webinar(s) are accessible to the hearing-impaired with a transcript or captions. Acquia did a great job with this on their presentation, "Creating Responsive Drupal Sites with Zen Grids and the Zen 5 Theme [July 19, 2012]" -- notice the "Click to see video transcript".
https://www.acquia.com/resources/acquia-tv/conference/creating-responsiv...
 

Since you're much more likely to get negative criticism in the comments here than positive, I'd like to leave a reminder that some people are happy with what you've done, but people usually don't feel a need to express "this is fine".
So I actually don't have any problems with the way this was all carried out and I look forward to more webinars in the future.

It's much appreciated. We also have 444 people registered, which I think is another sign. So we're trying to learn lessons and do this right, but it's nice to get a pat on the back too.

After reading all these comments, all I can say is ... thank you for putting on this webinar.  I had already signed up before seeing this discussion, and I'm looking forward to it as a way to learn more about a subject area I'm interested in.

Many of the comments discuss the fact that there's already content available from other organizations (e.g., buildamodule.com, drupalize.me, etc).
A feeling that I'm left with after reading the comments is that there's another issue hiding here that isn't being discussed.
There's an almost infinite amount of Drupal educational content available online, but how does a newbie - or anyone who's not a Drupal guru - know what content is good vs. what is a waste of time?  How do we find the needles in the haystack, without studying every blade of hay?  And how does someone not only find a good resource for a single subject area, but find a good guide for learning Drupal as a whole?  How does someone stay abreast of upcoming webinars?  Maybe this is where the D.A. can be of most help?

Will the 4/18/13 webinar be showing up at Acquia's recorded webinars?

We'll make the recording available out on our blog within the next couple of days. Look for it on the blog.

Hey guys,
I actually appreciate you pulling together Webinars like this, if for not other reason than that, form DA, I expect good learning resources, with no intention to selling me something. I look forward to whatever Webinars you come up with in the future!
Holly, I just checked the DA website, but didn't see a "blog" section. Will the webinar just be posted under "News", or in some other section?
thanks again, and keep up the great work!
-Kraft