Meet the Candidates Update: Session One Transcript

We had our first Meet the Candidates session yesterday and spoke with four of our thirteen candidates. Normally, I would link to the audio recording of that call, but due to user error <hangs head in shame> the audio is gone. However, thanks to the amazing kattekrab, we do have a pretty remarkable transcript from the session. Following is an introduction to the four candidates and our question and answer session with them.

Remember! We have one more Meet the Candidate Session:

Session Two

Thursday, September 12 2013 at 16:00 UTC

  • 9 AM PST Thursday, September 12 in the US and Canada
  • 12 noon EST Thursday, September 12 in the US and Canada
  • 1 PM Thursday, September 12 in Sao Paulo Brasil
  • 5 PM Thursday, September 12 in London
  • 00:00 Friday, September 13 in Beijing
  • 2 AM Friday, September 13 in Sydney Australia

Register for Session 2

Notes about the call logistics:

All attendees on mute - to keep background noise to a minimum
but we DO want to hear  from you. Use the controls to ask questions when we get to that part. You can ask questions to all candidates, or just to one particular.

How will this work?

We'll 1st hear statements from candidates. Mostly just audio today in the web meeting. Only candidate's nominations pages will be shown on the screen which you can also see https://association.drupal.org/nominations. And on each of their pages - is place for MORE comments and questions.

Voting!

Voting opens on Sunday, 15 September. Please encourage people to vote! :)  Help make sure people know the election is happening

Our First Four Candidates

Hassan Bawab Greg Lind Ben Manning Calvin Scharffs

CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Greg Lind:
I'm in Portland - and work at Mercy Corp - that focusses on relief and development in third world disasters. Am a developer with a CS background.  Been a dev for 20+ years, and open source about 15 yrs. I've been using Drupal since around 2005-2006

My overall agenda - pushing open source to gov and non profits to increase the adoption and through those groups - out to 3rd world and developing countries that could use open source instead of pirated or overpriced propriety tools.

Also in my work - migrating sites to drupal or building new sites - I've really liked the community and working to build the community into more international areas. Open source CMSes like Drupal are the No 1 viewed open source doorway or entry into open source. I'd like to see Drupal be Number 1, more people using drupal. I want to do whatever I can to help that!!

Hassan Bawab:
I'm in Dallas TX - CEO of MagicLogix - I'm a developer, been dev'ing OSS since 1999. I have a d egree in Comp Sci. Last couple of years - we've been focussing on Drupal. We're also a partner! We've been working with customers, listening to their needs - and trying to help them transform their websites to better meet their needs.

There is a lot of interest in Drupal - and a lot of questions about it. There is a great opportunity for more enterprises to adopt Drupal. As a developer we're working on 3-4 plugins for Drupal - and they're based on Drupal8. I'd like to see more awareness of Drupal and what makes it different from the others. Our recent clients are coming from silicon valley. I'd like to take what I'm hearing, the pushback, and work to take Drupal to the next level with other board members... what can we learn from other communities? How can we bring that to the drupal community? I've got lots of speeches, and webinars and white papers about Drupal - it's all abut Drupal. And thats all I have!

Ben Manning:
Thanks everyone - grateful to have this opportunity. I've been married for 20 years - from Atlanta Georgia, with a son in College. I love to program, construct cool and large things. Raspberry Pi! Automatiion and Drupal!

Professional background: Systems engineer - since a masters degree in 1999. In higher ed and industry, taught comp sci and web dev for a decade. Now I am the national assistant dean at Devry university - I manage 60 campus locations and their programs in web dev. Responsible for designing courses, face to face and online. I've served on many committees and am currently working on a PhD focusing on web dev and biometric feedback for ppl with disabilities.

So Drupal!  Why am interested in the association? I started using Drupal to support my courses back when there really wasn't anything that did this well. Since then it's become more than a hobby, it's become my career. I like the learnability, scalability and variation that comes from faculty and students in education. I use it a lot in the classroom. Great for basic learning of the lamp stack -tear down and reconstruct. Would like to see Drupal used as learning tool. Would like to use position in the DA to drum up more support inside education development - new areas of interest in education sector in drupal. Why should students use drupal for this?  because students can build their own tools using drupal. Would love to see it be an LMS

Calvin Scharffs:
Thanks for opportunity. I'm a VP of marketing at lingotek. We've got  a module that allows you to translation inside drupal. I have 20 yrs experience in marketing, working with small companies large ones, fortune 500 ones. Been to lots of DrupalCons and camps and support them.

I am excited for the opportunity to join the board. I have an nterest in growing the community, broadening the ecosystem, allowing other vendors to develop modules for the ecosystem - and drive adoption in the enterprise. Drupal is starting to compete with other things like Adobe CQ and Oracle. Growing the community and getting new sponsorships, raising more funds will help that.

I have a translation background - want to help internationalize the content around Drupal and build the community on a global platform. It's one of the best multi-lingual platforms out there. Excited about Prague and seeing where that goes, and upcoming release of D8.

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Question for all: What do you want to see more of from the DA and what would you like to see less of?

  • Hassan: More effort in creating events in more areas nationwide and worldwide. More effort in creating community feedback from end users, different kinds of end users - also CMOS CIOs not just developers - what their needs and wishes are. Take that feedback and come up with list for upcoming drupal versions - would help the community a lot. Communication: more from the DA itself. Have heard a lot - different listings between community and featured partners for example. We need to qualify some sort of layer - partners - filter on different things, like country and language?  Showcases within profiles - I think this would help partners. Funding: more ways to bring more funding to the community and work to improve the brand. Lastly - how we can improve the collateral about drupal so sales people can use it more to promote drupal vs other cms.
  • Greg: More push for international presence. More to help new clients or groups… there's an initial fear from new folks. Developers want questions to be formatted in a particular way. We could make it easier for people who don't know how it works. A controlled release schedule, though I realise acquia has a lot of control over this. But a better heads up on what the roadmap is for Drupal moving forward.
  • Ben: we're lacking a focus on integration into STEM efforts (sci, math, tech, engi). Ramp up stem efforts in our schools - we should get on that bandwagon. Push for standard dev releases. Community integration - expanding our footprint. We have high intensity of developers on board, we often miss the smaller folk - broaden our base. More focus on usability as a whole. We do a good job as a platform with extension, but sometimes lack in usability. Less emphasis on intensive extension and bring the focus back on the basic needs of the cms. Communication learning and collaboration - we spend energy on being everything to all things to all people... which scatters energy (kattekrab note: sort of paraphrased that bit).
  • Calvin: My main concern - how do we grow the community and involve more people and make the ecosystem successful? We need an outreach program, sales and marketing people, digial agencies - get into different conferences. Not just focus on dev - but also on using drupal in different areas. More centralization - it's currently scattered. It's hard to get hold of people. Make it easier to navigate for potential sponsors and those who want to participate. A heads up on what's happening around the place.

Question for all: There have been lots of comments around the shape of the code in your answers. The DA is here to support the project and the community, but we don't touch the code. The code belongs to the community. So - what are your ideas around how to help the project succeed without influencing the code?

  • Ben: The responsibility of a board member is to stay away from the code base. Drupal is open source from the grassroots - I think the board is there to govern the project as a whole. The DA board shouldn't be governing the codebase itself, but we should be there to guide the organisation and the direction that the code base will follow.
  • Calvin: Most boards of non-profits exist to build a trust or raise money - that then allows the community to get on with things without worrying about the money - supporting infrastructure and events. Subsidize those developers with limited means to participate and make the community self- sustaining.
  • Greg: Education and marketing are the best way to influence. We don't have a lot of trouble with the code, but opportunity to educate users and developers on the tools we have... to prevent duplication of efforts.
  • Hassan: Survey - listening to end users. Take their feedback and transform that for drupal developers to help guide development. If this comes from the DA it's more trusted, more credibility as a collection of feedback. Monitor Drupal forums  and gather feedback there too. Define needs based on what we learn there?

Question for all: Overall - we want to grow Drupal adoption - What is the most important thing the Drupal project needs in order to grow and increase its market share?

  • Ben: 2 things.... market immersion - make people aware Drupal is out there. I've seen students dive into cms development, and they often bypass drupal because it has stigma as being difficult to learn. So market awareness of Drupal as perfect solution. 2ndly - employing a way to convert users to contributors. Focus on the future - get them in the door as users, and then convert them to developers and contributors. End the stigma of it being hard to learn. It's evolved so much, many people wouldn't recognize it from what it used to be. It would be beneficial to reach out on that.
  • Greg: Outside of converting users of other frameworks, we should also look for developers and users that are outside the "norm" - look at developing and 3rd world countries. Lots of opportunity for entrepreneurship and open source tools. Grow the tech sectors in these areas and grow adoption of FOSS as an economic tool.
  • Calvin: Success builds success. Our ability to promote the success stories - and be agnostic about who built it matters. As the community grows, we need to be able to piggy back on each other, and show case successes. Big sites - this is mission critical - these stories can help grow the community. Ease of use - is a big piece of this. 7 is much easier, and 8 is going to be fantastic.  It is a lot better than it used to be.

Question for all: What do you bring to the board environment?

  • Greg: Supporting the community is the goal - and that's where I would contribute. I bring understanding as being a developer, a content provider, and an evangelist of open source. I also bring board experience.
  • Ben: I currently serve on 2 national academic boards. Have 11 years experience in that area. I have experience in leading large orgs, understanding you're there to lead doesn't mean taking it where you want it to go. It's about vision - construct visionary process where you think of creative solutions. Nonprofits often have little or no money - need to be creative and solve problems. Get feedback from users, create a vision that satisfies our contributors and users needs.
  • Hassan: Marketing and tech background - want to change the culture of Drupal being difficult, work on the messaging about what's Drupal? Show that it's strong, but complicated. Change message around how to use and how to get started. We're focussed on developers - we need to focus on CMOs and CIOs - and what drupal can do and improve our showcases. How can we improve drupal.org site so it's not just focused on developers but also on business users. We would like to explain to the community the relationship of acquia to the community. A lot of companies are being approached by acquia sales people. We need to differentiate better between drupal.org and acquia.
  • Calvin: I would bring a strong sense of collaboration, a willingness to listen, learn and work. I'm not afraid to dive in and get things done, get in there and help grow the community as much as we come in.

Question: What is your favourtie moment in the community that you want to see more of?

  • Greg: A migration project I worked on. They were overwhelmed by community response to some of their issues. They saw the community in action, and that's the difference with an open source project, with users willing to help and contribute. I would love to see more stories like that and hear from people who've shared that experience.
  • Ben: I love my job, I get moments on a daily basis dealing with students - it's learning step by step - using learning drupal as learning tool. Flipping the classroom model, using drupal from the beginning - this is the end product and then backing up to the server and the whole stack. Before I did this - engagement was low, but building something... that's when the light goes on. Those aha moments happen all the time. I would like to bring more of that to the classroom - we need to go more into lower levels of education so that students grow up with the technology.
  • Calvin: My aha moment was Drupalcon - both the opening and closing sessions and the group picture. You feel a sense of community and pride for all the work that everyone does. I look forward to being a part of that
  • Hasan: I've been to lots of conferences where I speak about drupal. A lot of people take drupal as it is and put it on shared hosting, which isn't great for drupal. There are lot of things to help optimise drupal on shared hosting and for marketing. A lot of companies wonder about all the code and how to optimise their sites for google... make it a better cms for SEO and social media integration. Optimisation beyond what it does out of the box - there are a lot of tools to help, and many people aren't aware of that.

Thank you all of you for taking the time to take these questions and share what you will bring to the DA and the project. I'm looking forward to the next phase. Voting begins on Sunday 15 September. Until the, people can keep asking questions on the association website at: https://association.drupal.org/nominations.