Meet the Candidates Update: Session Two Transcript

We had our second Meet the Candidates session on Thursday and got to speak to six more of our 13 candidates. Fortunately, this time, I was able to properly set up the recording, so you can listen to the entire session here, or check out the transcript below.

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

Participating candidates today:

Morten birch heide-jørgensen
Pedja Grujic
Eugenio Minardi
Matthew Saunders
Jared Smith
Matthew Tift

CANDIDATE STATEMENTS

Eugenio Minardi:
I am from italy, I work in a drupal shop, and have been in the community for 3 years. I like the drupal community, and would want more involvement in some minor communities, like the italian one, which is not as active as i would wish. I look forward to q+a so we can confer

Matthew Tift:
I live in Minnesota in the twin cities in the united states. I work for Wisconsin Public Radio. I have been a developer at Wisconsin public radio for the last 7 years or so - active in the area, drupalcamp twin cities, recently doing a lot more contributions to core. I am one of the core maintainers for drupal 8 confirguration system. I am dedicated to supporting the board, and where the community wants to go with drupal.org, promoting events. I know some of the challenges as an event organizer - the DA providing economic channels for camps to collect money, and there are a few more things and a few more ways the association can promote that amongst camps. There are all kinds of things I'd like to help out with and support. Many of the Drupal Association initiatives I think are great. I'm' very interested in helping do more and doing the great things they've been doing.

Mortendk:
I've been in the drupal community since 4.7 which is about 7 years now. I've been on the board for the last year, and am the chairman of the danish drupal association. The danish seems to be the biggest community in the world, based on country size / attendance at drupalcon. I kind of feel like my mission from last year is nearly done, but am missing some of the final things I've wanted to do - building a charter organization around drupal, working on the communication at the board, and keeping a deep contact with our roots, having a contact network of the community around the world. My mission for the next year is to keep on pushing for this more international focus, and the charter system around the DA and more tools for camps around the world. How do we make sure new people coming in have easier tools to work with for camps and keeping a community focus, where i've helped build the community summit, and actually be able to work on the community things we sometimes forget about. I hope for those kinds of things in the future - to help get the job i promised to do last year - done. I need a year more and then I should be done.

Jared Smith:
I'm an open source geek, currently working for blue host. I've had a long history of involvement in open source communities, from drupal to the fedora product. Lots of experience getting to help grow and foster other open source communities, want to take my expertise and experience to grow drupal community. I really want to focus on how do we keep up? how do we make sure the development community keeps up with the of the user community?

Matthew Saunders:
I am the director of client services @ aten design group. Have been working with the nonprofit sector since (awhile). I've been in the technology space since 1999 and i've been working with drupal around 2007. The first con i went to was barcelona …where i met morten   and it was a colorful experience and a lot of fun. I'm a process geek. I'm not a coder, not a developer. I look at process and process management, and i've engaged those tools in a lot of different projects ranging from boutique shops, to the lead manager of the migration of examiner.com. I've been deeply involved in the community almost from the get-go, organizing drupalcamps in colorado since the second one. We hit 400 a couple of years ago. I've presented at camps and cons and keynoted drupalcamp austin, and was an organizer for drupalcon denver. My motivation to run for the board is because the community embraced me. My deepest connections and deepest relationships have come from this community and every single time i've needed something from the community, they've pulled together and provided for me, and i am grateful for that. I feel like i've received more than i've given, and i want to give back more. I ran last year and i was asked whether i'd run again, and i said i'd be happy to do so. I'm on a nonprofit board, similar to the association. I have deep roots in the community, have the academic training to support this work, and two of my professional degrees are organizational management of nonprofits. My affection for the people in the drupal community really serves as a lens for how i'd serve on the board. I'd focus on good governance, and supporting Holly and the association through the art of good governance. As i get my balance, i'd like to start looking at youth more and how we continue to bring young people into the community. Open source projects like ours can suffer from the equivalent of HR attrition. It can kill a project, it can kill a community. We need to look to people who are younger, about bringing them in, and getting them the skills to become leaders in our community.

Pedja Grujic:
Director of technology of washington dc shop. Focus is to strengthen the quality and size of the drupal community. These are the people who keep the project going strong. Working with colleagues to grow the community locally, to seek out universities and colleges locally to find interns and expose them to drupal and open source in general. I want to bring these ideas to the drupal association to help with what worked and what didn't. Partnership with colleges and universities, to introduce students to drupal and open source communities. One of the biggest challenges is the number of skilled developers and talent pool. Dries' blog basically points out these things - the biggest challenge with drupal currently is shops can't get drupal talent. My primary focus is to expand the reach to help new users get involved and learn drupal. My unique blend of business strategy and technical vision would help add to the strategic direction of the drupal association. The association does a good job of promoting drupal, with is why i feel that drupal has become such a strong player among other platforms. I'd like to see more of is more promotion / bridging the gap to bring new talent on board

QUESTIONS AND ANSWERS

Question: What do you want to see more of from the drupal association, and what would you like to see less of?

  • Matthew Saunders: I'd like to see the da continue its outreach efforts. We're starting to have a sense that that's gaining traction. People are understanding what the DA is about more, making resources for camps and so forth. I want to see the da reaching out to younger people to take up the mantle of leadership. The da should be looking to strengthen the drupal brand. As we see drupal being adopted by bloggers up to governments (audio cut out) We should be looking not just for programmers, but project managers, and people who are focused on business. It's really important to widen the base of people who are supporting drupal and really try to be highly inclusive of professionals who are engaged in the community, who are not necessarily programmers
  • Mortendk: So i think the most important thing is to look at the tools we are providing for our developers and the community to work. d.o needs a ton of love, and if we don't get that done we're going to have major problems in a year. We've seen issues already - people are screaming to move to git hub. I do know as a frontend developer that there are a lot of things that could be better on d.o. There's no doubt that should be our top priority in the next year. I'm going to bang on this for the next year - to provide tools and help for people doing camps. There's no doubt that we need to think of what we're going to do in the future, of course we need new blood, new developers, fresh perspective and if we don't have the tools for people to develop in, and a place for people to start out learning drupal, that's where we got hooked in when we started, having that good space, have a good time, and if you can live by it, even better. The business and things will come by itself, where the money is the business will go. The da is mostly responsible in the next year for getting our developers the tools they need, so they don't get frustrated on the dumb things.
  • Jared: The one thing I'd like to see the da do, is to have events around the world, in south america and western europe, help make d.o better - ?
  • Matthew Tift: The main thing id like to see the DA do is to continue to grow its membership. I think there are lots of tools available that maybe aren't being taken advantage of now. The process for people becoming members of the drupal association, maybe get a sustaining membership in other organizations - "i'm going to become a member until i stop becoming a member" and getting small monthly donations. These are the questions jared would like to ask and see if there is more we can do on the website, 'why is the button green'? to become a member… etc. Improving targeted marketing for growing membership and retaining membership for years. Other nonprofit organizations will send out renewal notices prior to a membership expiration. The whole goal of raising the revenue and growing the membership is doing these initiatives, helping camps, helping improve d.o. From my perspective, looking over the mission statement and that type of thing, some of these things and programs are already in place, but it takes people to run them, people to reach out to the camps around the world and tell them of available da resources and give marketing / association resources for camps to distribute. The part about doing less, i haven't seen a lot of things i'd like to see less of though it seems like a lot of the times i see the association, or things associated with the association, it's a sponsored message, tweet, blog post, keynote introduction…. i wonder if there are other ways the association can raise some money, and maybe do less of these pay-for-play relationships
  • Eugenio: we should make it more accessible for people to enter and participate in the community

Question: What do you think is the single most important thing for the community to focus on for the drupal project to succeed

  • Mortendk: educating people on d8. Community members helping community members, and structure to provide resources for meet ups, etc of 'this is how things are done' and get people up to speed on d8 to make the project move on, i think that's very important - and that's a good opportunity for he DA to get more integrated with the community.
  • Jared Smith: Biggest challenge is keeping up the… making sure the end users can keep up with the releases of drupal and they have a good experience. And to keep up with the growth of the community in general … through governance and working groups … (lost audio)
  • Pedja: With drupal we do have to keep the drupal community updated on where the project is going. We've seen a snowball effect  - the whitehouse has adopted it. We want to continue this to drupal 8 of course. The more of the market we take, the more  resources we need for people to use drupal. The biggest challenge is finding the quality drupal developers (talent). The talent pool is getting smaller and smaller as the market share grows. Focusing on growing the community and growing the number of skilled developers should be one of the focuses of the association to introduce drupal to other projects, and to sell drupal as a viable career option.
  • Matthew Saunders: I want to echo what other have said, and put a bit of a twist on it. I agree we need to grow our community, to keep up with demand. What i've noticed is over the last few years, the average age of developers has risen from 20-something to 36, 37, 38, and some very young members. I'm worried about that donut hole between those people who are leading and those who are just coming in. When you're working with older people, you have more wisdom, more experience. but the job of us is to attract younger people to the community, and help build themselves up to positions of leadership. It's critical to the sustainability of the project as a whole to engage in those kinds of recruiting activity. It's not just something for the da, but for every member of the active community
  • Matthew Tift: The challenge isn't trying to find someone to run for the board. The way i would phrase it is the way of dealing with the growth of the community could be the single biggest challenge. Then there are other things related to that, drupal.org, the complexity of core, training people on drupal 8. I do think the complexity of core, moving forward, is going to become more of an issue. Yesterday was a big day, with people finding out about the fork of drupal, so i'll be interested to find out how that pans out. As the complexity of core grows, and core development can be something can just jump in and do, finding ways to fund people to work on drupal core is going to be a challenge.
  • Eugenio: Promoting organizations to sponsor developers work on core, and finding methods to fund core development. It's requiring developers to have more knowledge, which is more difficult, and the community is expecting drupal to have the same functionality as before

Question: It is not the board's role to touch the code, rather to help the community and marketing ..helping shape the product as something people want to use. How can we help create the best drupal product, without touching the code itself?

  • mortendk: good developer tools - people are getting older and more experienced, how do we get more people in - we have the mentoring programs, we need to use way more energy on that. d.o needs a ton of love...
  • Matthew Saunders: The association is a 5013c which has an educational mandate. Effort around raising money should be highly focused on providing educational opportunities, engaging in outreach and activities that support people to learn and insert themselves in the community so they can be better participants  and stewards of the code themselves. I believe the da has a mandate around education
  • Eugenio: I think to work a lot on branding, in order to make people want to learn, and to provide educational services, involvement with the universities, training and workshops …
  • Matthew Tift: The association could take more of a role in doing what other companies (like aquia) are doing about growing more core contributors. From what i understand there is nothing to preventing the association from hosting a code sprint, and bringing in the people to lead it. When there's a camp, maybe the association can use funds to speak about the importance of speaking of contributing to the code, and promoting the drupal association, hosting or helping with the planning of these camps, code sprints, events and maybe if there are funds available, flying in the initiative lead for different areas, and working on drupal core.
  • Pedja: the drupal association not getting involved with the code is a good thing. They should provide developer and project support to support module and core development. Modules are being sponsored or maintained by local shops. That's a program that can be supported more, from the member organization, whether financially or providing other benefits the da can help with education and out reach strategy, and help grow the market reach and market share rather than worrying about which module goes.
  • Jared: I'd like to focus on the working groups. I was involved early on in those discussions of what makes sense from a governance perspective. I want to see that idea continue and make sure those working groups have the tools needed to do their jobs and get recognition for the work they are doing

Question: the role of the board is not necessarily to step into association operations, what do you bring to the table as a board member from a governance perspective, and where is that line between governance and operations, board and staff?

  • Matthew Saunders: My question!I was the board vice president and secretary for an educational nonprofit that governs a charter school in colorado. its budget is the same size as the DA's budget. Although the specific group of people who that particular group of people that nonprofit serves is smaller, the same governance challenges exist. When i'm looking at board responsibilities, the board is responsible for health, goals, missions, and making sure the organization has the resources needed to operate. Then there's this shared area between board and leadership - strategic planning, organizational organization, policy, membership, employment terms - though employment sits directly in the ED's lap. Then we've got operational kinds of things, which the board should not get involved in. That means when there is disfunction in the organization - staffing, managing programs, internal systems, stuff like that the ED is to ask for advice from board members who have experience in these areas but they should never be making decisions in this area. The depth of nonprofits and board and the breadth of my involvement in the community over the last 6, 7 years…
  • Mortendk: grassroots perspective, a ton of experience, of 26 years of organizing and making people move in some way, and 7 years in the drupe community and knowing a ton of people. What i bring is a huge knowledge about the community - i have an idea people know who i am, people can come to me, and say dumb things but we can talk. It's great to work with people, and figure out how we can make things go better. The other thing i bring is international perspective - we need people on the board who are rooted all over the world. When we look at tactics, the board, we figure out what we need to get done, lay out a strategy, and figure out with the staff how are we going to do this. When i'm out at a camp, i will of course always go in and help. The thing about leadership is the lack of leadership we saw about two years ago - the da used to meddle things up, and that's changed over the last year. It's good to see that people know what they're doing. Not much for rules, rather would just get my hands dirty.
  • Matthew Tift: the way i understand the board, the main responsibilities is fundraising and financial oversight. The board can do a lot to try and help the drupal association staff and specifically the board seems like a good place where the board members need to keep in mind the mission. Asking staff how programs relate to the organization's mission. Asking questions and representing members of the association. It seems a bit like a politician, representing his people, to be in the room and paying attention, offering to help as needed, inserting yourself when you are knowledgeable about a certain area.
  • Jared Smith: one is an outside perspective, i've been involved with open source communities around the world and we're not the only community trying to solve the issues we're dealing with. Someone who understands the difference between the strategic and the tactical. I think my time isn't best spent diving into the code.
  • Pedja: with over 12 years working in various open source systems, and there are other systems with similar issues, i bring to the board the unique insight with challenges facing those markets. I worked a lot with member driven nonprofits, and have that experience with how they've used a system to drive that membership. I bring the strategy and the thinking of how to bring the drupal association, support our mission, and bring fundraising. The way i've seen other organizations do it the difference between what the staff and board do are clear - as a board we support the mission, participate with the policy and new initiatives we can help with.
  • Eugenio: I contributed to drupal italy, as the main orgaiser in 2012, with streaming. I am quick at getting things and getting a response, in italy it's not so easy to get such a (sorry missed this bit)

Question: Please share your favorite moment rom the drupal community that inspired you to run for the board, and create more of these

  • Mortendk: 3 years ago i had a daughter who was born premature, and the community was there. About a year ago i was frustrated with drupal and development, and i thought  "do i really want to use my time on this" and then you think about the people in the community again, and it brings you back in. It's kind of true when dries says, come for the code stay for the community. It was great to see the community bring my spirit up - and that has nothing to do with the code, it's just the community.
  • Matthew Saunders: my favorite moment happened a year and half, in a back chanel whispering of how denver was going to get drupalcon. That started an 18 month journey, that felt like i was taking a second job, a second full time job, and our community rallied together, and put on a pretty amazing, wonderful event. It culminated on the last day of the conference when our team stood on stage, and it was a relief, but also a sadness that it had come to an end, and a whole lot of pride. It's all about the people. As i'd mentioned earlier in our conversation, the people in this community have always found their way, of supporting me when i needed to be supported, and i want to help others, when they need to be supported. Some of my most rewarding relationships have grown from this amazing group of people and i truly believe if drupal were to disappear tomorrow, those relationships would continue on, and those friendships would not just go away. they would continue to deepen as they have.
  • Eugenio: when working on contributed modules, I got to know people on forums and irc. It was fun to find that people who are important to the community are just like us sometime and that was a bit of a reward.
  • Matthew Tift: there are a lot of favorite moments i could choose from. Last year at the twin cities drupal camp we'd decided at the last three years, that we'd make it a priority to bring people in who can help new contributors and run sprints and last year we just got lucky and all these drupal developers showed up at our camp - chx stayed at my house. We were at a sprint, and earl miles was there, and i asked 'what are you doing' and he said i can't tell you, it's secret" - and that's the day when views in drupal core came about. Tim plunkett and xjm and others were there and as a result of that, something really big, was born at drupalcamp twin cities
  • Pedja: I think it's hard to think a favorite moment - there have been plenty of those - dupalcon registration, or a camp, or capital camp, bad camp, or a drupal meet up, getting there for the first time, to register and you see the amount of people pooling around just showcase the strength of the drupal project and the community. Not five minutes go by that you don't see someone you know or you've worked on a project with. Last year i went on vacation and was able to go to many different cities, and meet up with drupal folks and that was  a great experience - and that's one of the great strengths. It's very close (and global!)