I founded Drupal in 1999, and have been the project lead since Drupal was first released in 2001. I've been a long-time Open Source user and contributor, and have co-founded two companies in the Drupal ecosystem: Acquia, in 2007, and Mollom, in 2008. I also co-founded the Drupal Association in 2006.
It's been an honor to be a part of the Drupal project, and it remains so today. Through my work with Drupal, I've become better at programming, communicating, and managing. I've made many friends, and because of them, I continue to spend the majority of my time — both business and leisure — working on Drupal. Our common goal to create the best web platform in the world and our shared commitment to empowering people to connect online continues to motivate and inspire me.
For the first time, my position as President of the Drupal Association is up for election. With this post, I'd like to submit my candidacy to serve as President for another two-year term. While I'm in no way perfect, I believe I have always served the Drupal project well and I understand the duties of this demanding role. My experience with the operational, financial, legal and social issues facing the Drupal Association is extensive, and I want to continue to use that experience in service to the Association.
I believe Drupal is about two things: people and software. In 2006, I helped establish the Drupal Association's almost exclusive focus on people, rather than software. I believed then, and now, that the people themselves create the software. While this separation of powers does not exist in most other FOSS foundations, I think that the model has worked well, and I'd like to support that separation going forward.
Despite our extensive activities in 2008, the Drupal Association has been held back by the lack of more active contributors, and particularly, contributors in some key areas of our organization. One role of the President is to lend focus to particular areas where the project should focus, to draw attention to the areas of the project that might be somewhat dysfunctional, and to bring in leadership to address these problems. Given that, I want to outline a few of the areas where I want to push the Drupal Association and where I believe we should extend the current team.
I believe the Drupal Association has trouble managing big projects. The Drupal.org redesign and the growing DrupalCons are good examples of big projects. We always get them done, but it is often painful and stressful. Being volunteers, it is hard to do big projects, and we're only beginning to learn how to manage them. Delegation is a great mechanism for that, and we have yet to realize its potential.
If re-elected, I'd like to promote the organization of more face-to-face meetings. There is no better way to work together and make big things happen than by putting people together in a room. In the next couple of years, I would like the Board of Directors to get together more often, and I'd like the Drupal Association to help fund or organize more DrupalCons, more DrupalCamps, and more Drupal meet-ups as well as increase our presence at conference and trade shows. I think the Drupal Association needs two Directors for this: an Events Director responsible for the organization of DrupalCons, and a User Group Director responsible for supporting user groups and smaller events.
To date, the Drupal Association is responsible for making at least two global Drupal events happen each year; one Drupal conference in Europe and one Drupal conference in North America. I think we should outsource these to an event planning organization (except for the technical program and the sponsorship management) so they can continue to grow bigger and better. I believe we should direct our own efforts to bootstrapping a third DrupalCon — one in Asia or South America. It will be a multi-year effort, but I think it is where we can add most value.
I also think that the Drupal Association should have a Director of Project Management, with a mandate to help delegate and manage some of the Drupal Association's technical projects (e.g., improving our CRM system, setting up a single-sign on system, implementing an advertising program).
Drupal has become a large project, which means that it is no longer possible for everyone to know everything. As a result, the need for good communication is increasingly important. To ensure that this vital communication exists, I think the Drupal Association needs a Communication Director responsible for informing the Drupal community about important events. The Communication Director should have responsibility over the Drupal.org front page and provide help with press releases and media.
In addition to these new roles, we should continue to have a Treasurer, a Secretary, a Fundraising Director, an Infrastructure Director and a Legal Affairs Director.
If we can't fill all these positions in 2009, that's OK. Or, if the final positions differ from the positions the ones I outlined, that is not necessarily a problem either. At the end of the day, we always have to match the capabilities of people to our goals — not the other way around. As the current President, and with the little time that I might have left, I will proceed trying to recruit these people. I hope we can build such a team, and that I have the honor to be part of it for at least another 2 years. Thanks!
— Dries Buytaert
Dries Buytaert is an Open Source advocate and technology executive. More than 10,000 people are subscribed to his blog. Sign up to have new posts emailed to you or subscribe using RSS. Write to Dries Buytaert at firstname.lastname@example.org.