Dries for President

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!

Comments

David W (not verified):

I think you'll continue to make an excellent president of the program. After working for many different organizations it is clear to me that leadership makes all of the difference. Your leadership is a large part of the reason why the Drupal project, upon which rests the livelihood of so many people, is such a good project.

Dries for President!

February 3, 2009 - 11:34
Geshan (not verified):

I support you.

February 3, 2009 - 11:39
jam (not verified):

Yes we can!

February 3, 2009 - 12:05
Ximo (not verified):

Constancy Can Happen ;)

I don't think I need to explain why Dries is a good candidate for this presidency.

February 3, 2009 - 12:35
Mikkel H√łgh (not verified):

@David W.: I'll second that :)

February 3, 2009 - 14:38
Christopher Pelham (not verified):

Thanks for offering to continue. I support you! Dries, I really appreciate, beyond all of your great ideas and technical work, your ability to listen well, to distill information, and to emphasize communication and the role of PEOPLE. I think you are really on the right path and the vibrance of the Drupal community is a reflection of that.

February 3, 2009 - 14:43
Marc Robinsone (not verified):

This candidacy statement is one of the most touching one I could ever read in my entire life.

More good reason to vote Dries for President.

God speed in the election...

February 3, 2009 - 15:08
Hagen Graf (not verified):

Dries, Dries, Dries :-)

February 3, 2009 - 15:47
Prameya Bhandari (not verified):

You have my support! :)

February 3, 2009 - 16:28
IntoxiNation (not verified):

Hail to the chief!

February 3, 2009 - 19:18
seutje (not verified):

You've got my vote, if it counts.

February 3, 2009 - 21:30
Grant (not verified):

Good Luck!

February 3, 2009 - 22:55
mac (not verified):

Surely I support your candidature. We all saw what happened when they removed Steve Jobs as CEO of apple years ago, and unless there are good reasons for which one should not re-elect you, I would say: yes, Dries for President! :)

As for managing large international events, having had that role myself for various international institutions, I can say that:
1. Yes you probably need a dedicated person for that
2. IME that job was much frustration for X months followed by three days of satisfaction and sense of achievement... but I suppose part of the reason was that I had to deal with diplomatic priorities that had nothing to do with the priorities of the event/project in question.

Best luck for the voting day, anyhow! :)

February 4, 2009 - 02:09
James Kelly (not verified):

Kick some butt!!! I know you will!

james

February 4, 2009 - 09:24
Jakob Petsovits (not verified):

> We all saw what happened when they removed
> Steve Jobs as CEO of apple years ago, (...)

One might say that Steve Jobs has been doing an awful job at preparing the company to live without him. The media focus on his visions and charisma might have been a good thing in promoting Apple products, but then (and now) are backfiring when Steve Jobs is going out of office.

Dries might be with us for a long time coming, but in the long term the Drupal community should make sure to raise the bus factor and lower the dependency on a single BDFL.

February 4, 2009 - 10:01
Shaun (not verified):

You have my vote. No questions.

February 4, 2009 - 13:29
mac (not verified):

> One might say that Steve Jobs has been doing an awful job
> at preparing the company to live without him.

Well ... he was basically thrown out of the company he co-founded! :( However he went away, created NEXT (on which the www architecture was developed and tested), produced one of the most awesome OSes ever made (it became OSX afterwards) and finally the board of Apple came back to beg for him to take back the lead of the company.

Too bad meanwhile Apple was almost gone! :-/

Anyhow: Dries' case is different, and I go with you in saying that when the time for succession will come I will expect key-people (Dries included) to do their best for a smooth transition.

Till then: go Dries go! ;)

Ah... despite my name, I am a GNU/Linux user, so no religion war here! :)

February 4, 2009 - 17:50
Nicolas Borda (not verified):

It's obvious Dries should be elected as president, it's the only way we can really push forward Drupal. This is a critical point in the life of Drupal where we can make Drupal as popular as Joomla or Wordpress, like it rightfully deserves to be. We need support and encourage things like the drupal.org redesign, and bringing in people outside of the community (like Mark Boulton and Jeff Noyes) to help us with things like usability. This gets me really excited about the out of the box solutions they, and the Drupal usability group might think of.

I'm really excited about the upcoming DrupalCon in Europe, looking forward to experience DrupalTown once again. I think encouraging a third DrupalCon per year would be fantastic. We briefly spoke in Szeged about my plans to make a DrupalCon in Peru, once I move back there next year. This will take time to organize but you can definitely expect to see a proposal next year for 2011 so we can give people enough time to plan ahead.

February 5, 2009 - 19:33
Yaroslav (not verified):

I congratulate you and very grateful to you for Drupal
Thank you Mr. Buytaert

February 7, 2009 - 01:11
Michel de Greef (not verified):

I cannot imagine that there would be a candidate better suited and qualified for the position of President.

Thanks Dries for all your past work, contribution and vision to Drupal in particular and Open Source in general.

Looking forward to more of it, filled with the same enthusiasm.

February 7, 2009 - 11:34

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