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NVidia recently launched their new Tegra developer community on Drupal. See http://developer.nvidia.com/tegra. The announcement of the latest Tegra 2 chipset was one of the major news items at CES earlier this month. The Tegra 2 chipset incorporates 8 independent processors to handle web browsing, HD video encoding/decoding as well as mobile gaming, all with very low power consumption. It is perfect for tablets ...
NVidia came to Acquia to help them get the site built. Development was done by Chapter Three (an Acquia partner) and Wiredcraft, while Acquia hosts the site on the Acquia Hosting platform and provides 24x7 monitoring and support. They are also using Mollom to protect their site against spammers.
Red Hat just launched OpenSource.com on Drupal. The site will focus on exploring what happens when the open source way is applied to the world, beyond technology. The site has 5 main channels: business, education, government, law, and life. In each channel, they'll explore how open source is having an impact on each of those areas. The content is meant to be very conversational and participatory, making Drupal a natural choice. Needless to say, it is great to see Drupal being used to promote Open Source way beyond technology. It is also rewarding to see Red Hat, the mother of all Open Source companies, using Drupal.
Yesterday I shared my 2009 retrospective on Drupal along with some predictions for 2010. Today, I want to reflect on Acquia's 2009, as for obvious reasons, Acquia has been a big part of my life in 2009.
At the end of 2007, we had convinced ourselves -- and our investors -- that there was a market for Drupal support and Drupal-related products. In 2008, we built a great team and grew from two employees early in the year to thirty people by the end of 2008. After nine months, in October 2008, we finally opened our doors for business and we wrapped up the year with a couple dozen customers. 2009 was really Acquia's first year in business (i.e. revenue-bearing year), making it a very important year for us as a company. Other than delivering great support, we had to demonstrate that there was a market for Drupal support, and prove our business model by discovering many of the unknowns and validating our assumptions (e.g., average sales cycle, conversion rates, operational costs, etc). 2009 was also the year that we had to build a sales and marketing process that is both scalable and efficient.
We kicked of 2009 with a big but important change. When we opened for business at the end of 2008, customers could purchase commercial support for all the modules in Acquia Drupal, our free distribution of Drupal. We learned relatively fast that people wanted support for more than just Acquia Drupal. So, only a couple of months later, in the first week of January 2009, we announced our support for all things Drupal 6, including all modules and themes available on drupal.org as well as custom code.
Next, at a two-day management meeting early in the year, we established some very ambitious goals and shared the details publicly in our 2009 roadmap. With all these new projects, we needed additional management bandwidth in the company so Jay and I hired Tom Erickson as Acquia's new CEO. This has been one of our best decisions to date, as Tom has proven to be phenomenal at his job.
To deliver on the vision outlined in our roadmap, we had to raise more money -- no small thing given the downturn in the economy. Instead of reserving cash, Tom and I went out and raised an additional $8 million dollars in Series B funding, bringing our total funding to date to $15 million USD.
A Series B financing typically happens when the company has proven its core value proposition, has demonstrated its ability to find customers, and has proven its business model. In the first six months of 2009, we grew our customer base to 250 paying customers -- demonstrating the market for Drupal support, validating our business model, and allowing us to raise that Series B funding.
We used part of the new funding to accelerate our support business and grew it to more than 400 customers by the end of 2009. We handled thousands of support requests last year. The size and type of business also grew throughout 2009 -- 2009 was definitely a turning point for enterprise Drupal adoption.
The rest of the new funding was used to build the new products outlined in our 2009 roadmap, including Acquia Hosting, Acquia Search, various Acquia Stack Installers and Drupal Gardens (currently in private alpha). We helped get the Acquia Stack Installers included in Ubuntu, Solaris, and on Microsoft's Web Gallery. Our Windows version was one of the top downloads on the Microsoft Web Gallery.
We also helped Whitehouse.gov to move to Drupal -- an important turning point for Drupal within the government sector.
As a company, we contributed back to the Drupal community by funding much of the usability work carried out by Mark Boulton, by helping with developing the Field API for core, by providing manpower and funding for some of the drupal.org redesign work, by helping with the drupal.org test infrastructure, by contributing to Drupal's Apache Solr integration, by sponsoring local and global Drupal events, by giving away free hosting, and much much more. In short, we tried to help where (I believe) Drupal needed help the most.
For a small company of our size, we had a lot of balls in the air, but we learned to juggle well. Most companies don't share their roadmaps but we did, we stuck with it, and we delivered. I'm proud of Acquia for what we did in 2009 -- it has been a great year.
As for 2010? The launch of Drupal Gardens will be a big blip on our 2010 radar. Later in January, we have another two-day management meeting to finalize our roadmap for 2010. Keep an eye on acquia.com or on my blog if you want to learn more about our plans. A lot of what we'll do will resolve around extending and improving our existing products in support of our customers, but we'll probably launch a few surprises as well. Stay tuned!
Update: Tom posted his perspective on 2009 on the Acquia blog. Good that we're on the same page. :-)
On his very first day in office, President Obama directed all federal agencies to break down barriers to transparency, participation, and collaboration between the federal government and the people it is to serve. Last week, the Obama administration published the Open Government Directive (OGD). The directive, sent to the head of every US federal department and agency, instructs the agencies to take specific actions to open their operations to the public. The three principles of transparency, participation, and collaboration are at the heart of this directive. It could be big for Drupal, and Open Source.
The directive imposes concrete milestones and specific requirements on the federal agencies. In 120 days, each agency needs to publish a detailed Open Government Plan of their own; within 45 days each federal agency must publish at least three new high-value data sets and register those data sets via Data.gov; and within 60 days, each department must set up a page or website at agency.gov/open. The /open-website needs to outline how the agency is going to open its data, but also tools with which the public can comment on it.
Personally, I think /open makes for a brilliant convention -- I hope it will be adopted by governments and organizations all around the world.
While the path to an open government will be a long journey with many challenges beyond just picking a website technology, this could be a great opportunity for Drupal. Within 60 days, every federal agency will need to have an interactive website setup at agency.gov/open. Drupal has all the features required to implement agency.gov/open (e.g. commenting, blogging, forums, aggregation, data mashups, micro-blogging, voting, etc). Drupal is perfect to get these /open-websites up and running quickly, and makes for a great foundation to extend its functionality in the future. Plus, by using an Open Source technology, agencies can share and collaborate on both best practices and code. It is a no-brainer.
At Acquia, we'll continue to build out our government offerings and ecosystem. Although we will be announcing the full set of details of our government offering in January, highlights will include a "starter kit" for government agencies to quickly achieve their /open requirement. In addition, we have already launched a webinar series -- we kicked it off last week with a webinar that included Andrew Hoppin (CIO of the New York State Senate) and how they are using Drupal to achieve their OGD requirements. In January 2010, we will be launching our first webinar with the General Services Administration, and we will be presenting at the OGD workshop that the Department of Transportation is organizing.
The Acquia partner ecosystem will also play a key part in our efforts, from our system integration partners who will help deliver the strategy and implementation, to our technology partners, such as Alfresco, who can deliver critical components related to the OGD such as document and records management.
And while agencies hash things out, Vivek Kundra (US Chief Information Officer) and Aneesh Chopra (US Chief Technology Officer) committed that within 60 days, they will create an Open Government Dashboard on http://www.whitehouse.gov/open. (Remind that Whitehouse.gov is a Drupal site.) This dashboard will publish each agency’s Open Government Plan, together with aggregate statistics and visualizations to track the agencies' progress toward meeting the deadlines for action outlined in the OGD.
Today is a special day at Acquia: customer service day. We grew so quickly that our support team often find themselves working until after midnight to meet customer demands. Everybody in the company, from sales to engineering, including myself, will be helping in support today. Talking to customers, helping them where we can to make sure they are successful with Drupal.
With products like Acquia Hosting, Acquia Search and Drupal Gardens, Acquia is very much a technology start-up. And yet, when we launched the company, the first thing we focused on was building our support organization and releasing a support product, rather than building technology products like Acquia Hosting, Acquia Search or Drupal Gardens. There are a number of reasons for that, but one of them is that we wanted support to be a core part of Acquia's DNA. Support is crucial for everything we do; from supporting Drupal sites that are hosted outside of Acquia, to supporting customers that are hosted on Drupal Gardens or Acquia Hosting. And it is working. Our support business is our main source of revenue, and it has taken off better than expected.
Tom and myself very much want to grow Acquia through a customer-focused culture. It is a lesson that I've learned through Drupal, and a lesson that Tom brings from previous experience. There is a lot of power in fostering the right culture. It manifest itself in the Drupal community. The culture of Drupal is at the heart of why Drupal is winning. It is why so many of us can be fanatical about making Drupal better, and it leads to a lot of word of mouth marketing and recommendations. If you are serious about building something big and changing the game, you better get the culture of the team right. Culture enables passion, and passion can even make the impossible, possible.
So today we have an all-company customer service day at Acquia because we grew so quickly, but also because we want our whole team to be absolutely committed to making our customers successful with Drupal. And in doing so, we build the right culture -- a culture that is built on supporting the customer.