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If you're a regular visitor to the Acquia website, you were probably surprised at what you saw the last time you stopped by. Aside from our new company logo, the whole site has a very different look, navigation, and main message points from a few days ago. This is the result of a project that has kept our marketing teams busy for the last few months.
Although this design represents the most profound website changes in the company's history, it's not the first time we've done this. Here is what our initial website looked like in 2008:
Acquia.com in March 2008
... and in 2009:
Acquia.com in July 2009
... and until this week:
Finally, here it is today:
Aside from obvious visual changes, we've tried to explain Acquia's products and services better. The experiences of the last three and a half years have shown us what people want from us, what we do well, and how to best match the two. I don't think we could have made our site so clear a year ago, and can only imagine what refinements future revisions will bring.
This is a big deal for Drupal -- it's not every day that one of the hottest technology start-ups switches one of its sites to Drupal. At Acquia, we have been working with Twitter on this site but couldn't talk about it for the longest time. I'm glad we finally can because it's a great use case for Drupal.
Twitter has 750,000 developers who have created nearly a million apps, making 13 billion API calls per day. Those are some astonishing figures! A population that big requires a lot, as we in the Drupal community know.
Fortunately, Drupal handles big communities well. Developer communities have been quick to recognize that and have adopted Drupal at a remarkable rate. Among them are the Brightcove developer community, Symantec Connect's developer community, DivX's developer community, and many more. Drupal's own website, Drupal.org, has more than a million registered users and is one of the largest developer communities in the world. Needless to say, drupal.org runs on Drupal.
Twitter is a curious case. On its face Twitter only has to do one thing -- deliver short messages in one-to-many mode. But its published APIs (and enormous popularity) have led developers to create a lot of interesting things. That's also why Drupal sites can publish to Twitter, and vice versa, via the Twitter module.
In the end, that is what good developer communities are all about. Developers are like molecules, vibrating with intensity and vigor. Their individual movements can seem random. But together in the right environment, they can form waves -- or snowflakes. Nurturing a community in which both are possible is the challenge every software project faces; I'd like to think that Twitter, through Drupal, is creating the right environment.
Anyone who runs a high-availability Drupal site knows about Varnish, the open-source HTTP reverse-proxy server. Varnish intercepts requests before they hit the web server and delivers relevant information that it finds in its cache, resulting in lower loads and radically faster pages.
Because we love Varnish, Acquia is organizing and sponsoring two Varnish release parties. One is in Boston, at the Cambridge Brewing Company from 6:30 to 8:30pm; a second is in Portland at the Lucky Labrador Brewing Company starting at 6:00pm. Both are on Thursday, June 16th. See the Varnish 3.0 party page for parties at locations near you.
It's a great opportunity to meet fellow web geeks and have some good (free!) beer. I'll be at the Boston party, and look forward to seeing the local Varnish users!
Further details are on Varnish's web site. See you this Thursday!
Last week, we flew everyone at Acquia that joined before 2011, as well as their significant others (or someone of their choice) to the Caribbean to celebrate an incredible year. I wrote about the trip in my blog post titled "Acquia goes to the Caribbean". Now we're back from this amazing trip, I've uploaded my pictures to my Puerto Rico 2011 album and included some below. Work hard, live hard!
There are two things that I need most; (a) a hair cut and (b) more time. A hair cut I just got last weekend so that leaves me with finding more time.
I need more time because things continue to grow: Acquia now has more than 100 people and a product portfolio with multiple product lines; we're growing the Drupal Association so we can organize more and bigger events and keep improving our website and infrastructure; I'm bootstrapping Drupal 8 development; and more.
While I have many people helping me, I need to continue to scale myself as things grow. There are things I want to do that I'm not currently doing, and there are things I need to do more of. Thus, as a next step in scaling my Acquia and Drupal related work, I'm establishing an "Office of the CTO" at Acquia.
My plan is to hire a select number of people into the Office of the CTO to help me with the many things I do; from working with the Drupal community, to helping with Acquia's product strategy, to researching Drupal competition, business development, and building proof-of-concepts and incubating new ideas. I'm looking for people that want to live part of my life, who can represent me and work directly with me on a day-to-day basis.
The past years I've focused a lot on Acquia's products and product strategy, as well as getting Drupal 7 released. Right now, I feel I need to focus on kicking off Drupal 8 development, streamlining the Drupal Association, and looking for new product ideas for Acquia. If I hire well, I expect to be able to develop both these interests and also develop the people in the office of the CTO. More details to follow.
This week many of us at Acquia will be on an epic trip to the Caribbean.
Venture backed start-ups set aggressive goals. At Acquia, our goal for 2010 was to increase 2009 revenue by 250%. No small goal, no small feat. In the beginning of 2010, most people in the company were skeptical that we would make the goal. Jokingly, we set a "stretch goal": if we increased revenues by more than 450%, we'd do something crazy. We decided that we would fly the entire staff and their significant others to some place warm.
The passion, drive and energy on the team was unprecedented. People worked weekends and nights to beat our wildest dreams. Twelve months later, we not only beat our realistic goal, we beat the stretch goal!
This week we'll be flying everyone in the whole company who were with us in 2010, as well as their significant others (or someone of their choice) to Puerto Rico in the Caribbean. We'll be there from Thursday to Sunday this week to celebrate an incredible year. It is going to be an epic trip. Oh, how dizzying is the start-up life. Stay tuned for pictures!
Open source is the best way to build and distribute software. There are few things about which I'm more convinced. In some, but not all cases, Open Source also offers a viable business model. When it does, it's great because it allows you to do well and do good at the same time. I'm convinced that Open Source is the future for all software needs, but niche applications. I believe in this so sincerely that I've spent over ten years of my life building Open Source software, and I haven't once faltered on my resolve. In fact, I've become more convinced over the years.
The second factor about which I'm convinced is that traditional hosting as we know it today will be for bespoke applications. Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) will become the de-facto standard for building and hosting web applications, especially in combination with Open Source web applications. I believe in this so much that I've been betting Acquia on it since its inception three and a half years ago. Now it seems the markets are aligning with that vision: the hosting industry, after years of being dormant, is going through a new innovation cycle driven by "cloud computing".
With both Open Source, PaaS and SaaS, the question is not if it will happen, but when. The transition is inevitable; it might take ten, twenty or thirty years, but it's just a matter of time. The terms PaaS and SaaS might die along the way, but their concepts will certainly remain and change the hosting industry.
I'm willing to bet that in the future, every Open Source web project that wants to reach a certain level of adoption, will have to provide a PaaS and SaaS offering in order to be truly relevant. I think that's exciting because it creates new business models for Open Source projects which will help fuel the Open Source movement. In fact, I hope that Acquia can become a role model for other Open Source projects and Open Source companies. It's going the take plenty of hard work, but the passion and the conviction is certainly there.