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I think Sun/MySQL's Marten Mickos nailed it when he said "There's a difference between organizations that have more time than money and organizations that have more money than time". Read Savio Rodrigues' post on InfoWorld and Matt Asay's post on CNET for more background.
Companies or individuals that have more time than money, don't mind asking support questions on the drupal.org forum, debugging problems or implementing missing functionality. Often, they thoroughly enjoy themselves participating in the community. This is exactly what the Drupal community is good at: collaboration and innovation. As a community, we should continue to invest in tools and documentation, and we should make Drupal faster, easier and better.
Companies that have more money than time, hire a consultant, get a support contract, and pay for a subscription to electronic services that helps them manage their Open Source software stack. They often don't want to collaborate or drive innovation. They want someone to cultivate the Open Source wilderness and to remove the product's pain points. This is exactly the business that Acquia is in. Acquia will build the Drupal-tuned analogue of the RedHat Network, over which we can deliver a wide variety of electronic services intended to be useful to people developing and operating Drupal websites.
Money versus time. It is a no-brainer. Marten nailed it.
Acquia was one of six companies chosen to present at the Launch Pad event at the Web 2.0 Expo San Francisco last week. Selection for Launch Pad was a great honor - more than 150 companies submitted applications - and a tremendous opportunity to showcase Drupal to the 10,000 attendees at the Web 2.0 Expo.
Jeff, Barry and Bryan worked hard building a five minute presentation and demo that highlights all the goodness of Drupal and explains what Acquia does. A video of the presentation is included below. Great job!
Every week, several people ask me what I spend time on at Acquia? What does a co-founder and start-up CTO in a high-tech company do?
In starting a company, there are lots of things that have to be done but my main responsibility right now is to deliver Acquia's first product to the customer. This includes managing multiple threads ...
Roughly 50% of my time is spent building a rockstar team. So far I've been very lucky in finding folks smarter than myself. I've looked at over 100 resumes from engineers the past weeks and we interviewed many candidates. We hired one. If you're interested, we're actively looking for first rate hires ...
Approximately 25% of my time is spent running engineering and directing product development. The latter includes specifying the product, defining what our engineers will work on, ensuring that we're on track, and making sure that we have the best technology. I also enjoy talking to other projects and companies to create options for both Acquia and the Drupal community.
In my role as CTO, I don't think I've contributed a single line of code to Acquia's upcoming products. I expected this, but I find it surprising nonetheless. Instead I'm often sidetracked into marketing, human resources, and customer service related activities. It is interesting and refreshing to be on both the technical side and the business side of things. I like it a lot.
I obviously spend a substantial amount of time working in the Drupal community -- often after hours like has been the case for many years. Drupal continues to be an act of passion. I'd say 40% of my Drupal time is spent in the Drupal.org issue queue, 60% of that time is working behind the scenes. For example, at the end of 2007 I spent 3 weeks connecting publishers and authors, and if all goes well, this should result in 10 Drupal books being published in 2008. In other words, a lot of (strategic) e-mail.
Going forward, I'd like to spend more time talking to Acquia's engineers and contributors in the Drupal community. I have many ideas in the back of my head, both for Drupal and for Acquia, but I simply haven't had time yet to describe these ideas as complete and detailed as I'd like to. I have a desire to express my ideas but I've to research and refine them first before I can comfortably do so. I'll need to allocate time for that. Until then, they are just that; vague ideas in the back of my head.
Acquia (my company) is part of an exceptional group of companies vying for the 2008 Red Herring 100 North America award. The award recognizes the top 100 privately held companies in North America. This is big because previous winners included companies like Google, Yahoo!, Skype, Netscape, Salesforce.com, and YouTube. It is still early days for Acquia but it is good to get noticed early on. The winners will be announced in May so fingers crossed ...