A small portion of my world was shaken by The Drupal Association's announcement about Neil and Marta today. Neil had some rocky times with the community, but Drupalcon Denver really changed all of that. As he came to understand the community and how passionate we all are about what we do and how tight a community we all are he became one of us. I would hazard to say there are a significant number of us that don't just think of him as the con's organizer but also a close friend. I got to know Neil well during Drupalcon Denver and can honestly say that his grounded down-to-earth nature, his skills as an organizer, and his willingness to listen and adapt to how we do things was a real boon to the community. You will be missed.
I don't know Marta as well as Neil, but I've very much enjoyed my visits with her.
A few days ago I was giving a presentation on Project Management at Drupalcon Munich. While talking about my background, I mentioned how Technical Theatre has parallels to Project Management in Web development. Drupal itself has parallels to the act of building a show for the theatre when you are in the act of building a site.
Technical Theatre is the art of the technology behind the modern theatre. It is also known as stagecraft.
Stagecraft is a generic term referring to the technical aspects of theatrical, film, and video production. It includes, but is not limited to, constructing and rigging scenery, hanging and focusing of lighting, design and procurement of costumes, makeup, procurement of props, stage management, and recording and mixing of sound.
Drupalcon Munich is just around the corner. I'm busy revamping my presentation on Project Management, thinking hard about what I've learned since the last couple of times I've presented on this subject. The truth is, I'm constantly learning new tips and tricks from the people I work with. These days, I'm busy learning the styles of an almost whole new crew of folks. One guy, Morbus is a well known quantity.
My role at Trellon is somewhat different than what I was doing at Examiner. Examiner was leveraging my overall experiences and allowing me to take part in some strategic decisions - but wasn't fully making use of my experience since 1995 when I got into the crazy business of information technology. Strangely enough, my work in Technical Theatre was some of the best preparation for the Internet world. I'll write more on that another time.
In Munich, come to my session and learn why:
Denver was my 9th Drupalcon. It was also the Con that opened my eyes. I became part of a very exclusive club and I'll never see another con in the same light.
Being on the Local Organizing Committee was exciting, exhausting, satisfying, and completely worthwhile. So, if you want to spend a little time with me looking back, I'd like that.
Many Many Months Ago
I heard a little yippee from the cube beside mine in the Examiner.com offices. It was a little nervous but definitely excited.
"Hey, hey Matthew. Pop onto #dcondtown."
I popped into the IRC channel and there was a little celebration going on. Denver had been selected for the North American Drupalcon in roughly 18 months. Contracts still needed signing - we were told to keep quiet. This needed to be SECRET until Drupalcon Chicago. But were going to start planning. We were a tiny team at this point - 10 or 12 of us.
We established a weekly meeting time - generally we would meet in Skype, although sometimes we would simply meet in IRC. We needed to finish doing things like:
- Finalising the Venue
- Figuring out the food
- Organizing Partys
- Line up local volunteers
- Secure Hotels
- Figure out our Social Networking Strategy
- Build the Website
- Fill the Website with Content
- Organize Local Marketing and Communication
- We had Local and Global Track Chairs
- We needed to work out the Keynotes
- We had massive amounts of signage to design
- And SO MUCH MORE
Examiner.com is a very proud sponsor of Drupalcon Denver. Part of the sponsorship includes ads on the Drupalcon site. The team at Examiner.com decided to have some fun with them. Five members of the team were chosen to be "subjects" of each ad. I am the fifth subject in a series of five stories chronicling different community member's alternate time-lines. Or am I? Sometimes life is a stranger the Fiction. I bet you can weed through what is and isn't real.
Saunders sat at his little Macbook Air. He tapped away with the force of a small pony. He was writing short stories about people he knew, people he cared about, people who he respected. Square orange pictures were the starting point for each of the Drupal stories.
Saunders was a Drupal Cuckoo - he started as an outsider. To be honest, you could classify a lot of members of the Drupal community in the same way - but he really did come far afield. Years before, he had been heavily involved in the arts community and theatre communities. His degrees were not in Computer Science or in Information Technology. Saunders was an artist. He found technology by accident while working for an Experimental Dance Company in Ottawa called Le Groupe de La Place Royale. He was deeply saddened in 2009 when the company that started his obsession with technology closed.
What started him down the path was a wild and crazy live video project in a festival called "The Edge" - it changed everything and started a chain of events that brought him to Drupal in 2006 at think-tank style meeting.
Examiner.com is a very proud sponsor of Drupalcon Denver. Part of the sponsorship includes ads on the Drupalcon site. The team at Examiner.com decided to have some fun with them. Five members of the team were chosen to be "subjects" of each ad. Morbus Iff is the second in a series of five stories.
There really is no translation for so much of what I'm writing here. I'm doing my best to take something that is so very alien to the human mind and make it digestible and give it context so we, such a small creature tucked inside of itself, can begin to fathom the story of Morbus Iff. His (its/her) species is nothing like we are accustomed to - but, it turns out, they are very very adept with PHP. So bear with me dear reader, as I weave the Strange Tale of Morbus Iff and how he came to develop on Drupal.
Part I - The Seedling
The Seedling had the beginnings of a conscious mind. The very start. The beginning murmurs. A speck of thought. The Seedling was nestled in its incubation node, floating in a warm slurry of nutrients. At this point the Seedling had no name - just an attribution of numbers associated with the incubation node. A name would be assigned based on the order in which the Seedling emerged from the pod and began consuming information and food outside of its current dwelling. This was known as the Extensible Mandible Line - Reproductive Pod Conduit, providing input for the little larvae to survive. Little did it know that it would become central to the most important Content Management System a creature called Homo Sapiens would ever know all those millions of light years away.
Examiner.com is a very proud sponsor of Drupalcon Denver. Part of the sponsorship includes ads on the Drupalcon site. The team at Examiner.com decided to have some fun with them. Five members of the team were chosen to be "subjects" of each ad. After they were done, it seemed it would be fun to include a back story for each.
Disclaimer: THIS IS FICTION. Nothing here bears any kind of truth.
It is complete and utter nonsense.
Rok Zlender makes an audacious claim. He tells us he has been attending Drupalcons since 2006. To debunk this claim, we have to travel back to rural United States in 1898. We need to travel to Damascus Virginia.
Part I - Chipmunks and River Otters
Rok's ancestors aren't from Slovenia as he claims. In fact, his grandfather, Roger Slender, attended the first school in Damascus. It was built just south of the railroad trestle across Beaver Creek. Roger loved "The Little Red School House" with its three rooms. Mr. Jones Baker was his teacher and he learned spelling, geography, and grammar. For three years he revelled in his studies and learned quickly. Roger was a bright student with a bright future ahead of him.
Then disaster struck.
The Little Red School House burned down in 1901. School resumed in the Lutheran Church and Roger's fate changed - and in a strange way would intertwine with Garrison Keillor's - the man that has made Lutherans funny. But that is another story that won't begin until 1942 and has little to do with the man we now know as Rok. Roger came to despise the tiny town - even today it has fewer than 1000 people - that stole his beloved Red School House. He refused to speak and was desperate to get away. Much to his parents dismay, he ran away from home and joined a travelling band of Appalachian Trail hikers who earned a living by selling woven coverlets that were made from the wool of river otters and chipmunks.
Want to save $50? If you're planning on going to Drupalcon Denver today is the last possible day to get in at the early bird pricing. At midnight Mountain Time, the price goes from $350 to $400. That extra $50 in Denver would a REALLY nice meal for a couple of people with drinks. It could get two people into the official party. It is an Association membership with $20 left over. Come on? What are you waiting for? REGISTER today to access more than 104 sessions including core conversations, three GREAT keynotes, more Birds of a Feather conversations than you can shake a stick at. That does not even include the networking opportunities.
If you register today, that comes to $70/day. That increases by $10/day tonight (February 21/2012) at midnight.
The time has finally come. You can sign up for volunteer jobs and time slots You may have received an email if you signed up previously on the general interest form or you expressed interest through Mailchimp. Sign up quickly for the spots you are interested in!
How can you help? We need tote bag stuffers, power strip placers and strikers, help desk helpers, and room monitors. What's in it for you? Well, first of all awesome karma and the knowledge you are contributing to our amazing community.
Not convinced? Well, you will also get a nifty t-shirt that calls you out as one of the elite - an awesome volunteer!
How do you sign up? Fill out the form below or go directly to the signup sheet.
TWO YEARS AT EXAMINER?!
In just a couple of days I will have hit my two year anniversary with Examiner.com. It is amazing to think I've been working on a single site for that long. I've seen amazing changes on the site in that time. When I started it was Cold Fusion and I was hired to shepherd the its march to Drupal. It was a giant migration project with a full redesign of the site in tow. Drupal 7 seemed barely a twinkle and yet that was what we were building in with a database I had no practical experience with. I was working with a brand new team of developers - a just stunning crew of Drupalers. I had also started a new Drupal company with great friends. Everything was in flux. Everything was changing. So was Examiner. An adventure had begun.