Mike and Matt talk with organizers of DrupalCon Europe about the organization of the conference, COVID-19, and differences between it and DrupalCon North America.

This Episode's Guests

Josef Dabernig

Josef Dabernig

Consultant at Unic. From Zurich, Switzerland, and an organizer of DrupalCon Europe

Ricardo Amaro

Ricardo Amaro

Ricardo Amaro - Principal Site Reliability Engineer currently living in Lisbon, Portugal and working for Acquia.

Baddý Sonja Ólafsdóttir Breidert

Thumbnail

Co-Founder of 1xINTERNET. Born and raised in Reykjavík, Iceland (and planner of DrupalCamp Iceland). Board member of the Drupal Association.

Transcript

Transcript

Matt:
From March 19th, 2020, it's the Lullabot Podcast!
Matt:
Hey everybody, it's the Lullabot Podcast, episode 246. I'm Matt Kleve, a senior developer at Lullabot. With me as always, co-host of the show, senior frontend dev Mike Herchel. Hey, Mike.
Mike:
Hey, Matt, how are you doing today?
Matt:
Pretty darn decent, and you know what? We're having a pretty wild couple of weeks since we had our last podcast, aren't we?
Mike:
Yeah, things are going a little helter-skelter.
Matt:
Let's take us out of that mindset and let's take us into a world where all is well and we're getting excited for a future Drupal event.
Mike:
But we're not talking about DrupalCon North America. We're actually talking about sunny, warm Barcelona.
Matt:
Barcelona, Spain, and that's a place where DrupalCon has been before.
Mike:
I'm pretty sure it's Barcelona, Catalunya. We'll have a talk with you about that.
Matt:
Okay, that's fine.
Mike:
Just so you know.
Matt:
We should have that conversation. I'm probably wrong, and we'll move on with life. So, for those who are unfamiliar with the Drupal community, the general feel is there are two DrupalCons in a year, generally speaking. One in Europe, one in North America, and we kind of rotate between the two every six months. And the Drupal community has a chance to get together and learn and share and get together.
Mike:
Yes, I would agree to that, yeah. It's nice to meet everybody in person.
Matt:
So, just looking ahead on the schedule, Mike you mentioned Minneapolis, which is scheduled for May of 2022, the 18th through the 22nd.
Mike:
Mm-hmm (affirmative), correct.
Matt:
And today we're talking about DrupalCon Barcelona, it's the European version. September 14th thru the 17th, right?
Mike:
Yeah, that sounds correct, I guess.
Matt:
I think this fall, I'm looking forward to that. And we have some folks who know a thing or two about DrupalCon Europe going on this year, right?
Mike:
Yes, we do.
Josef:
Yeah. I don't know.
Matt:
I was trying to get Mike to pronounce Baddý's name.
Mike:
No, no, you're doing it.
Matt:
First we have the cofounder of 1xINTERNET, born and raised in Reykjavík, Iceland, and planner of Drupal Camp Iceland. She was previously on the Drupal Europe, Not DrupalCon Europe podcast that we had, which was episode 227. She's a board member of the Drupal Association, and Baddý Sonja on drupal.org and Twitter. We have Baddý Breidert, Breidert?
Baddý:
Yes. It's a very long introduction, but thank you.
Matt:
And last time-
Mike:
Could you say your full name?
Matt:
Yeah.
Baddý:
So, my full name is Bjarney Sonja Ólafsdóttir Breidert, but just call me Baddý.
Matt:
We'll go with Baddý, yeah.
Mike:
Next up, we have a consultant at Unic, which is a development shop in Switzerland. dasjo on drupal.org and Twitter, previously on episode 220, which is Building a Sustainable Model for Drupal Contrib Module Development. From Zurich, Switzerland, welcome Josef Dabernig.
Josef:
Hello, hello. Thanks for having me.
Mike:
Thanks for being on.
Matt:
Also, along today on the podcast we have a principal site reliability engineer currently living in Lisbon, Portugal and working for Acquia.
Ricardo:
Hello.
Matt:
On Drupal and Twitter he's known as ricardoamaro. Hello Ricardo.
Ricardo:
Hi there.
Matt:
Glad you're here, and welcome to the podcast for the first time-
Ricardo:
Yeah, glad to be here.
Matt:
... you're the only newbie.
Ricardo:
Yeah, I hope this goes well.
Matt:
It's going to go great.
Mike:
And you all are organizers of DrupalCon Europe, correct?
Baddý:
Correct.
Ricardo:
Yup.
Josef:
That's true.
Mike:
So, let's maybe talk about maybe the history of DrupalCon Europe. Drupal started as a content management system in Europe, and there's been, I guess, yearly DrupalCons since... I don't know, what was the first major DrupalCon Europe. Does anyone know?
Baddý:
Now you're putting us on the spot, right?
Mike:
Yeah. Yeah, yeah.
Ricardo:
I think it was actually Barcelona or Paris. It was one of the biggest first ones.
Matt:
I was thinking there was an early get together that-
Ricardo:
Oh, there was, yes.
Matt:
... that you could call the first DrupalCon, but really it was a dozen or two people.
Mike:
Back to Barcelona, so why Barcelona? I've heard it's a pretty nice city. Is there a theme or anything like that for DrupalCon this year?
Baddý:
So, I would say it's very obvious reasons why Barcelona. I think we don't have to talk about that.
Mike:
I've never been to Barcelona.
Matt:
I've never been, I'd like to know. Why is it a good idea to go to Barcelona?
Mike:
Yeah.
Baddý:
So, Barcelona is a great city. It's sunny, it's nice weather, there is a good community there. I think we went there a couple of years ago, it was a great conference, one of the most successful conferences in-
Ricardo:
I think it's the third one we're doing in Barcelona actually.
Baddý:
Yeah. So, it's just been a good place, and I think we all like it and that factored really well and [inaudible 00:05:24] just decided to go there.
Matt:
Is the venue the same?
Baddý:
It's the same, yes.
Matt:
That's nice to have a little familiarity.
Baddý:
Yeah, if you remember it's... Well.
Matt:
Well, I mean, you know where the good place to eat is, or know your way around the area.
Baddý:
Yeah, I remember a great party, Amazee had a party on the beach, and that was basically next to the conference center-
Ricardo:
Oh, I went to that one. Yes, yes.
Baddý:
That was a great party.
Ricardo:
That was awesome.
Baddý:
So, I remember that. I think Josef can tell us everything about the theme, right?
Josef:
Totally, yeah. I was just thinking about... because we were talking about the history, and it seems that the Drupal community and DrupalCon is becoming more a long-term planner. So, now we already have DrupalCons planned out for several years. So yeah, I think the idea is to be able to plan a little bit more sustainable, and as we go to sometimes to the same city, we know what we expect, and this makes setting up the conference also easier. And as Baddý mentioned Barcelona had some great experiences already for the Drupal community as well. Yeah, we're looking forward to go there again.
Josef:
We have this year a theme, which is a new thing for us organizers that we are... So, Baddý, Ricardo and I, we are all on the program team, which is not organizing all of DrupalCon, but we're focusing on the organization of the program and the content, and this year we got started a little bit earlier and we went into a bit of a brainstorming session with different community members to think about what could be the direction of the DrupalCon program.
Ricardo:
I actually think that was a great idea to start it earlier because it actually gave us space to think more clearly about the tracks and the sub themes. So, good. Well done Josef.
Josef:
Totally, yeah. Thanks for that. Yeah, so we call DrupalCon Barcelona 2020, Experience the Open Web. So, what we want to bring to the community, to the visitors, to anyone who goes to DrupalCon, we want share the experiences that people have creating for the Open Web. So, building websites using Drupal and other related open-source technologies. So yeah, this gives us a framework to really share experiences, to also share contribution experiences, and maybe we can also ask Baddý and Ricardo what their thoughts were when we created the theme.
Mike:
Yeah, go into that please.
Baddý:
Yeah. So, I think maybe it started all... We talked about this a lot when we did Drupal Europe. It's a little bit about how can we combine more open-source technology? So, how can we make it a little bit more around the Open Web instead of just talking about Drupal. And it started, let me probably say in Nashville, there was this open-source lounge. Do you remember that? There was a lounge where it was sponsored by other open-source technologies.
Mike:
Yeah, it was sponsored by Automattic or something like that.
Baddý:
Exactly, and the idea came a bit from there. So, we took that to Drupal Europe, and then we also had our open-source lounge, and we got sponsorships from Google and Automattic again, and we had great conversations. TYPO3 was there, Rocket.chat was there-
Matt:
What is the open-source lounge? So, just different open-source projects get together and talk?
Baddý:
Exactly.
Ricardo:
I actually want to say something about that because I noticed that one of the parts we're talking about Rocket.chat, and there was also the founder of Nextcloud was there on Drupal Europe. And they actually, after Drupal Europe happened, they had a meeting together, and they joined forces to start a new project together. So, that is actually one of the things I like more about these kind of activities that make open source come together. Because separated we are so much weaker than we are together. We are so much stronger, and we have to be inclusive of all of the other projects there fighting for this freedom that we want to give to people, right?
Ricardo:
I remember the first time I installed Linux was in 1994. It was Slackware, I was actually surprised something like that could be out for free, right? Because back then we only had Windows 95 or something like that. And open source is really a theme that makes me passionate about these kind of activities and events, and I want to see more of that. I want to see people bringing in other projects and Drupal Europe was an example of that. So, I think we should do that again.
Matt:
So, how is DrupalCon in Europe going to encourage the Open Web, or what's the plan to make that happen?
Baddý:
So, basically, we have a couple of people who are then focusing on that topic, including myself, trying to find keynote speakers, and generally the speakers that are outside of our Drupal community. And a good example of a speaker that we have been trying to approach, which actually DrupalCon Minneapolis announced just now that they got is Mitchell Baker from the Mozilla Foundation. So, somebody like her is a perfect example of a great speaker when we have a topic like that.
Baddý:
We also have some people that are from the European Commission or just the European community that we want to approach, and we are currently approaching that are passionate about the topic, and maybe even some are maybe even more activists in trying to push this even further in the governments. So, that is probably the key to start with, and then we want to approach the other open-source technologies and ask them if they want to come and be part of it just like they did in the previous conferences.
Baddý:
So, that's a goal that we have, and I think we are going to be successful doing it, if we get the help of the community, because we are all connected to all of these technologies.
Matt:
So, we're about six months out from the conference. Do you have keynote speakers selected, or what is the state we're in right now?
Baddý:
No, we are currently just speaking to a couple of people that we want to have. So, no. We don't have anything yet.
Matt:
So, you've reached out and you've touched base, and you're just trying to get everything figured out.
Baddý:
Exactly, so if you have a good idea, and if anyone who's listening here has an idea please approach us and tell us about who would be a good speaker in the conference.
Mike:
That's interesting. Does that theme affect the tracks of the conference?
Josef:
Totally yes. So, this year we will only have five tracks. So, basically, we tried to reduce the number of tracks, but we also added sub-themes for each of the tracks. So, there is the tracks they are a bit more targeted at the personas, and that we see and that we want to encourage to come to DrupalCon. So, one of the tracks is called agency and business, where we talk all about how to do business, about leadership and management, the processes, project management, quality assurance and testing.
Matt:
So, you want the bosses to come, they've got something to learn.
Josef:
Correct, yeah. We want also to show case studies of course, for that. So, they can go either into the agency and business track, or they could go into the other track where also Baddý's helping out. It's called clients and industry. So, there we want really to encourage even more showcases than we already had. Also, in a combination with the Splash Awards where we nominate the best Drupal project. So, there's a lot of interesting case studies to be shown in the different industry verticals.
Matt:
And that's because every company has a website these days, and Drupal might be a good fit for your website. Come and learn something about it, and make it happen. Does that sound about right?
Josef:
Correct, yes. Yeah.
Ricardo:
Yeah, and you need to talk about makers. I think I love that track, that's an amazing track we're going to have, right Josef?
Josef:
Right. So, the traditional focus especially for DrupalCon Europe is the engineering and development topics. So, within makers and builders we incorporate frontend development, backend development, site building, DevOps and infrastructure. But we give it a bit more of a perspective of the makers and builders that create open source, that contribute to the system, that create experiences. So yeah, I think the way we set up the program has the potential to go a bit more broad and to attract a wider audience.
Matt:
So, we geeks and nerds are still welcome of course.
Josef:
Of course, yes.
Ricardo:
Absolutely.
Josef:
Absolutely.
Baddý:
There's also an opportunity, we have a track called clients and industry, and there we really want to focus on those who are using Drupal. And especially here in Europe, we have so many governments and higher education and the European Commission. They are all using Drupal, and we are never talking about it actually. So, we also have an opportunity to bring these cases forward, and we have the people from this... We have the end-user in our program team, so we hope that they will bring in the correct speakers and they will have getting a bit more broader topics to the conference that maybe has been before.
Matt:
Mike we just did a podcast about Drupal within the United States government, and we learnt about how difficult sometimes it was sharing inside of the government, just in between agencies. So, it would be really great if different nation's governments could get together and share at something like DrupalCon.
Mike:
Yeah, it makes a lot of sense.
Matt:
At least making those connections early would be really helpful.
Mike:
Yeah, and to me conferences is the place to do it. That's where you get together, and you get to meet people in person, and you get to build that trust that enables the ability to share.
Josef:
Right, yeah. I think for that we also took inspiration from DrupalCon North America, where we see that these industry verticals get a lot of attention. And DrupalCon North America we have summits for a lot of the different industry verticals. So, there's a government summit, a healthcare summit, even a library summit. So, we want to take part of those ideas, and make it part of the DrupalCon Europe program this year.
Mike:
So, are there going to be summits at DrupalCon Europe with those verticals?
Baddý:
Yeah, so this is exactly the question that we are trying to answer at the moment is, of course, trainings or summits or both or nothing. So, in the last two DrupalCons, or the Drupal Europe and then DrupalCon Amsterdam, we didn't do summits. But in both conferences, we tried trainings. But trainings has not been very successful here in Europe, and it's not easy for us to sell the trainings. We don't know why, because it actually goes really well in the United States and North America, but we haven't been very successful with selling the spots. So, we've been putting in a lot of effort of creating all these trainings, and getting trainers to create trainings, and then in the end maybe three people show up.
Baddý:
So, we've been thinking if we should just skip that for one year now, and instead introduce the summits, and instead try to get the industries together. We are just currently discussing that in our team. We have space for it, so if there is interest, both for people to help us out doing that, or if we see that people are willing to come to the summits, because experiencing something like in the United States when I've been to a DrupalCon there, and going into these summits, this is something that I've never seen before.
Baddý:
You have 300 to 500 people coming together to talk about Drupal in government. And it would be great if we can do the same in Europe, and I think there is an opportunity, and we want to see if we can just explore that, and just try it out. So, maybe we will start with, let's say, three summits this year, but it's still a bit open, and we'll hopefully put out within the next weeks.
Mike:
So, if someone is listening to this and they say, "Hey, I'm really interested in doing, say, an education summit at DrupalCon Europe and I want to make my voice heard," how can they get in touch with you to maybe influence that?
Baddý:
Just everywhere, on Twitter under our handles that you announced earlier, or just come on Drupal Slack, send us email on drupal.org. I think the opportunity is big. If I just think about all the universities that I know of here in Europe that have... They have all Drupal, but they have been struggling of coming to DrupalCon because they are not necessarily the developers. They are either using agencies to help with the development, and they feel a bit lost when they come to DrupalCon Europe because it's very developer focused.
Baddý:
So, we need to create a space for them to come. If you have any idea listening out there, let us know, and help out.
Mike:
When you've done your trainings in the past, have you done any type of beginner developer training? So, you know this is how I want to do site building in Drupal or anything like that.
Baddý:
I think everything has been tried, but I... Josef have you or Ricardo have you guys been part of that.
Josef:
I haven't been following the trainings in Europe recently so closely. I did a training once for the Rules module that was kind of beginner-intermediate. That was okay, attended. Yeah, I'm not saying it's not possible, it's just that we have tried it a few times and it wasn't a great success so far.
Ricardo:
From myself, I think one of the things that for instance in Drupal Dev Days, which is another camp, but which is not the same size as DrupalCon, we tried a lot workshops, and that's been working fine for us because people... Because we're in Europe, I think we're probably more builders and makers, and people want to have their hands on. Hands on Drupal, hands on making stuff, on creating stuff.
Ricardo:
Of course, in terms of the summit I could imagine the agents or the leadership summit or the healthcare or government or security or performance or whatever, they could have a lot of potential also for companies that want to explore and know more about that specific subject. But we've seen that in terms of the people that normally come to DrupalCon Europe, it's more of hands on. And we want also to have a space, like Baddý said, we want to also have a space for this kind of involvement that we have also in the United States where people come together and they discuss a specific topic.
Ricardo:
For instance, now I think healthcare would be a tremendous topic to talk about, a healthcare summit. I don't know, maybe you can explore that. Maybe people can send us their ideas, and we could discuss them inside of our program team.
Josef:
Quick add to the trainings discussion. So, what we have added to the call for papers that is open already for DrupalCon Barcelona is that you can also submit a two hours workshop. So, basically in the program we want to give an opportunity also to have these longer format workshops that have worked well for us in certain camps in Europe, as an intermediate format between trainings and normal sessions.
Mike:
DrupalCon North America did something similar, what was it? A couple years ago where we had an hour-and-a-half long format trainings. I ended up giving one of those on web performance, and it was a lot of fun because a lot of people got a lot out of it. At least I'd like to think so. So, that's kind of cool.
Josef:
Cool. Maybe one track that we didn't mention yet. So, two tracks we didn't talk about, one of them is called Open Web and community. This is the traditional being human, diversity inclusion topics, and this year we also extended a bit further that we say we also want to allow for community conversations, which is something that we had earlier in a separate track at DrupalCons where, for example, initiatives can have conversations. And as well we put a focus there on the Open Web, the community aspect of it.
Josef:
So, I'm really looking forward to that, and there will also be... People can also submit panel discussions by definition, so that will also help us and the program team to provide a better mix. We had the panel discussions in the last year, but it's now easier to submit them.
Matt:
That leads me into my question. So, we've got these great tracks, now's the time to actually submit your sessions, right? If you have something you want to talk about and share with the Drupal community, now's the time, right?
Josef:
That's correct, yeah. Call for papers is open.
Matt:
So, how does it work?
Josef:
You go to the DrupalCon Barcelona website and find the submit a session button, and then you just enter your proposal. And then our team of track chairs will review and rate it for you.
Matt:
And send the sad rejection letter later.
Mike:
That's for you man.
Matt:
That's just me, yeah.
Mike:
What is the deadline on that, to submit a session?
Josef:
So, it's the 6th of April.
Ricardo:
April, yeah. That's when the call for papers ends.
Matt:
No, excuses. Got, what? About three weeks left, so-
Mike:
Yeah, three weeks from now. Yeah, from the recording.
Matt:
Submit your session Mike.
Mike:
Yeah, I will submit a session, and that's... Thanks for reminding me.
Matt:
I suppose it's closer to two, depending on when this goes out, huh?
Mike:
Hopefully you get it done soon.
Baddý:
I want to add to it one keynote that we actually have, and this is something that has been [crosstalk 00:26:34]. It started all in, I think, Dev Days in Lisbon, when we all came together and-
Mike:
Yay.
Baddý:
Gabor did this great talk about what is happening in Drupal and how you can contribute, and what are the initiatives and what issues are we working on and so on. We developed that idea further, and Gabor took it to be a keynote at DrupalCon Amsterdam where he actually... We brought initiatives the stage. In the first keynote, this is the first session of DrupalCon, we talk about how you can contribute to the project, and what is actually happening.
Baddý:
And last year there were highlighted 10 initiatives, and each of them had probably five minutes to talk about what kind of a contribution they meet. What are they working on currently? What have they done in the past? And that was the keynote to start off DrupalCon, and I think this is something that we want to keep as a tradition in Europe. So, we are definitely going to continue with that in Europe, that we start with the initiative. So, I think it is a great way to start DrupalCon.
Mike:
That is awesome.
Ricardo:
I have one thing to add to that because, of course, we organized Drupal Dev Days in Lisbon. That was in 2018, and we as a team that were organizing that, we thought, "What is the most important thing we want to get out of this event that we're making? Is that, that people come together? Yes. Is that, that we have amazing sessions? Yes. But what is the most important thing? Is that Drupal moves forward, is that we have contributions." And maybe people listening right now they don't know this, but they can actually contribute in several ways.
Ricardo:
There are a bunch of initiatives out there from just translating Drupal, from actually contributing to some part of Drupal that doesn't even need to be code. Doesn't need to be the Drupal core, and everybody is invited, is welcome to actually contribute with their part. I mean, one of the latest things I contributed to is the Drupal pitch deck, which it's a marketing thing. Doesn't even has to do with code, right? And it had a big impact. People in the agencies started to use that, and we're going to have all of those initiatives in DrupalCon Europe, as we always have.
Ricardo:
And normally the people that are leading those initiatives, they sign up, they make their own lists, they make their own plans, and they come and they take some tables. People are invited, even if they don't know exactly what they're going to do or contribute to there, and they are welcomed. They are inserted into the process and they start to contribute, which is really a very good feeling that people get out of DrupalCon.
Josef:
Yeah, I totally have to second that. So, last year I went there with Unic, the company I started working with also last year, and we were a team of 15 people, go all together to DrupalCon. And all the team said afterwards that this experience of also being able to experience how contribution works and connect with all the different people from the community really made a big difference for them, and also encourages our team to go again this year.
Josef:
So, I think this kind of experience is what we want to have as a core element of the DrupalCon experience, in our program.
Matt:
We're talking with DrupalCon Europe organizers and looking forward to DrupalCon going on in Barcelona, coming up in September. Coming up right after this, we're going to talk a little bit about the elephant in the room, and maybe some about how you can help.
Matt:
Welcome back to the Lullabot Podcast, we're talking DrupalCon Europe that's happening in Barcelona coming up in September. So, we are recording this on, let me look at my calendar here, March 12th, just for a frame of reference here. March 12th is the day after President Trump said Europeans couldn't fly to America anymore. The NBA has canceled games. There are large events being canceled including conferences. Drupal Dev Days was recently announced that it wasn't going to happen MidCamp.
Matt:
There is a lot of stress going on in the world as far as the coronavirus and travel and all these things, and we just spoke for 30 or 40 minutes about how great DrupalCon Barcelona is going to be, right? I suppose there's some optimism involved.
Ricardo:
Yeah. So, regarding Drupal Dev Days if I might speak about that, we are very thankful for everyone that's actually supported because it's a hard event. It's a passionate event, Drupal Dev Days for the European Drupal community. But due to this outbreak of the COVID-19 all over Europe we have been having requests from governments not forbidding, but actually requesting that we postpone big events. So, I think the team there that is organizing Drupal Dev Days it's sad that that is happening, but fear not because we are going to have... It's just postponed. We're going to have Drupal Dev Days in Belgium anyway.
Ricardo:
One thing is people might ask, "Well, do I get a refund?" Yes, of course, but still we just are waiting for them to reschedule Drupal Dev Days, and it's going to happen, for sure.
Matt:
Yeah, so Drupal Dev Days, tell me about that kind of event. Is that something that organizers have a to invested in, or is that a different type?
Ricardo:
Yeah. So, it's a very interesting event in sense of it's not something of the grade of DrupalCon, but it makes people aware of the fact they can actually contribute more. They can actually make more hands on, and if for instance, if they are interested in hanging out with people that do core development, they're all there. It's basically the one place to be to find all of these people. I think this year we're going to have very important celebrities, but since it's postponed, I cannot talk about it.
Matt:
Celebrities?
Ricardo:
Yeah, celebrities from Drupal.
Matt:
There are Drupal celebrities?
Ricardo:
Oh yeah. All over. You don't know them?
Mike:
Hey, you're going Matt Kleve.
Matt:
I might, okay.
Mike:
You don't know this yet.
Matt:
Well, at this point nobody's going.
Ricardo:
Yeah, at this point no.
Matt:
I suppose having all of the Drupal celebrities sick is a bad thing.
Ricardo:
Yeah, it is. So, the main point now is people going to DrupalCon Barcelona, where those celebrities will be there for sure.
Matt:
So, Baddý, we talked last on the podcast when you were an organizer of a Drupal Europe. That just for a little background, for those who don't know, that year there was no DrupalCon Europe. The Drupal Association did not hold an event, the community got together and made a European DrupalCon, but they didn't call it that because it wasn't that. This was their own thing, right? Drupal Europe. And Baddý as an organizer, you saw that, that was a huge thing, and canceling something like that is challenging.
Baddý:
Yeah, that was... I almost don't have any words now. Being an event organizer for such a long time, I can't imagine how it is to have to go through these times now, because this is just hard. And if I think back on Drupal Europe, we did this through our entity here in Germany, which is like a-
Matt:
So, there's a German DA essentially? Drupal Association?
Baddý:
Exactly, there is a Drupal nonprofit organization here in Germany, but the laws are of course different in each country, and sometimes the people who are behind it or registered us, the board members there are then personally liable if something goes wrong. And it was a big thing for us to-
Matt:
So, there are people personally liable if something goes wrong with that event? I'm just wanting to make sure that that's clear.
Baddý:
That could have been the problem with Drupal Europe back then, yes.
Matt:
Wow, okay.
Baddý:
So, making large contracts, and in the case of securing a venue, you need to do in six months at least, in advance. So, I think we signed the venue in December, and the conference was held in September. So, I think it was nine months that we had a contract that was really large, because we had to book the whole venue. And then of course every day we just crossed our fingers and hoped that we would get the revenue in from sponsors and tickets that could then pay the venue.
Baddý:
In the end we came out on zero, even with a little bit of profit, but it was seriously until, I think, the week before Drupal Europe that the last cent came into the bank.
Ricardo:
Yeah, I remember everybody was sweating.
Baddý:
And it was hard, and I remember, this was probably the only time I've actually had worries in my life, like real because it was really hard to have such a big thing coming up, and really don't knowing if it is going to hit or not. Luckily the German association had a couple of dollars in their bank account, or euros in that case, so we knew that we could be a little bit off. But in the end, it went out really well.
Baddý:
And now today thinking about larger events that are not being held in universities, often areas like this we do Drupal Camp. Where doing Drupal Camp now in Iceland, it's going to be in a university. The university is supporting us, there are no contracts for the venue, so there's really no financial risk for us. But thinking back about Drupal Europe, or thinking about other large events that I know of in Europe for example Drupaljam in Netherlands, I think it is 500 people. It's being held in large event houses, and they... It's going to be hard if they need to cancel the event.
Baddý:
Then it goes a bot into the direction, okay, canceling the event or postponing the event. What are my opportunities? Because obviously if the government tells you that the event cannot be held, then of course there is a option maybe to move it. But you can't just... If you say it yourself then you still have to pay for the venue.
Baddý:
So, I think it is hard, and I think we as a community also need to think about those organizers who are doing a bit larger events that have contracts behind it. That it's not easy just to tell them, "Hey you should postpone or you should cancel," because maybe they just can't. So, I think it is important for us to just be also thoughtful about that, towards those organizers because there is a lot of discussions going on, on Twitter at the moment like, "This is the right thing to do." Which I think we all agree that we shouldn't be going to large conferences at the moment because countries are being closed or flights are being canceled.
Baddý:
But on the same times there is also maybe organizers like we would have been if it was two years ago in Drupal Europe, we just wouldn't have an option. So, we would just have to go with it until the government would stop us. And at the moment the government is not stopping these events, so that's just-
Matt:
And to be clear, it's not anybody's goal to get everybody sick, or get the people that they see two weeks later sick. Everybody wants the best for everything, it's just it's tough when you make these huge contracts and don't know the future.
Mike:
Is there event insurance?
Baddý:
There are probably events insurances, but again, all these insurances, do they not always just fail when it comes to something like that.
Mike:
Yeah, yeah. Insurances are a scam. A lot of them are.
Baddý:
At least my car insurance.
Matt:
You're talking to Americans, we understand health insurance, yes.
Baddý:
So, I've been asked a lot now about Drupal Camp Iceland. We're doing it in June, and I've been asked a lot like are we canceling, are we postponing, what are we doing? In that case it's going to be easy for us to just make a decision, because the university, they don't really... There's nobody there anyways in June. So, it's just empty, and they can just make their plans and change their plans.
Baddý:
So, we haven't decided yet. We're just going to wait a couple of weeks because it's in the end of June, but it's easy for us. But I imagine that it is not so easy for maybe other larger events that are happening here in Europe at the moment, and I feel for them, and I really want to know if we as a community can help them, and once that is, for example, it's great to offer a ticket refund, but maybe the community can also just think about this as a support to the organizers to just say, "Hey, it doesn't matter how it goes. Just keep my money for the ticket, and if I can get maybe a discount for the next event it would be great, but it also doesn't matter."
Mike:
Yeah, especially for the nonprofit events like for example the DrupalCons, which are organized by the Drupal Association. And the Drupal Association, I know DrupalCon North America is their big money maker for their annual budget, which supports the Drupal-
Matt:
That's no secret, they share those numbers all the time, yeah.
Baddý:
Yeah, yeah. That's true. Yeah, and it is the same. And I think we need to figure out a way together as a community also how we can support when we don't know what to do. So, I think it is important that companies, and those who have bought tickets, that they keep on helping out the entities that are actually doing the events. I know for example that Lullabot has been reaching out and saying that they're going to keep their sponsorships regardless of what happens, so thank you for that. And thank you to all the other companies that have already done that too, because this is so important for us as a community to get that to happen, because then we are going to create less sustainable model to continue doing these events.
Matt:
Well, I'm not sure I can speak for Lullabot, although it's kind of my job on the podcast at times. I've seen the internal discussions, and we know that DrupalCon is important to the Drupal community, and Drupal is important to the future of Lullabot. So, I think we're all in this together.
Baddý:
Let's do it.
Matt:
None of us can see the future.
Baddý:
No, we don't know what is going to happen in two weeks.
Matt:
Maybe we can all take a deep breath collective together. And I'm not trying to downplay the seriousness of the situation, because it's very serious, I get it. But we don't know what will happen in six months. So, I suppose we talk today about DrupalCon Barcelona, from the positive perspective of, it's going to get figured out, and in six months we're still going to use Drupal, and we need the community time.
Baddý:
Exactly. And we should use the time now. We don't have to go to all these conferences now because they have been canceled like here in Europe. So, we could maybe just use the time and as a company owner, we can then start say, "Let's do a company sprint or contribution, or let's try to do the things we would have done if we'd come to the Dev Days."
Mike:
That's a great idea.
Ricardo:
I was going to exactly to say something like that. Most of us we work remotely, even for the European Commission, I know people that work for them, and they develop remotely, and they gather a lot of people together, and there are days without going out even. It's very good also perspective of not having to go out and be able to communicate to a lot of people. So, we can organize sprints. We can make Drupal move forward, especially Drupal 9, which is one of the things that is... We talked about the loss in terms of money, but I also think about the loss in terms of delivering the new version of Drupal.
Ricardo:
And that's really important that we keep our minds ahead of what needs to be done. Instead of, "Oh, we go all there, and we solve the problem there." Okay, let's start now. Why not? I'm at home. I can start doing my sprint, I can start doing my initiative, and not stop contributing to Drupal. I think it's really important we get Drupal 9 out there.
Baddý:
And I think that this is one of the ways. So, if we can gather a couple of ideas of how we can actually help, one thing is what you say Ricardo. We can just make sure that we still contribute. We can make sure our people get the time to contribute that they would have gotten when they have been to these events. We can reach out to the organizers, and we can tell them that we want to keep the money that we've already paid, or we even want to help and pay more money. Just in any ways, let's figure this out as a group, and I think something positive can come out of it, or needs to come out of it, because we need to have something positive to go forward to.
Josef:
Totally, yeah. I think I would agree with all that has been said. I think today I read on Twitter that somebody wrote that the virus can maybe also be seen as a good challenge for people that work in developer relations to figure out a more sustainable way to spread their knowledge by not having to fly all the time to different conferences. But maybe at least for a certain amount of time or as an alternative way we need to incorporate remote conferences to share the knowledge and to collaborate as a community as we already do on durpal.org, but maybe even more in remote conferences.
Mike:
I can't believe MidCamp is going fully remote.
Matt:
Yeah, and I get what you're saying, and I've worked remotely for almost 10 years now, and I see the potential and I get it. But a remote conference to me just isn't quite the same.
Josef:
It's not the same, no.
Matt:
Thank you for saying it first. Yes, I agree. Yes, it's not the same. As somebody-
Josef:
But it's a valid alternative maybe if the other is not possible at all.
Matt:
Mike, you go to lots of conferences or at least have in the past.
Mike:
I do, I do. And I was going to-
Matt:
Travel to many Drupal camps, travel to a few in Europe. You've been around the Drupal camp block, I suppose. Tell me, what is the best part for you when you end up at a camp?
Mike:
Yeah, it's the people. It's in person, it's the serendipitous encounters that you don't get when-
Matt:
And you can go to a session and say, "Wow, that session really blew my mind." Or you go to another session and you're like, "Hey, it's the same one he gave six weeks ago." But yeah, it's the serendipitous encounters. Really good way to put it.
Mike:
Yeah, it's all about the "hallway" track and-
Matt:
Which for the longest time I thought that was just people slacking off and not wanting to do work at conferences.
Baddý:
That's the most important one.
Matt:
It's true. The slacking off is nice, but the-
Ricardo:
Keep in mind we did think about having hallway way of people that could not go to Drupal Dev Days to actually see the hallway. So, it's interesting you're talking-
Mike:
That would be hilarious.
Ricardo:
Yeah, then you would have to have data protection problems. People would have to sign that they could be streamed. But yeah, that didn't happen. That didn't have to happen, but it would be a nice idea.
Mike:
I think it would be cool, but it wouldn't necessarily solve the problem. For example, I'd like to think about when I'm at a camp and I'm in a line for lunch, I always start talking to the person next to me, and this person, I never know who it is. And sometimes it turns into a good conversation, and then later I'll run into them again either another day or at an event, and those are the encounters that lead to friendships and working together and things like that.
Ricardo:
You said it. Yup.
Matt:
Mike, do you remember how we got the podcast together to close out DrupalCon Seattle?
Mike:
Yeah.
Matt:
You and I literally stood by the door to where the registration area was, and caught people coming out of the DriesNote, or the plenary, right? However you say the word, but the final little event.
Mike:
Yeah, we were literally standing in the hotel area of the convention.
Matt:
And you started, yeah, calling out to people you knew. You were like, "Hey Kevin, get over here."
Mike:
Yeah, exactly, and we were recording it.
Matt:
And we dragged him back to the hotel room, and I think we caught a little bit about the hallway track, just kind of a feel for it, because we just sat around and ranted for an hour.
Ricardo:
You mean you guys were in the end of the conference?
Matt:
Yeah, at the end of the conference we just got together-
Mike:
In Seattle.
Matt:
... and had a Seattle podcast, just talking about our work.
Ricardo:
Oh, last year.
Matt:
Yeah, last year. Yeah, yeah.
Ricardo:
Oh, nice. I was there this year.
Matt:
And it was just a, "Hey, tell me what you thought," kind of thing. It's hard to get that feel when it's all remote, but if that's the way it goes, I guess-
Mike:
Yeah. Well, you also don't have germs over the internet. I guess you have a different type of virus.
Baddý:
That's true. I have a... I told that story before, but I think I started with Drupal in 2007, and I went to my first DrupalCon in 2014, that's like seven years later. And until that day I didn't even understand that there was a community or anything. And I think my contribution journey started when I went to that DrupalCon.
Mike:
Yeah, that's the same for me and Drupal Camp Florida or Florida DrupalCamp, yeah.
Baddý:
And do you remember going there you didn't know anyone, and you were just hanging out there, and you see everybody on the hallway track, but you don't know anyone and all that. And then there comes these wonderful people that stand next to you on the line when you're going for lunch and they start talking to you. Before knowing it, you're contributing to something.
Mike:
Yes.
Baddý:
So, we need it, and we just hope that we're just on a short pause now. That's just the only thing that we can just dream of that we're just having a couple of weeks of Drupal camp pause going digital, right?
Matt:
This podcast is going to age like mill either way. We're going to look back at us in six months and laugh at how ridiculous we were one way or the other. We don't know.
Ricardo:
In six months we're going to be at the trivia night talking about this.
Mike:
I like that attitude, yeah.
Ricardo:
So, for people that never went to DrupalCon, trivia night is something really awesome. I think this year at least we're already thinking about, of course, the trivia night and then women in Drupal. All of these activities, which we called the social events that are outside of the scope, let's say of the normal day in DrupalCon, they are amazing. They are good for networking. They are good for making long-lasting friendships. They are good for having fun, because I think DrupalCon is also that, and we need to have fun.
Mike:
And sprinting too. A cool story that I think it was... I'm probably butchering this a little bit, but Alex Pott, who is now a Drupal co-maintainer was telling this on a podcast that his first experience contributing to Drupal might have been at San Francisco, and he ended up just randomly sitting down to a person who ended up being Karen Stevenson, who's a coworker of Matt and I. And Karen, if you don't know is the person who did fields in Drupal core-
Matt:
CCK before that, and date module.
Mike:
Yeah, CCK. Yeah, and even better than that, she's the nicest person ever. And so, Alex sat down next to her. She was very kind warm and welcoming as she is. And just onboarded him very well into the community. And sprints are amazing for that, conferences are amazing for that. It's a little bit different when you're online unless you already know the people, which if you don't know anyone, you don't know anyone.
Matt:
I've never heard that story Mike, that's cool.
Mike:
Yeah. Well maybe it wasn't on the podcast then because I thought it was.
Matt:
Maybe I did and I just didn't realize it. No, I totally believe it. Karen and Alex are awesome people.
Mike:
It's believable. Even if it's not true it's totally believable, but I'm pretty sure it's true.
Matt:
So, how did people... Go ahead.
Baddý:
Yeah. No, so I want to say that it's going to be a challenge now for those camps that decide to go digital of how to finance that. Again, there are options of buying some ads that come before the talk or during the talk. There is maybe a little logo of the company in the corner. So, we as a community also have to start allowing that because that hasn't been in the past. We've done it a couple of times, but we haven't liked when we are doing all this mentioning of companies because that's just not how we've had it.
Baddý:
But I think that we should use the opportunity now to be really open to that. That companies can really sponsor an ad before and after or in the middle. So, let's be open for that so the camps that are organizing these online events that they can also recover some of the costs.
Mike:
Yeah, definitely.
Matt:
Putting together something like a DrupalCon is something you're familiar with Baddý, and one thing that stands out is the effort it takes and the people required to make something like this great. It takes a lot of volunteers, how does somebody who's listening with their headphones on inside a fort of toilet paper reach out and say that they want to help.
Mike:
That's amazing.
Matt:
I was just trying to set the stage of what the world is like on March 2020.
Baddý:
Yeah. Again, I think it is just about reaching out, and there are many ways to reach out. First, just come to us privately or come to Slack and talk to us there. Just reach out because we have so many assignments. We don't put people right away and just say, "Okay, you are in charge of the finance." We most likely give them something that they can do, and so they get familiar to how it works, and before they know it, they are in charge of the finance. So, it's really good.
Matt:
If you give Mike the checkbook, I can guarantee DrupalCon would be awesome.
Mike:
So, on top of that, I am now the primary organizer of Florida DrupalCamp, which will be February 2021. So, anyone who wants to come down here Mike Anello is stepping into a lesser role, so that means I do have my hands on the checkbook, and things are going to go down.
Matt:
You mean-
Baddý:
You also need volunteers, right?
Mike:
And we need volunteers.
Matt:
So, how does somebody say that they want to volunteer for DrupalCon in Barcelona.
Josef:
So, one thing that people can do is just on the DrupalCon Barcelona website, we have a section with news and updates. And there we have a call for track chairs. Basically, the program team is quite complete, but we could still use some help in the clients and industry track, especially if people are really interested in really being part of the program team, they can still sign up there. And as Baddý said, if ever you have ideas or want to volunteer for DrupalCon, there's so many things you can do.
Ricardo:
Oh yeah.
Josef:
So, basically, it's just like signing up and reaching out to us if you want to be a volunteer.
Ricardo:
I can add on that Josef if I may. So, there is the mentor program. People that want either to be mentored or be mentors can actually reach out to the... On drupal.org there is actually a page on how that's done. So, every DrupalCon like now in the US, we have people that make first time workshops and make contributions, helps to other people that want to start. So, that's one of the things, mentors. And then you have the actual volunteers that during DrupalCon they help counting the people in the rooms, making sure that the speakers have everything they need, making sure that sound is working fine, the streaming is working fine, all of that.
Ricardo:
Normally, we have also in our page a sign up, a spreadsheet for that. So, if you want to volunteer be sure there will be information for that. And yeah, for the ones that want to submit a paper, again, call for papers are on. Do that as soon as possible.
Baddý:
So, I want to say something about volunteering because we had this... And sometimes I think about if we should just change the word volunteering to the word contributor, because volunteering is so important in our community. But what we also see is a lot of burnout from people who start being volunteers, and then they are basically doing too much that they can't fulfill. So, I think it is important if you want to become a volunteer, then you are going to take that time of something. So, you're either going to take that time out of work, you're going to take that from your family friends. So, just make sure that before you volunteer that you actually ask for permission from those who you're going to take the time from.
Baddý:
Because we see this too often. People just... They say, "Hey, I'm want to volunteer," and they somehow forget to tell everyone else around them about it. And then they burn out because they actually are trying to fulfill two roles in the same time, which could be work and volunteering.
Baddý:
So, there are so many companies out there that are actually willing to give that time if you ask. So, if you want to contribute by being a volunteer at an event or something like that, go first to your employer, and ask if you can maybe use 20% of your time to get that going. And if that doesn't work out because the employer doesn't want that, then maybe go to your friends or family and just tell them that you're going to be off for the next three months because you're organizing something. Because that's going to end much better for you as a volunteer, and you're going to come healthier out of it.
Matt:
Yeah, it just takes that one bad experience to burnout a volunteer, and that's not anybody's goal-
Baddý:
Yeah, and that happens too often.
Mike:
Those are some wise words.
Baddý:
And I think somebody came to us in Drupal Europe, and they said to us, "Hey, you guys are just like superheroes that you managed to do this." And I think we all raised a hand and we said, "No, actually the people that are around us, they are the ones who should actually be thanked, because they are the ones that allowed us to do that and enabled us to do that." And that's why we actually are still here working on next DrupalCon because we have the support from those we are with in a daily life.
Ricardo:
That's true.
Josef:
So, maybe we can already thank the team of volunteers that are track chairs, for the five tracks that we have mentioned. There's actually 27 people working on the DrupalCon Barcelona track team. So, all of them, they together help us create this program, and overall, I think, DrupalCon is always an outstanding community effort. So yeah, thanks to all the track chairs and whoever will also contribute to DrupalCon.
Mike:
Definitely.
Matt:
Right on. Is there anything else that we should add? Maybe we could talk to each of our guests and get a final word. So, Baddý, anything else we want to talk about today, about DrupalCon Europe and Barcelona?
Baddý:
No. I just encourage you all to just participate. Come and join us. Tell us how you would like to have it because we are doing it for you out there, so let us know and contact us through the website DrupalCon Barcelona.
Matt:
Josef, any final thoughts?
Josef:
I am looking forward to see many submissions for DrupalCon Barcelona, and hope that the virus will slow down over the next month. And especially looking forward to work with the diverse and inclusive team for DrupalCon again.
Matt:
Ricardo?
Ricardo:
So, on the last note, I'm really confident DrupalCon Barcelona is going to happen, hopefully. And just to remind, we have amazing tracks that you can submit your paper right now. So, users and editors, makers and builders, agency and business, clients and industry, and the Open Web and the community. So, it's really a lot that you can contribute to DrupalCon with your submission and get back from the community.
Matt:
So, in the meantime wash your hands, bump elbows with your friends and get your session submissions in for DrupalCon Barcelona because this September we're looking forward to it.
Mike:
Yup. I hope to be there.
Matt:
Thanks for joining us everybody.
Ricardo:
Thank you.
Baddý:
Thank you. Bye.
Ricardo:
Yes, thank you.
Josef:
Thank you.
Mike:
Bye bye.
Matt:
Bye everybody.
Josef:
Bye.
Josef:
(Silence).

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About host Matt Kleve

Portrait of Matt Kleve
Matt Kleve has been a Drupal developer since 2007. His previous work in the media sparks a desire to create lean, easy to use workflow processes.

About host Mike Herchel

Thumbnail
A senior front-end developer, Mike is also a lead of the Drupal 9 core "Olivero" theme initiative, organizer for Florida DrupalCamp, maintainer for the Drupal Quicklink module, and an expert hammocker