Drupal Europe brought over 1500+ together from around the world to the beautiful and extremely modern “Darmstadtium.” By all accounts the event was well organized, timely, invigorating—and gravely necessary.
Axelerant team members Mohit Aghera, Parth Gohil, Prateek Jain, Piyush Poddar, Tsegaselassie Tadesse, Nathan Roach and Michael Cannon went to connect, engage, and share with our European friends of the Drupal community. Here’s a recap.
This event was special for key reasons.
Everyone who attended could recognize that Drupal Europe was different from the rest. Here’s why and what it means.
It wasn’t organized by the Drupal Association, but a core group of volunteers.
“The idea of Drupal Europe arose from the local community back in 2017 when the Drupal Association (DA) announced that the Drupal Europe conference would need to be paused due to financial challenges,” says Piyush. “The quality of content, speakers, promotions, hospitality, facilities, etc, at Drupal Europe have all been at par with those at the DrupalCons, which really makes this a unique event.”
The core and extended organizing teams were comprised of people from various countries of Europe and abroad, and almost every other planning meeting was held online, he adds.
Drupal Europe set the bar high.
With a positive energy of necessity and inclusion, reminiscent of DrupalCons and camps all over the world, Drupal Europe was different in one way. It set the standard—it raised expectations.
It brought together Drupal marketing activists for good.
It was so awesome to see this @drupalassoc Marketing Sprint with community & business leaders from across Europe & the world collaborating on the #PromoteDrupal initiative over the past few days. Thanks @rachel_norfolk facilitator. @imregmelig @piyushpoddar @acolono #DrupalEurope pic.twitter.com/GR0bnUAbTR— Chandeep Khosa (@ChandeepKhosa) September 14, 2018
It helped change the Drupal talent conversation.
At the #DrupalCEO dinner @DrupalEurope, with @plastic & @michelvanvelde walking us through the numbers from the #Drupal business survey. Some takeaways? Hire outside your borders. Hire women. Hire differently. pic.twitter.com/0EW31PuWMA— Nathan Roach (@roachnotes) September 12, 2018
The organizing team did an exceptional job.
The volunteers at the event were well organized and helpful. Mohit says, “The volunteers did a tremendous job making this event a success. The planning of the event, the social media outreach and the venue were all really great. The food was great too, and there were a number of options available.”
“Everyone was very receptive and supportive throughout the event, especially the volunteering team,” says Prateek. And the sign boards powered by Drupal were very cool too! These ran on Drupal and allowed instant changes to be made and then projected across the venue.
“The core organizers put in a lot of time and effort in managing the event. They tapped into the wealth of experience that was available to them from organizing others,” says Tsega, who was also a volunteer. “Communication was key; everyone was in on what's happening and what needed to be done. The Slack channels were utilized effectively too."
We had a great time.
For some of us, there was a key session that was a highlight, and for others the Open Web Lounge. Several of our team members enjoyed Trivia Night, and of course partying at the Beer Garden.
Team members also enjoyed meeting each other (some of us for the first time!), interacting with the movers and shakers of the Drupal community, making contributions to core, and exploring Frankfurt when time permitted.
“I used the opportunity to contribute in some way as much as I could. I also met a lot of people and had some incredible conversations,” says Tsega.
Michael says: “It was pretty cool to meet up with our people from several continents. Though we're working remotely, we came together as good associates very quickly, even for the first-time meeting in person.”
There were many impactful conversations.
Our team members enjoyed being part of discussions around the open web, as well as attending thought-provoking sessions on chatbots and the decentralized web, insightful BOFs on Kubernetes and Helm as well as a BOF on forming a Drupal India Association, and an impressive VR-based demo by Dropsolid.
“What stood out from all the conversations I had is how companies are looking for talent. Every talk I had somehow touched on that subject,” says Tsega. “Another topic, is of course, work. Many said there is a lot of “enterprise” work out there, and that Drupal projects are now almost entirely enterprise related with a considerably large budget.”
We enjoyed sessions, workshops, and panels.
Our team members had good experiences presenting their sessions (although some of us do wish the talks could be longer!) finding that almost all attendees were technical and topic-oriented. We also had many interesting conversations post-session with people interested in learning more about the topics.
Piyush was invited to join the Drupal Association leadership panel along with leaders like Megan Sanicki (Outgoing Executive Director), Timothy Lehnen (Interim Executive Director) and Suzanne Dergacheva (Co-founder of Evolving Web and recently elected Director-at-large). The panel was moderated by Donna Benjamin, who’s been a Board Director at Drupal Association for many years.
The conversation was mostly focused on the past, present and future of the Drupal Association. Megan talked about DA’s evolution over the years, its current structure and various programs and initiatives. There was a discussion about a few key challenges that the community has faced in recent years, and how the DA and community leaders handled them proactively.
“The community and DA have come of age, demonstrating much higher levels of maturity and professionalism than ever,” says Piyush.
Having been the only non DA staff member on this panel, he hopes that he was able to help bring in an outside perspective from an underrepresented geography. “I’m confident that the future is quite bright for Drupal and the community under the guidance of the DA and its patronage.”
We’re inspired and excited.
Drupal Europe was an experience that left us recharged and enthused about the future, and that’s something that’ll drive us to do more and give more.
As Tsega put it: “The experience of being there, meeting my colleagues, interacting with a diverse set of people and being able to contribute back to the community has been great. This has really fueled my desire to give more back to my local community and promote the work we do at Axelerant more intensively.”