Today’s guest post by Owen Lansbury, Co-Founder & Chair of PreviousNext, is the next installment in our #DrupalCares series. My thanks to Owen for sharing why the Drupal Association is so important to his business.
As an Australian based company, we’re often asked why we support the Drupal Association when their direct involvement in our region is relatively limited. To paraphrase Monty Python, “What has the Drupal Association ever done for us???”.
Like most of you, our first exposure to Drupal was visiting Drupal.org, downloading Drupal core and a few modules and seeing what we could do with the software. In our case, we quickly saw its potential with our Australian clients, and within a year had a thriving little company building Drupal websites. During this time, we’d also created our first personal and company Drupal.org profiles, started engaging with the local Drupal community via groups.drupal.org and attended our first meetups.
PreviousNext had officially started business in February 2009, so we felt it would be a bit extravagant to attend DrupalCon D.C. the following month before we’d even billed our first client. This meant waiting a whole year until the opportunity presented itself again at DrupalCon San Francisco in April 2010. Drupal was well outside the mainstream in Australia at that time, so attending DrupalCon meant our first taste of how big it was becoming internationally, and most importantly, who the community were that we were now a part of.
That first DrupalCon was the catalyst for us to ingrain code contribution as a core business policy at PreviousNext, providing our team with the opportunity to spend up to 20% of their working hours on non-billable Drupal code. We also viewed attending DrupalCon as an important part of our team’s professional development, and implemented a policy of full funding for accepted speakers and partial funding for people that wanted to attend as part of a longer overseas vacation. This saw PreviousNext have at least a couple of attendees at most DrupalCons in North America and Europe throughout the 2010s.
Our engagement at DrupalCons meant the PreviousNext team developed personal relationships with other Drupal contributors around the world, which they then continued online once they returned home and kept contributing code. This contribution along with our financial support of the Drupal Association as a Supporting Partner has helped keep PreviousNext consistently in the Top 10 firms listed on the Drupal.org marketplace, providing us with a profile as a trusted Drupal services company despite our relatively small size and remote location.
At a broader level, the Drupal Association helped drive the local Australian and New Zealand Drupal community forward by staging DrupalCon Sydney in 2013. This played a key role in positioning Drupal as a viable platform for the Australian Government to adopt on a large scale in 2014. Since then, our locally organised DrupalSouth events have benefited from having a Code of Conduct for our attendees to adhere to and a Community Working Group to escalate incidents to that require a formal mediation process.
I recently told a group of Australian Drupal agency executives that the Drupal Association is often invisible when things are running smoothly. Drupal.org is handling its 10 million plus yearly visits, well managed DrupalCons are running on multiple continents every few months, collaboration between community members being facilitated and governance processes for when things get complicated.
As a company that has built its business on Drupal, PreviousNext considers the stable operation of the Drupal Association to be crucial to our continued success. Now that they need our financial help, we’ve been more than happy to increase our Supporting Partner commitment and paid for our entire team to maintain their individual memberships. We hope you can help too!