Amanda Gonser and DrupalCon 2019

In this episode, we welcome Amanda and Karlyanna from the DrupalCon team.

DrupalCon is probably the biggest open-source event that happens in North America every year. And for about the last 10 years, it's been pretty much the same event with pretty much about the same number of attendees.

It's been about 3,000 people every year, moving around to different cities. This time, the DrupalCon team are taking a different approach. It's in Seattle in April, but they're changing up the format adding all sorts of new twists and interesting changes to it. So I sat down with the team to talk about what's new with DrupalCon this year. (Spoiler alert: one addition this year will be puppies and bunnies)

Full disclosure: We're holding a training session before this year's DrupalCon.

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Listen to the episode with Amanda and Karlyanna


Transcript of this episode

  • Steve: Hey, and welcome to the OSTraining podcast. I'm Steve Burge and in this episode I'm talking with Amanda and Karlyanna from the DrupalCon team. DrupalCon is probably the biggest open-source event that happens in North America every year. And for about the last 10 years, it's been pretty much the same event with pretty much about the same number of attendees. It's been about 3000 people every year, moving around to different cities. This time, the DrupalCon team are taking a different approach. It's in Seattle in April, but they're changing up the format adding all sorts of new twists and interesting changes to it. So I sat down with the team to talk about what's new with DrupalCon this year. This is Episode 35 of the OSTraining podcast and you can find back episodes at ostraining.com/podcast. Hey and welcome Amanda and Karly.
  • Amanda: Hi. Thanks for having us.
  • Karlyanna: Yeah, thank you.
  • Steve: So both of you are out in Portland?
  • Amanda: Yes, Portland, Oregon in the United States.
  • Steve: And both of you are on the DrupalCon team. Amanda, what do you do? What's your role with a DrupalCon team?
  • Amanda: My role is a couple things. It's kind of evolved as I've been in the Drupal community, but currently my role is to set strategy for events at the Drupal Association as well as manage the team and I've also played a big part in the programming which I do a lot with the volunteers and the Drupal community. So kind of a lot of things that you would see and do at DrupalCon are things that I work on.
  • Steve: So a lot of the decisions and changes we're going to talk about at this year DrupalCon may have come from you or your team discussions that you've had?
  • Amanda: Definitely and it has also involved a lot of feedback from community members and work with the leadership team at the Drupal Association.
  • Steve: And Karly, how about yourself?
  • Karlyanna: So this is my first year as one of the DrupalCon team members. I joined a few months ago and I am the marketing and program manager for DrupalCon.
  • Steve: So how many people does it actually take to put on DrupalCon? How many people do you have at the Drupal Association? And then how much of a team do you have around you in terms of volunteers and people helping out?
  • Amanda: Yeah, the team is a very large and sort of scattered all over the globe kind of team. Internally, I am the one person dedicated on the events team to working on DrupalCon as my full time job. And then we have a lot of shared resources within the Drupal Association of People that touch DrupalCon, but are not on the events team. So we have Karly who's coming from our marketing team. We have engineering staff that helps with our website. We have our sales team who are selling all of the sponsorships. And then we also have production team that you may have seen if you've been at DrupalCon. They're called Groundswell Marketing, and they help with all of our AV and our catering and our registration and a lot of the logistics that make DrupalCon happen. And then another huge part of our team is the whole group of volunteers that helps with selecting sessions and creating summits and all of the programming that happens at DrupalCon. So it's a huge team in general.
  • Steve: Okay. So there's a whole lot of people that touch it, but you're the one person that comes to work 365 days a year, thinks about DrupalCon.
  • Amanda: Yes.
  • Steve: DrupalCon ends in April, when it comes to May you're sitting up in the middle of the night and thinking, "We need to make this change to DrupalCon next year."
  • Amanda: Yeah, exactly. So at the end of the conference, something that I would lead would be the debrief and seeing what, what well and where we can improve and making changes and working with the community to see what content was missing, where can we improve, what content is going to be old news by the next conference and starting to set up the new conference. So yeah, it's a almost never ending process.
  • Steve: So for people that might be new to DrupalCons or Drupal itself, let's give them a quick bit of background. It's about 14, 15 years old at this point in terms of an event, is that right?
  • Amanda: Yeah, it's been going on for many more years that I've been at the Drupal Association. And it started off as quite a small gathering of Drupalers back in Belgium. And that's back, when Drees had to use his own bank account to actually host the get together. And so starts the Drupal Association, and since then, the event has changed a lot. It used to be the small gathering and then it became an event that the community organized, by the community, for the community. And then when the Drupal Association took it on, there was the partnership between the community and the Drupal Association. And in the past, maybe half a decade or so it's sort of been more taken on by the Drupal Association and the community definitely consults in terms of programming. But as far as the execution of the event, the Drupal Association has fully taken.
  • Steve: Well, I guess it needs a serious organization behind it because you guys get 3,000 plus people every single year.
  • Amanda: Yeah, there's definitely people who come from all over the world. But normally it's about 3,000 people and they have lots of sessions to attend and lots of social events to partake in and lots of networking that they want to do. So it is a very large conference. I kind of think of it as a marathon because it's a full week and there's a lot going on.
  • Steve: So I was going to say that DrupalCon hasn't changed very much over the last decade or so. I've been coming for about 10 years now, started in Chicago back in about 2010, and it's been a similar size 3000 people at least in North America since that time, even last year's event in Nashville was pretty similar size to the one 10 years ago.
  • Amanda: Yeah.
  • Steve: But around the North American event, you guys have been doing quite a bit of experimenting, right? The one in Australia, one in South America. At least until last year, there was one in Europe every year too.
  • Amanda: Yeah, when I joined the Drupal Association in 2014, the con structure was one in North America, one in Europe and then one that kind of rotated. So I just come on as they were putting on DrupalCon Latin America and I believe that was at Bogota and I didn't get to go but that was one of the the third cons and then India which was one of my favorite cons. But so we were doing three conferences a year, and then we stopped doing the third conference and we're doing just North America and Europe and really realizing that the way that we were organizing and putting on the DrupalCon Europe was not the best way to serve the European community and all of the contributors that we have there. So we we stepped back and said, "We're not doing it in the way that best serves few, because we are a nonprofit. We're here to serve the community." And so the European Community stepped up and put on an incredible event at Drupal, Europe and a lot of the people that were instrumental in putting on that event are now working with us, and we've joined with a professional event organization over in Europe and that will kind of be a different event where the Drupal association is not managing the entire thing. And it's really community driven. So trying to take a different set of eyes and look at a challenge and see the best way to solve it, because the DrupalCon Europe is very different than DrupalCon North America. So we're just trying to do the best for the community through feedback and hearing what the community wants.
  • Steve: In what way is a higher level more developer focused? I know we've been training for many years of DrupalCon North America and they've never had problems filling a beginner class of Drupal users. But we will quite often be contacted to do training in DrupalCon Europe and we can almost never fill a class, perhaps because there weren't enough beginners, or if the people there were generally more experienced. What would you say the difference is with the European audience?
  • Amanda: I think that there are a lot of events developers over in Europe. I believe that they're supposed to talking about where the majority of contribution comes from, and module maintainer and things like that. And there's a huge amount of contribution coming from the European community. The thing that we noticed the most, that's the difference between the two audiences is the North America one, I guess due to it being in the US, is a little more salesy, a bit more flashy. Sponsors really want their leads, there's a lot of social events, things like that. And the DrupalCon Europe is a little more like the original DrupalCons, where it's really a community feel more kind of like a family reunion or something like that. And so they really want more to focus as we've seen on just the building and the sessions and that kind of interaction. They don't love interacting with sponsors as much they're not as concerned with how showy the show is. But the challenge that we come up with is that the sponsors of that conference do want to interact with the developers, they do want to see new customers. They do want sales leads. So having so many countries attend at that conference, it made it quite challenging as a way to best serve both the developer community, but also all of the other communities that are part of Drupal that we've worked really hard to incorporate into DrupalCon. North America end-users, marketers, CMOS, CTOs agency leaders, it's just a little different situation in Europe. And so we thought that maybe looking at it with new eyes and a different team would be more strategic.
  • Steve: So basically, there are some pretty significant differences and it's really a long shot to try and hold a replica of DrupalCon North America in Europe, it's a different audience, different financial model-
  • Amanda: Exactly, the same way that if you were a consumer goods company, you would market to one audience, one way and one audience a different way. And if you consider DrupalCon Europe, it's very different audience and goals and attendees than DrupalCon North America.
  • Steve: So I'm sorry if I missed this, but what are the plans for DrupalCon Europe next year, are you going to go back and do the same community driven model? Have they picked a city?
  • Amanda: They have picked a city. So the Drupal Association has selected Kuoni which is an event management company based out of Europe and they're working hand-in-hand with the community advisory board headed up by Baddy (Breidert) who also was instrumental in planning the Drupal, Europe. She has an incredible team of people that were involved in Drupal, Europe and also people that stepped up to want to help lead DrupalCon Europe going forward and DrupalCon in 2018 in Europe will be in Amsterdam at the rise. So it'll be a combination of the community and this Kuoni group working together to put together an event that the community wants.
  • Steve: Okay, so in Portland, you guys are I guess mainly focusing now on DrupalCon North America which is a good thing, probably because DrupalCon is if not the entire Drupal Association and the entire Drupal Association budget, it's certainly a substantial portion of it, right? DrupalCon North America drives the majority of the revenue that the association makes every year.
  • Amanda: Yeah, it's changed since I've been on board and the DA under Holly and under Megan have done a great job of diversifying our revenue. So the DrupalCon revenue is not as significant as it used to be, but I believe it's something about 60% of the revenue for the Drupal Association comes from DrupalCon North America. So a lot of staff salaries and things like that come from DrupalCon. So it's really our main event, but it's also our main fundraiser of the year.
  • Steve: So you guys have been playing around and considering some changes. How does that factor in that it's such an important portion of what you do every year? You're trying to be conservative and not kill the golden goose, but at the same time, you need to keep it fresh. I saw you guys just put up a big post about the future DrupalCon North America locations about the next four or five years planned out already?
  • Amanda: Yeah, all the way until 2024, which seems so far away.
  • Steve: So we're going to Seattle this year, then Minneapolis and Boston?
  • Amanda: And then we'll go to Boston in 2021, we'll also come to Portland, Oregon, because I'm here. But we will go to Portland, Oregon for all of those that are not here in 2022, And then we will check out Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2023 and we'll come back to Portland, Oregon in 2024. And beyond that is still a mystery.
  • Steve: So picking the city's up until 2025 or 2026 was a step too far?
  • Amanda: I figured that 2024 was good enough for me this year.
  • Steve: So you normally hear quite a bit of feedback from people saying, "Oh, why didn't you come to Canada? Why didn't you come down to Miami, where it's warm that time of the year, what goes into the decision of where you're going to hold a conference which needs to have 3,000 people attend?
  • Amanda: Yeah.
  • Steve: What are the factors you need to bear in mind? Could you go to Mexico? Could you go to Canada?
  • Amanda: We've definitely look into going to Canada, Mexico, and I believe it was last year, we did kind of a survey with the majority of our sponsors, kind of asking if they would do a conference that they would sponsor this conference, our biggest fundraiser in a different country, and the results kind of showed that they may not. I'm involved with some other people who lead tech conferences and open-source conferences that are not Drupal. And it's pretty stunning that when you do a conference in Canada, unfortunately, your attendance drops and your sponsor base drops. So due to the feedback that we had from our sponsors, and knowing that they're such an integral part in us putting on the event, by them saying that they can't go to Canada right now, that's just really not something that we could sustain from a budgetary standpoint. So Canada, Mexico are currently things that we'd still really love to consider, but things that with the budget and the infrastructure and the team that we have right now, we just really cannot have happening. So possibly 2025 is when we could start doing that, but until 2024 we're committed and it's a lot of work to find a city because we are a large enough conference that we need a good amount of space. And on top of that, we're a very session-heavy conference. We normally have about 13 to 14 concurrent sessions happening at the same time, I mean, we need a lot of space for lunch, we need space for buffs, we need space for exhibits. It's a very large conference that needs to fit into the convention center and needs to not be wonky. You want to be able to feel like you can walk from session room to session room instead of having to walk across the convention center. So a lot of thought goes into the venue and if we can fit and if we can fit comfortably. We also look at the city itself. Is this someplace that people want to go? Is it affordable? Can people get there easily with flights as their public transportation? Another thing that we really focused on this year was the inclusiveness of the city is making sure that all of our attendees feel welcome and happy and safe in the city. And that's something that we really wanted to make sure we had as a priority. So once you kind of start seeing where we fit and where people can afford and where people feel safe, the list really just starts narrowing down. For example, when I published a blog, noting that we were going to be doing the process for DrupalCon 21 through 24, a lot of people said, "Come to New York City." Or, "New York City would be great." But when we start looking at the hotel prices and the cost to rent the venue, it just becomes so cost-prohibitive that it's not really something that we could keep the pricing similar to what it would be and get the same output. So it's really challenging, and we look at a lot of different price points and kind of the map of the city and where it will be and where attendees can go, as well as what happens in the venue. And we do a lot of negotiating to make sure that we get the best price and the best time and the best place. So I'm really proud of the announcement of the future cities and I think that in agreeing to future cities that far in advance, we can really kind of take that off of our plate for a while and focus back on the program.
  • Steve: Okay, so by the time you found a city, which is easy to fly to, which is walkable, which is perhaps easily accessible via multiple different airlines, which is attractive by the time you've gone through all this criteria, you end up with a half a dozen cities and most perhaps that then hold a convention center which is big enough and-
  • Amanda: Yeah, that we can afford.
  • Steve: But not too big, and yeah, cool. So you've decided on Seattle this year, plus also really some pretty significant changes. I'll be honest, I've been coming for about 10 years to DrupalCon North America and it has felt for better or for worse, almost like the same conference every single year, not going to be true this year, right?
  • Amanda: It's not going to be true this year, just because we ... In the whole time I've been here I've tried really hard to make myself available for people to give me feedback about what they thought and working so close with a lot of the program volunteers. They're very honest and upfront about the feedback and what they're hearing in the community. So over the past couple of years, I've really tried to take the feedback that we've heard from the community and the community of sponsors. And just in general feedback that we get in surveys, we really read them and try to incorporate that into the conference. So for those who have been coming to DrupalCon year over year, and did recognize that it was kind of the same conference with maybe a new whiz bang here or something else over here, this conference is similar but different. And so it still has hundreds of sessions that we've always had. We've expanded the way that we are looking at sessions. So instead of it being siloed into just front-end development, or just DevOps, we've associated tags with each sessions, so that you can say, "Well, this is a front-end development session that focuses on this specific technology, and it's a case study." Just to give you a more holistic view of what the content is, because we got a lot of feedback over the years that it did feel pretty styling and overwhelming that there were so many sessions, but not a great way to choose them. So that's one big change for the people that have been coming. And then also, we received a lot of feedback that people didn't like that on Monday and Tuesday or Monday, they had to pick a training or a summit.
  • Amanda: And so we've received feedback that the people wanted more summits and they wanted more opportunity for these sort of vertical days and full-day trainings. And so we've change the format of the week, so that Monday and Tuesday are summits and trainings and Wednesday and Thursday are both full days, whereas they didn't used to be. And now they're all sessions. And then Friday will remain the heartbeat of the community con, which is the contributions. So it is looking a bit different from a perspective of someone that has come before and that's very intentional. We don't want it to be stale. We don't want it to be the same thing every year. You're coming because this is the largest Drupal event in the world and we want to make sure you're having a great time, you're learning, you're feeling like it's new, you're feeling excited.nSo those are the changes that we made in that respect for the DrupalCon classic as I've seen it called. But on top of that, the community of people who build the websites, be that the developer or the project manager that manages project from start to finish that audience is very well served in DrupalCon. But as the years have been going on, we've been seeing that a lot of other audiences are beginning to come to DrupalCon and we don't really have the content for them. So that is maybe the marketer who uses Drupal in their job, or the CMO or the CTO who's thinking about adopting Drupal or the content editor that's the end-user of the Drupal site. So these people have slowly been coming to DrupalCon and have kind of been saddened and disappointed that we didn't have content for them. So they're also part of the community and it's kind of a shift of what they need versus what we have. And so the biggest change and I admit that it's a lot of change at the same time is to create programs specifically for other parts of our community. So in Seattle we'll have a track specifically dedicated to content and digital marketing. That's a whole new community that we've never served and they're very excited to participate in the community and have their own program. We also have a more refined and dedicated track for agency leaders. These are the people that are sometimes sponsoring the conference. These are the people that are selling Drupal as a solution, and we want to make sure that we're supporting them because they're an integral part of the community as well.
  • Steve: Those guys, the agency leaders drive an awful lot of what happens in Drupal. Right?
  • Amanda: Definitely.
  • Steve: I go to, let's pick the annual word camp event that they hold every year, which is similar to DrupalCon.
  • Amanda: It is.
  • Steve: If you walk in there, it's all hosting companies. Hosting companies drive all the revenue, whereas you walk into DrupalCon, there's almost no hosting companies. It's all agency-driven.
  • Amanda: Yeah, it's a lot of shops.
  • Steve: They're the main sponsors, their staff members are often the main phases of the community. It's a whole different audience in the agency, the agency CEOs and leads are the key players in the community often.
  • Amanda: They are and I mean they fund a lot of the work, they support DrupalCon, they are part of the community and in the past, we have sort of had a business summit for them. And then some disparate business sessions and so we realized this is a major community that is underserved. And so we've kind of tried to allocate more resources and intention around their programming. And now they have their own two-day sort of mini conference that goes at the same time as the regular DrupalCon. And so the the last track and big change that we've made to Seattle is a kind of new program that we're working on and we're calling it the Executive Summit. And that's really for people who are decision makers in organizations that are selecting a Drupal site. These are your Johnson and Johnson's, your Time magazine, organizations like this, and these are people that either are already using Drupal or are looking to use Drupal and they kind of have different requirements when it comes to programming and different conference fields. And so we're we're putting together a program for them so that they can network amongst themselves and also hear from people and hear what other organizations are doing or what could they be doing or discuss the unique challenges that they have. So that's a program that will be starting in Seattle. And then we're hoping to expand that beyond DrupalCon and have events like that around the globe to really serve another part of the Drupal community, which are these decision makers. So those are the big changes to DrupalCon Seattle, 2019 and in general it's an improvement for the people that have been coming in the past and it is new and dedicated content for people who have come in the past but didn't really have content for them. So we're really excited to expand the mindset of the Drupal community to include anyone that touches Drupal and make sure that there's something for them at DrupalCon.
  • Steve: Okay. Yeah, I remember almost every year would be like a ritual. We'd have a group of beginners who are new to DrupalCon in our class normally on the Monday before the DrupalCon started, and they'd come up to me at the end of the class and say what? "Okay, this is the beginner class. hat was pretty easy. I understood that I was in the right session. Now, what do I do for the rest of the week?" And we'd look at this enormous sheet with multiple days, 13 sessions at a time, and I go through and try and circle random sessions that might possibly be interesting to them. And so what you guys are doing is trying to forge a much clearer path for those people that are new to DrupalCon, and maybe the track system wasn't quite good enough, not quite easy enough for them to navigate in the past.
  • Amanda: Yeah, it's kind of a combination of new to DrupalCon. We want to make sure that the people that are coming can feel up to speed and know what content they're getting into right away. But also for people that are not creating a Drupal website, but maybe maintaining it or working in the marketing department and they just have to update the site content or they need to make a new panel or something. They don't want the very technical content that the majority of Drupal sessions are, they more want a different kind of experience. And so that's what one of the new tracks is, is it's more of an end-user kind of content focused more on marketing and SEO and content strategy. And while those are still things that will definitely still be talked about in the builder conference, the focus is different because the people that are doing it are different. So so we're just trying to make sure that everyone who comes to DrupalCon has something for them.
  • Steve: I'm going to circle back quickly and ask about something you mentioned about a minute ago.
  • Amanda: Sure.
  • Steve: You said that the Drupal association is going to start breaking out some of these little summits and holding them in venues outside of DrupalCon?
  • Amanda: Oh, yeah. Primarily. We're looking to take that executive summit for CMOS and CTOs and heads of digital and CIOs and people that are choosing to adopt Drupal for their website and we're looking to instead of always expecting them to come to DrupalCon, making sure that we're coming to them and providing them network opportunities and showing them what Drupal can do. And just really showcasing the power of Drupal but beyond DrupalCon.
  • Steve: Okay so it's a kind of thing that maybe someone like Acquia or a big agency might have tried to host themselves but the Drupal Association is going to take on that role and help market Drupal to that audience.
  • Amanda: Yeah, and I mean I'm sure that large agencies will still continue to do this because it's the integral part of their business but from a Drupal perspective, this hasn't been done and so we're definitely picking that up and making sure that there's a Drupal version of that.
  • Steve: Okay. Awkward question.
  • Amanda: Sure.
  • Steve: Prices going up this year going up this year or DrupalCon Seattle?
  • Amanda: Not awkward at all. There are multiple blogs about it and I've talked about it with lots of community members. So it's not awkward it's definitely just the truth. We really looked at the changes that people were asking year over year, more summits, more this, more networking, higher quality speakers, things like that. And a lot of that requires budget. And we haven't raised the price for DrupalCon the whole time that I've been at the association and I'm not sure how far from before I came, but we continue to add and we continue to make improvements without ever changing our budget.
  • Amanda: And so we stepped back and kind of looked at, well, what are we providing and how much does it cost us and were there other conferences providing? And how much should those cost and kind of where can we be in the middle to make sure that this is still a community conference. It's definitely not TEDx or anything, but if people are asking for higher quality or better things, we need to be able to make sure that in doing that investment, we can still pay the Drupal Association salaries and we can still pay to make sure that you have a decent lunch and the Wi-Fi works and things like that.
  • Amanda: So we looked at a lot of different conferences and we priced ourselves still below the majority of large open-source tech conferences. If you look at things like OzCon or if you look at Linux Foundations, open-source summit, even NTEN's NTC, we're still priced lower than that. And we're very proud of what we're offering. In order to keep up with what is being requested, we need to also keep up with it on a budgetary standpoint. So yes, there is an increase in the price, but in doing so, we now have awarded the most grants and scholarships ever, so people can come to DrupalCon. We're able to partner with organizations like Women Who Code to give out free tickets, so more people can come. We also, this year I'm very proud the program team-worked to get 50% of the speakers in the Builder Conference are self-selected as underrepresented speakers.
  • Amanda: And so that's something that we're also supporting. We're making sure that they have the funds necessary to come and speak at our conference. So it's not just the Drupal Association raising prices and doing secret money dances in a room with a fan, it's definitely us taking the money and reinvesting it in the community. So it's not an awkward question. That's just a truth of the matter.
  • Steve: Okay. It's incredibly important for the Drupal Association and all the work you guys do. The DrupalCon each year in North America funds the majority of what you do.
  • Amanda: Yeah.
  • Steve: So not just making DrupalCon better, but making the association's work in general better. If DrupalCon itself is not profitable, is not bringing in the revenue, then Drupal itself is going to struggle.
  • Amanda: Exactly.
  • Steve: Cool. So you've managed to reach some significant targets in terms of diversity? Do you have goals of setting out each year and saying, "We would like to get in the ballpark of 40% female speakers or do you have targets like that?
  • Amanda: I haven't in the past placed quotas because I think that that makes it pretty complicated and you don't want to pick someone just because of something. And that's definitely, we've had a lot of conversations in the program team about that. And so we focused a lot of our energy on casting a wider net when we talk to people about our call for papers, and the more people that know about it, including more underrepresented people that know about it, the better the submissions will be, which means the higher acceptance rate for people from underrepresented groups. And so when I came on, we didn't track diversity of speakers, and so we started in DrupalCon Baltimore, and I believe the number there was ... 39% of speakers were from underrepresented groups, self-selected. And then in Nashville, I believe it went up to 42, and now we're at 50%. So that's definitely something that I'm proud of, but I've never put a mandate on the program team who selects the sessions that they have to hit a certain number. My goal is always to do better in open-source community iteration and constantly improving our are definitely just part of the personality of the group and so that's always been my driving target and it's just, "Just do better than last year, make the improvement that you can."
  • Steve: So Amanda, this is going to be your last DrupalCon after about four or five years of thinking about DrupalCon 24/7?
  • Amanda: It is and I actually won't even be on staff for this DrupalCon. So my last day is Friday, February 1st and I won't be part of the Drupal Association in Seattle. So the team here will carry it across the finish line and be excited and proud about all of the changes and accomplishments that we've made so far.
  • Steve: Thanks for what you've done. It's been really fun to work with you over the last few years.
  • Amanda: Thank you.
  • Steve: Is there anything really cool that you have planned for your team to implement in Seattle? Do you have a really cool speaker you've picked out or a really cool after party? Is there something fun? Is there one final enticing thing that you can tell people about before we wrap up, something really cool happening this year?
  • Amanda: Yeah, I think just by starting so early this year because we did not do DrupalCon Europe because the community put together Drupal, Europe. By having all of this extra time, we've really put together an incredible lineup of speakers. We have so many different options for people to participate. We have new social events, we have new inclusion efforts, we have a lot going on at the conference. I will say there will be puppies and bunnies in the exhibit hall on Thursday afternoon.
  • Steve: Seriously?
  • Amanda: Yeah, seriously, this is my parting gift. So I just think that there's a lot going on and I've tried so hard in the four years that I was here to really listen to the community and improve it, so that the conference is better for them. And so I hope that people see that in Seattle because we've put a lot of work and effort into it. And if I could offer any sort of real parting gift it would be that it would be the sunniest week in Seattle.
  • Steve: Oh man. I'm tempted to bring my two elementary school-age girls now.
  • Amanda: Yeah, there's a lot to do in Seattle for families as far as just being a tech scene. There's a lot of fun museums and activities for kids but it's also just a beautiful city. I'm pretty biased because I'm from that state, but it's going to be a great place for Drupalers and their families and friends and alike.
  • Steve: Wonderful. Thank you so much Amanda.
  • Amanda: Yeah, thanks so much for having me. Have a great day.

About the author

Steve is the founder of OSTraining. Originally from the UK, he now lives in Sarasota in the USA. Steve's work straddles the line between teaching and web development.