Making large volunteer-driven projects sustainable. Lessons learned from Drupal
Dries Buytaert, original creator and project lead of Drupal
Tuesday, May 29, 12:30 pm
Berkman Center, 23 Everett Street, second floor
RSVP required for those attending in person via the form below
This event will be webcast live at 12:30 pm ET and archived on our site shortly after.
In this talk, Dries shares his experiences on how he grew the Drupal
community from just one person to over 800,000 members over the past 10
years. Today, the Drupal community is one of the largest and most active
Open Source projects in the world, powering 1 out of 50 websites in the
world. The concept of major projects growing out of a volunteer,
community-based model is not new to the world. Volunteer networks and
communities exist in many shapes and sizes. Throughout history there
are examples of pure volunteer organizations that were instrumental in
the founding and formation of many projects. For example, the first
trade routes were ancient trackways which citizens later developed on
their own into roads suited for wheeled vehicles in order to improve
commerce. Transportation was improved for all citizens, driven by the
commercial interest of some. Today, we certainly appreciate that our
governments maintain the roads. However, we still see road signs stating
that a particular section of a highway is kept clean and trim by
volunteers -- at least in some countries. When new ground needs to be
broken, it's often volunteer communities that do it. But a full-time,
paid infrastructure can be necessary for the preservation and protection
of what communities begin. In this presentation, Dries wants to
brainstorm about how large communities evolve and how to sustain them
Some questions to think about ahead of the presentation:
- Do you know examples of large organizations that have grown out of volunteer communities?
- Why do some communities keep growing while other communities come to a halt?
- Is the commercialization of a volunteer-driven community part of a community's natural life-cycle?
- Is it inevitable that over time the operation and/or leadership of volunteer communities are transferred to paid personnel?
Dries Buytaert is the original creator and project lead for the Drupal open source web publishing and collaboration platform. Buytaert serves as president of the Drupal Association, a non-profit organization formed to help Drupal flourish. He is also co-founder and chief technology officer of Acquia, a venture-backed software company that offers products and services for Drupal. Dries is also a co-founder of Mollom, a web service that helps you identify content quality and, more importantly, helps you stop website spam. A native of Belgium, Buytaert holds a PhD in computer science and engineering from Ghent University and a Licentiate Computer Science (MsC) from the University of Antwerp. In 2008, Buytaert was elected Young Entrepreneurs of Tech by BusinessWeek as well as MIT TR 35 Young Innovator.