Business Disruption

I have this problem… whenever I see some commercial service demonstrated, I start to think of the alternatives to it. Why is that?

I got a demo of an interesting service recently, and the first thing I thought to myself was “hmmm, this is really similar to what I had running in Drupal two years ago” and then I thought about how the service could be cloned with a few Drupal modules and a few days of hacking. I was relatively sure WordPress also had similar plugins to attain the feature set. (I’m probably underestimating the amount of work, but we tend o do that sometimes, don’t we?)

Don’t get me wrong, the service I saw was not without value… it had great value! But the support for the service was probably the number one value. I mean, the software wasn’t magical (it may have some magical stuff on the inside or on the backend filter that I didn’t see) but the basic functions were not in any way amazing. For someone who doesn’t want to think about it, and outsource all the technical voodoo to someone else, it would probably appear pretty damn amazing, so if that’s you, then yes, it was amazing.

At that point I start to wonder… should they have built their product on top of any open source platform like Drupal, and then build things on top of the plumbing it provides? Expertise, customization, support, hosted services… and on and on.

Maybe it’s the whole “we have tiers, it’s $XX per month, or $XXX per month or $XXXX per month depending on the features you want” where I start to think that cloning it would be a great idea for someone, because somewhere, somehow, there’s always someone who wants to build it themselves, or modify it, or make it do something someone hasn’t thought of yet, or even just not pay $XXXX per month for something.

Maybe business deserves to be disrupted sometimes.


DrupalCampWisconsin Recap

DrupalCampWisconsin was held all day on Saturday, January 19th, 2008 at MSOE in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. I’d like to thank everyone who showed up and took part, and all of the sponsors for the care and feeding during the 12+ hour event. Thanks to Web414 for organizing the thing, Fresh Coast Ventures and 2XL Networks for providing beverages, and Cruiskeen Consulting LLC, EC Connection, and Palantir for keeping our bellies full so we could concentrate on Drupal.

Talking about Crell's presentation on IRC (by ashley_dryden)

This was the first real BarCamp-type event we’ve done which was not really a BarCamp. Since it was a smaller event, and just one day, and focused on one thing (Drupal!) it was a bit different. We had planned to settle in between 9AM and 10AM, and then kick right into it, but due to a few issues, we really got started closer to 11AM, and Larry from Palantir started with a good overview of the Drupal Ecosystem, and what makes Drupal what it is, not just code, but a community of good people doing good things. My note during this time was that you can’t just look at the code of an open source project you plan to invest in, you need to look at the people that make up the community. No matter how good a piece of software is, I don’t want to have to deal with jerks every time I use it. Drupal has a serious lack of jerks… What they don’t have is a lack of female involvement. Larry mentioned that the percentage of women involved in open source is typically low, and is lower than the percentage involved in just software development in general, but in the Drupal community, the number is pretty high. (KarenS was there, and I can tell you, she really knew her stuff! We had a handful of “Drupal Ninjas” and she was definitely near the top of that list.)

KarenS (by kev_walsh)

Like I said, slow start… After we asked the group for session ideas, we wrote them down and built a rough schedule. We then just talked generally about the Drupal Community until noon when lunch arrived, and then ate our subs and launched into the sessions. We ended up having two rooms, one for Beginner sessions, and one for Advanced sessions. We covered a lot of stuff including CCK, Views, Ubercart, and more… until it was time for dinner. Oh, we also put up a “who needs work/who needs to hire someone” board. After dinner we ended up combining the Beginner and Advanced groups into one and covered theming.

Drupalers (by ashley_dryden)

After the event ended, we headed over to Bucketworks for a party sponsored by Social Helix and The Fireseed Group. There was drink and merriment until we were too tired and went home to sleep.

Blake Hall (by kev_walsh)

Will we do it again? Definitely…


Drupal on the Eee PC

Since DrupalCampWisconsin is tomorrow, I figured I better have Drupal installed on my laptop.

Drupal on the Asus Eee PC (by raster)

I already had XAMPP running, so adding Drupal only took a few minutes.

It works fine, but like all things on the Eee PC, what you can see is a little, uh, limited…


DrupalCampWisconsin Shirts

DrupalCampWisconsin is this coming weekend… On Saturday, January 19th, 2008 at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) we plan to geek out with Drupal for 12 straight hours.

DrupalCampWisconsin Shirts

One of the enjoyable parts of planning an event like this is the design aspect. Typically, I’ll kick out a logo design to get things going, and hope that others voice their opinion and maybe throw out some ideas as well. Well, the opinion part usually happens, but sometimes no one else presents design ideas, and we go with mine. (Or mine are just so awesome it intimidates people!)

For the DrupalCampWisconsin logo, I started out with an idea I used for BarCampMilwaukee2, using the outline of the State of Wisconsin…

BarCampMilwaukee2 Logo Ideas #1

I pushed it a bit, and ended up with a versions I (and others) seemed fairly happy with…

DrupalCampWisconsin Logo Idea #004

At some point, Bob asked about shirts, and from there Mike Rohde picked up the ball and ran with it. He tweaked and made adjustments, and took what I did and improved upon it, until we had what we have today… which I love.

It was really great working with Mike on the design process, and while I’m not paying him, I can honestly say that I’m sure his clients feel the same way.

So now that we’ve got a great logo, and the event is all set, you can buy the shirt from Goodstorm. (Oh, we did not markup the price, so all costs go to just covering the materials. Also, Goodstorm runs on Drupal. ;)


DrupalCampWisconsin (Soon!)

DrupalCampWisconsin is happening soon! Saturday, January 19th, 2008 at Milwaukee School of Engineering (MSOE) in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. We’ll be running from 10AM to 10PM and dealing with all things Drupal.


So far some of the topics to be covered are:

  • Drupal for Users
  • Building a group blog political site with Drupal
  • Druplash and Druplex: Content Managed Flash/Flex using Drupal
  • Building a shopping cart with Drupal and Ãœbercart
  • Build a custom Drupal theme on Yahoo UI

If you are interested in attending, please add your name to the wiki page. If you are interested in sponsoring this event, please get in touch with me.