After being the content manager for DrupalCon Denver, I agreed to be the "Global Content Manager" for all upcoming DrupalCon's. No one has ever done this before, so it is appropriate that I start the conversation on what this position should do.
First, thanks to all my friends in #drupal-colorado for both the congrats and for the exclamations of "Sucker!". No one knows better than me about how much volunteer effort is required to put on a successful DrupalCon. Whenever you're at a DrupalCon, personally thank those volunteers responsible for putting it on. They really appreciate it.
Global track chairs. Although we all try to document what we did, what worked and what didn't work for each DrupalCon, we continue to lose some intelligence from the 100% turnover of volunteers from one DrupalCon to the next. You may or may not know that we have global track chairs that work with the local track chairs to evaluate and select sessions for each track at DrupalCon. The global track chairs are not only subject matter experts in their specific track, but they also contribute the experience on what has worked and what has not worked in DrupalCon's past. Many thanks to our DrupalCon Global Team.
I see the global content manager role as a similar resource. An advisor... Someone with a longer view of success criteria... As a backup...
Improved DrupalCon memory. I enjoy working in the Drupal community because most everyone is so darn intelligent. The DrupalCon Munich team is a pleasure to work with because they are passionate, responsible and innovative. With such a great team, my role is to quietly alert the team of holes we've stepped in previously and how we hurt ourselves by stepping in those holes. Yet, each DrupalCon has its own challenges, so I am hoping to document and remember these issues for each subsequent DrupalCon, making each event even better.
Since we are mostly volunteers, everyone jumps in to make this event happen. Roles can be ill-defined. People drop off due to their "day job". Confusion and conflict can result. Feelings can get hurt. I'm hoping that having a long view of "putting on the best DrupalCon possible" can help us work through these inevitible issues.
DrupalCon <> a bigger DrupalCamp. As DrupalCon's get bigger and bigger, the Drupal Association has thankfully brought in professionals to make these events come off professionally. A DrupalCon is not a DrupalCamp. It is a completely different animal. It is much more formal and structured. Expectations are significantly higher.
At some point, a conflict bubbles up due to this expectation mismatch. I could write about this at length, but let me just say that the local DrupalCon leadership and the Drupal Association, i.e. professional management of the event, is all on the same team. Each contributes something extremely valuable. The local team provides leadership on the conference theme, sessions and activities - a local flavor and the passion of their specific community. The DA provides logistics, professional management and structure for the event. If there is conflict, the conflict arises for the best possible reasons: Each person's personal reputation is on the line!
As the newest member of the global DrupalCon volunteer team, I hope to be a resource to the global track chairs, to the local organizing community and to the Drupal Association.
Contact me if your have any ideas for me. (When we had comments turned on here, I just got tired of removing spam.)