Wondering Wanderer

DrupalCon Seattle 2019

April 12, 2019

Thursday night we were chatting about past DrupalCons and trying to line up the order. DrupalCon DC feels just like yesterday. The epic Microsoft party and stitching together a blanket for Freya in SF. Hula hooping and my first Drupal trivia in Chicago. Dealing with altitude in Denver. Pouring rain and start of the karaoke tradition in Portland. Really awesome lunch in Prague. Meat sweats and sketchy karaoke place in Austin. The weirdest AirBnB experience during Los Angeles. Food poisioning and missing most of the conference in Barcelona. All the delicious food and Drupal 6 funeral in New Orleans. 2 am meals and becoming a regular at a local bar in Baltimore. All the music in Nashville and getting soaked in a random downpour with other Drupallers.

Drupal mittens I made for Drewish back in the day

Notice how very little of it has to do with the technical side of Drupal? DrupalCons are as much about community as it is about the technology stack it’s built on. It’s my annual chance to see and catch up with people - especially people who live in Portland!

I arrived in Seattle for day two of the conference and missed the annual Driesnote in person but here’s the one thing you should know happened this year. To quote Dries:

We should not only invite underrepresented groups into our Open Source communities, but make sure that they are welcomed, supported and empowered.

It’s been a long time coming, people have left this community because their fight for inclusion seemed fruitless. Far too long did we believe in just doing without taking into consideration that not everyone has the luxury of free time.

As a woman in tech who has had to balance work, family, school and other volunteer committments it is difficult to find time and often money to contribute. Tech has for years had the attitude of “contribution is code” which is simply not achievable for everyone. It does not matter how brilliant your code is if the business logic or UI for it fails short.

Times they are changin’

Drupalcon Seattle introduced a few changes to the usual setup:

  • shorter sessions - 30 minutes instead of the standard 45
  • separate conferences - DrupalCon Classic vs other interests
  • tags over tracks
  • all day coffee!
  • therapy animals!

I’m curious to see the survey results and read feedback from attendees. For me there were maybe too many changes in the organizational side. I’m sure three months from now when I have recovered from reviewing hundreds of sessions for this year’s con I will have a little sunnier outlook.


Katrin Valdre

Written by Katrin Valdre who has a permanent address in Portland, OR but does not believe in one physical location. You should follow her on Twitter