December 16, 2017
Upcoming Mautic AMA
2017 is drawing to a close and it’s been a whirlwind of a year. There’s been so much going on in the Mautic universe it can be a bit overwhelming. Whether you’ve been around for the entire ride, or just joined us I have no doubt that you may have a few questions about things.
As you may have begun to notice I’ve been ramping up my efforts on sharing information. One of my focuses as we close out this year and start the next year involves how to empower more people in our amazing Mautic community. To that end I have been working on the best way to share information, organize my thoughts, and help get everyone on the same page in terms of Mautic: where we are, where we’ve been, and possibly most importantly – where we are going. I’ve shared several posts recently on my blog (here, here, and here) which give a few insights but I believe there are even more ways I can improve. Because I think there are probably still questions outstanding that haven’t been answered yet.
So, in order to help with that I am preparing to do something for the first time in Mautic history. I am excited to announce our first ever AMA (ask me anything). This will be an opportunity for you to ask your questions directly and hopefully get immediate answers. There’s general guidelines for the session and of course any deep technical questions or bugs you just want solved are not really the purpose of this time. To put it bluntly I won’t be “live fixing” anyone’s website. 🙂
However, questions about how Mautic should be used, ways to get involved, questions about the roadmap, our community future, leadership structure, GitHub projects etc…these are all welcome topics and I will do my best to give you good, clear, concise answers. And I give you my word, if I don’t have an answer – I’ll be honest enough to tell you I don’t know and point you to a resource that might be able to help.
The goal of this AMA is to ensure our global community, and you as an individual, feel confident in what we’re doing and also where we’re going. I hope this will be a fun, enjoyable and informative session where we can all learn and improve.
And lastly, if all goes well I hope we will hold more of these in the future. I’m not going to dig into specifics about what to expect (Remember this is our first one, we’re going to be learning as we go). But here’s what you need to know now:
What: Mautic’s First Ever AMA
Where: Mautic’s Slack Channel – # ama
When: December 21, 2017
Time: 10:00AM EST (The World Clock Meeting Planner – Details)
What To Bring: Your questions!
See you there!
Oh, and if you can’t make it you can still send in your questions.
May 11, 2015
Cheaper by the Dozen
Each of you possesses the most valuable item in the world. I don’t care where you work, where you live, or where you bank. Each of you is incredibly wealthy. Each one of you possesses something invaluable. You’re probably thinking I’m crazy because I haven’t seen your bank balance. :) But I’m not crazy. Because it does not matter if you have any of the tangible goods or resources of the world. There is only one resource you have that can never be replaced. You can’t make more, buy more, or borrow more. You can’t re-use it. This resource is your time.
Time is paramount. Throughout all of history there has been no discovery sought after as much as the quest for immortality. Humans have always looked for ways to prolong the inevitable death and thus the ending of their time. Dynasties rise and fall, wars are raged, empires are established, and then decay. Solomon mentions this inevitability when he says ashes to ashes and dust to dust. In spite of everything we do and accomplish, time presses ever onward. Time is of paramount importance.
Time drives us, time moves us, time consumes all of us. Therefore those things which affect time are also important. When we look at what consumes our time we start to look at how time is lost, or more directly how our time is wasted. Our time is our most valuable possession. We want to spend our time wisely. This interest in how our time is used – this is efficiency. And this is what we’re talking about today. How do we improve efficiency in our world, in our business, in our design?
I would like to share 3 stories with you today. 3 stories and 3 points. Very short, simple stories that I hope you’ll be able to see a connection and a common theme weaved throughout leaving you with a thought you can carry with you as you go.
I travel a lot for conferences. Most of my travel occurs via airplanes. Man, I love airplanes. The ability to move around the world so quickly compared to the old days. I would never have been able to survive a 3 week trip by boat across the Atlantic. It would have killed me I’m quite sure. I like to move fast. I like to get get where I’m going and get things done.
Airplanes are great. Airports however, are not always that great. How many have had the wonderful opportunity to travel via airplane? And how many have had the wonderful experience (err, great misfortune) of having to endure an airport? Yeah, they seem to go hand in hand, which is unfortunate because I would definitely skip the airport part if I could. Just the flying part for me please.
Because I travel so much my odds of misfortune are higher. I have a greater chance of missing a connection, losing my luggage, or experiencing the extra bit of lovin’ from a personal security screening. (That’s right, you know what I’m talking about. Usually I prefer them buy me dinner before we go there!)
Well, one of the worst feelings I think I’ve ever experienced is running through an airport terminal so I can catch my next flight. That’s a miserable feeling. On one trip I was passing through Washington DC to return to Europe. Man, I remember this like it just happened. I think I still to this day have nightmares about this one. The flight across the Atlantic only happens once a day. If I missed this flight I would be stuck in DC overnight and have to wait an entire 24 hours for the next one. My flight landed in Washington and I had 30 minutes to make my connection. Sounds like plenty of time. I grabbed my bags and began the brisk “walk” to the other terminal. Well suddenly I found myself in a queue (Like that? I’m using the Queen’s English).
A line. A security line! I had just gotten off a plane where not 1 hour before I had gone through security. Here now I was stuck in another security checkpoint. What a terrible inefficient process. I’m all for security. But let’s talk about this for a second. My flights are scheduled to give me 45 minutes between flights, I was delayed a bit so only had 30 minutes, regardless, not much time. I went through security initially, boarded the plane through the secure area, travelled on a secure plane, landed at a secure gate, and walked through a secure terminal to arrive at this security checkpoint.
Do you see my point? What an inefficient process! And I’m not even going to start on the actual security screening process. So horribly horribly inefficient. Heathrow is especially full of opportunities for improvement! If we have time I’ll share some of those with you too.
Well I won’t keep you in suspense any longer. I passed through security and rushed to my gate. At this point I’m no longer briskly walking, this is full-on jogging at this point. All pretense of self-respect and dignity were lost as I dodged the other travelers in my way. I made it to the gate mere seconds before they closed and slid, hot, sweaty, and out of breath into my seat on the plane. I made it. Barely…, but I made it. But I wasn’t alone, almost at the same time the person to my left dropped into his seat as well. He was holding a small cooler on his lap.
I realized he had actually been running with me through the terminal. We were both taking the same flight to Washington DC. We were both stuck in the double security situation. We shared a quick smile as if to congratulate each other for our fortune. Only then, sitting in our seats did I take the time to see what he held in his lap. The inconspicuous cooler had medical tape sealing it shut and several labels plastered on the side. I read one: Human Organ Inside.
A realization dawned on me, maybe you too as you listen to this story. While it might have been an inconvenience for me to miss my next flight it was much, much more to my seat mate. It was in a very real way a matter of life and death. In the medical field where the amount of time an organ can survive outside the body is measured in minutes, every single second counts. An inefficient process, a poorly executed strategy, excessive steps in a security screening could be the difference between life and death. Efficiency is important.
So here’s your first point I want you to remember.
This leads well into our second story. This story relates to the medical field (as you probably guessed) and involves some numbers. But don’t panic. I’ll make it fun.
That number is how many seconds you have in 70 years. A second seems so fast, so inconsequential. But lets look at a few facts. Wait! Interesting facts, not boring statistics! In a second you can blink 7 times. In one second a very fast human can run 39 feet (12 meters). A second is all it takes for a commercial jet to travel 800 feet. (Yep, had to bring my airplane back into the mix).
All of those are related to speed, but seconds can relate to other things as well. In one second 4 babies are born. In one second 2 people die. Although we often think that a second is such a small insignificant unit of time much can be happen in a second. Lives are changed. The world is moved. (Quite literally, the earth moves 18 1/2 miles every second). If we believe every second is important than we should make the most of each. We should find the most efficient way to do things so we can save those seconds.
Frank Gilbreth was obsessed with this idea of saving steps, saving motion, and saving time. By reducing the motions required to perform tasks he could complete work faster, and more efficiently. Frank is actually where the title of this talk comes from, Cheaper by the Dozen is an autobiographical book written by Frank’s son about the life and methods of his parents. The book title comes from the fact that there were 12 kids in their family and they would often receive attention when in public for being such a large family. Frank would joke that it was more efficient to have 12 kids because they were “cheaper” by the dozen. Obviously a bit of a joke but it represents the very real way that Frank and his wife Lillian would approach every situation. He studied motion, he studied efficiency and how to improve processes. Sometimes he did so in unique ways, sometimes in quite obvious ways, but always in order to improve lives. Let me share one specific story with you.
Frank would time everything. He would video a process (now this was old school type of video, hand-crank cameras and all) and then he would analyze the video and the time it took to complete a process. He’d break down the process into motions and determine how they could be improved to speed the entire process up and complete the task quicker.
During World War I Frank turned his attention to the medical field and the surgical procedures followed with injured soldiers. He saw ways he could improve the process and save lives. He studied hours and hours of surgical procedures and he is responsible for some of the same time-saving tricks that are used even today in hospitals around the world. Every time a surgeon turns to a nurse and asks for a specific instrument, Frank is responsible. He found this saved a tremendous amount of time during these life-and-death surgeries. But he didn’t just improve the operating room, he also studied the movements and activities of the post-op patients and established methods for rehabilitating soldiers to continue living their daily lives.
That’s powerful stuff. Frank Gilbreth and his wife Lillian most assuredly believed in the power of a second and the importance of efficiency. They saw firsthand how being efficient could improve or even save a life.
This is the second point I want to leave you with today.
Timeout: Now I know you’re thinking this is all great and quite interesting, but how does all of this relate or affect me and my work. Designer, developer, business owner, user interface developer, user experience expert, and everyone else I haven’t named. We live in a world where seconds matter; even the milliseconds matter. Studies have shown a 1 second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions. Or more specifically if an e-commerce site is making $100,000 per day, a 1 second page delay could potentially cost $2.5 million in lost sales every year. And that’s just page load speed.
Seconds matter in other places too. If your design is confusing, or your process flow difficult to follow you exponentially decrease your user engagement. 1 second is bad, 2 seconds is far worse. It takes only 2.6 seconds for a user to look at your webpage and determine where they should focus. Be sure that you focus your users and provide a very clear path for them to follow. Your goal should be to keep engagement high and initial commitment low. Efficiency in your process will support this goal. Employing time-saving techniques, motion-saving clicks are all important parts of this process.
You may not feel that you’re saving lives by reducing excessive clicks on your website but you are absolutely improving them. Think of all those times you’ve been frustrated with inane checkboxes, excessive steps, and pointless clicks. Now think of the times you’ve been pleased with a process that works well. Do you remember how refreshing, how exciting that moment felt? Your life was improved. It may not be as direct an impact as Frank’s but I assure you, your work, when done right, improves lives.
Sometimes it’s obvious the way you can be more efficient; and at other times it takes a bit of creative thinking to find ways to save those valuable seconds. This is the fun part of our work. We get to use our imagination, we try things. Sometimes they fail miserably, but often we are able to make a difference. This leads me to my last story I want to share with you today.
Sir George Cayley, does anyone know that name? Probably not. Let me give you a different name and we’ll start there. Has anyone heard of the Wright brothers? Yep, that name is far more familiar. In fact, they originate from where I currently live, North Carolina USA. These two brothers, Orville and Wilbur, are frequently referred to as the first men to fly an airplane. Now there are some discrepancies and debate over exact timing and the result is a more detailed attribution would be they are the first men to experience powered, controlled, fixed-wing heaver-than-air human flight. That’s a mouthful. But there’s something in that description that’s important. You see, the Wright brothers although they are more well-known were not the first to think of this concept. Decades earlier, even centuries for some of the ideas, there were others thinking outside the box, thinking uniquely. Sir George Cayley was one of these individuals.
Sir George was from Yorkshire (See how this all ties together?) and in 1799 he discovered and proposed the ideas of aerodynamic forces, the fixed-wing concept, and the use of separate systems for propulsion and control. Sounds familiar. Now before this time humans were still trying to fly, and you probably remember the methods they attempted. There’s plenty of video footage archived if you’re ever in the mood for a good laugh. It’s quite humorous.
But here’s the important thing: George thought differently. He saw a different world. He looked at the same problem but from a different angle. In some ways that’s similar to our previous story with Frank Gilbreth. Frank thought differently too. He would button his shirts from bottom to top instead of top down because it saved 4 seconds! That is definitely thinking differently.
Sir George may not be as widely known or as well-recognized but he thought differently. And that’s the important thing to learn from this last story.
This is my final point I want you to remember:
Whatever your role is, whatever your occupation is you will be better if you allow yourself to see the world from a different point of view, think outside the box, entertain ideas, and encourage your own personal growth. When you see the world differently you solve problems in new ways. You find ways to be more efficient and save valuable time. Don’t get stuck in ruts. Don’t follow blindly along the paths of those who have gone before without testing and proving it to be the best route.
Be willing. Be bold. Be different.
I hope these three stories and points are helpful to you. I want you to remember them. When you return to your work and you sit down at your desk remember these three simple things: Every second counts. Saving time improves lives. See the world differently.
If you start your day with that simple thought you’ll accomplish great things. You’ll make the most of your time, you’ll improve the lives of others, and you’ll create incredible things. I’ll end by saying thank you. Thank you so very much for giving me your time. I trust you found it well spent!
March 24, 2015
The Secret to Growth Hacking
Recently I had the great privilege to travel and speak at the 3rd annual CMS Africa Summit. I was asked to deliver two keynotes and the second one focused on the idea of growing a community. The session title: Building Powerful Community Networks, was given to me by the event organizers but I believe it was quite insightful on their part.
Below are my slides from my session. While usually I offer a more extensive write-up to associate with a slideshare like this I believe these slides speak fairly well for themselves. I trust you’ll look through these slides and you’ll be able to easily see the message I shared.
I believe deeply in the power of communities and I love researching how to scale community growth. I hope you’ll enjoy glancing through this deck and exploring what I see is the secret to growth hacking.
February 23, 2015
Scaling Applications for Global Communities
Below is a transcript of the talk I gave recently in Oman at their Free and Open Source Software Conference (2015). If you want to watch the talk instead you can do so on YouTube starting at the 1:18:44 mark (Here is a direct link to my talk on scaling applications for global communities). Or if you prefer to download and read later, here’s a PDF version.
1. The Personal (about me)
I know you probably aren’t too terribly interested in hearing my entire life story so I’ll keep this short and sweet. As you may have seen, or read in your pamphlet, I am deeply involved in open source and several different projects. I spend an incredible amount of my time both creating code (I love to write code) and also telling others about open source code. I truly love speaking about open source and sharing the power of those communities with others.
Let me give you just a little bit more information about what I work on. I am extremely proud to share that I am the founder of an open source community for marketing automation, called Mautic. But I contribute to a number of other projects also. And one of those roles, in fact, the very first open source project I ever had the privilege of working in was Joomla, an open source content management system. I started my journey in Joomla just as a user and a developer (remember, I love to write code). But over time I became more involved with the community until today. Now I’m the community development manager for the project and am a frequent speaker, project evangelist for Joomla.
2. The Project (about Joomla)
This is without a doubt an incredible community. Joomla has been around since 2005. Fittingly enough Joomla and I share a birthday, August 17. Many of you probably know that Joomla was a fork from a previous open source project called Mambo. Since 2005 Joomla has continued to grow and expand and is now recognized as the second largest, and most downloaded CMS in the world. That’s pretty big news. It gets even more exciting. Joomla not only holds the second largest CMS market share but is the largest not for profit, community-driven CMS project. No other CMS platform has this type of honor.
So that’s a pretty nice introduction to Joomla, but maybe a few more specific examples will help to put the true size of the Joomla project into perspective. And you’ll see later how this all ties in together.
- Joomla is multi-lingual
- Joomla is accessible
- Joomla is convenient
Great ideas? Well Joomla is much more than just a few impressive statistics. The Joomla community focuses on an aspect much more important than just the lines of code. Something deeper. Joomla focuses on people. The individuals who make up the Joomla community. These unique and special people all play a vital role in the success of the project. Here are some numbers related to the growth of the Joomla community.
- Joomla has been downloaded over 60 million times
- Joomla has more than 2,000 forum posts every day
- Joomla has more language translations than any other CMS
Again these are some fine examples of the size and scale of the Joomla community. This also demonstrates the growth rate for the community. I mentioned that Joomla focuses on people. I want to return to that in a second. But before I do that I want to touch briefly on just a couple more areas related to the Joomla project.
These two areas are often the most difficult to bring up when sharing Joomla with others. It’s not always pretty. And it’s not always easy. But the truth is Joomla is just like any other community and any other project. It has struggles, it has problems, and it ultimately has successes. Let’s take a minute and look more closely at a few of the struggles which face the Joomla community. Perhaps you can relate to some of these.
Joomla has grown quickly and has struggled to maintain order. Obviously anytime you see the type of amazing growth that the Joomla community has seen you will have difficulty maintaining order and avoiding chaos. It’s almost inevitable you will find yourself struggling with keeping that easy-to-understand, easy-to-get-involved nature you often find in smaller communities. When projects scale to huge sizes the simple act of getting involved as a new volunteer can be an incredibly difficult task (and sometimes an impossible one). This struggle for order is even more of a potential failure when the project is completely and totally community driven. Without any single entity supporting the community, helping to make the tough decisions, and ultimately ensuring the project’s forward progress it can become difficult to avoid confusion and chaos. I’m not saying it’s impossible, Joomla has worked very hard to show that this is a possibility. What I am saying is that it can be difficult and it’s certainly a struggle.
Joomla has struggled with adapting to change. Just as you will find in many large and established companies (Think Microsoft). It can be a very difficult struggle to stay relevant and ensure your project doesn’t begin to just tread water. The minute you begin treading water is the minute you begin sinking. A project must maintain its vision for the future. A community must be driven to continue improving, innovating, adapting to change around it. When a community (or business) does not allow for change, it will ultimately die. If we consider Microsoft as an example then we can all relate to this sense of stagnation. What was once a booming technology company on the cutting edge of everything is now a behemoth trudging, plodding along through the daily chores of bug fixes and patch Tuesdays. Gone are the glory days of new release after new release. They spend millions (maybe even billions) of dollars in their research and development departments. They understand the power of innovation and the need to return to those monumental discoveries. Joomla must also be able to pivot, to make changes, to improve and adapt.
Those are a couple of the struggles the Joomla project faces. They are difficult to share but understanding and knowing your struggles is the first step in overcoming them. So I talk about them openly. I share them with you and I hope to share how we overcame them. It’s an ongoing, continual state of learning.
3. The People (about the community)
I mentioned the Joomla community and the focus that Joomla has on the individual volunteers, contributors, and people which make up the Joomla community. Let’s look now in a bit more depth at several facets of these individuals. This is the good stuff. If you only take one thing away from my talk today. Learn this. People matter. More than code, more than working groups, more than teams, more than documentation, more than anything – the people who are giving their time, who are giving their lives to the project: these people matter. That’s one of the most important things I’d like to share with you today. Relationships are important.
Let me tell you a little story. A Joomla story. This is the story of a person who is relatively quiet and shy, would never step outside their comfort zone and would never think about standing in front of a group of people to talk. In the beginning it started with a few small bug fixes. A pull request for improving a module. Nothing fantastic and certainly nothing ground breaking. In fact I’d dare to call them worthless fixes. But they weren’t worthless. Because they served as the beginning for something greater. These seemingly minor one or two line comment spelling corrections were just enough for this individual to stay committed to the project and continue keeping involved in the community. As time passed the encouragement from others in the community helped this person become more involved. Soon, at the bidding of his new friends within the Joomla community this individual applied for a leadership role. He was welcomed with open arms and continued his involvement soon he was spending a significant amount of his time each day devoted to the success of Joomla. He became more and more involved and was passionately committed to the community. All of this came from a few almost meaningless lines of code. Why? Because of the encouragement and support of others in the community. As you have probably guessed this is my Joomla story. This is how I came to my position in Joomla. If you hear nothing else from my story I hope you will hear this: Encouragement, support, and the relationships formed with others in the community are of utmost importance.
If we are to explore the complexities of scaling an application for a global user community then this should be our one guiding principle: People matter.
There are of course many aspects which can prove to be difficult when growing an application to global size. We will discuss a few of those and look at how Joomla has handled each. I refer to Joomla as our case study because as I have demonstrated above Joomla is a worthy and fitting case study for us to examine.
Let’s look at three different problems which must be overcome if you want to scale your community globally. First, languages can prove to be challenging. As you are aware even from my speaking here today there are times when languages can prove a difficult obstacle to overcome. As your community or application grows beyond the boundaries of your country or your specific language it will inevitably face this problem. Each new language, each new country where your application begins to be used introduces a new set for potential problems. Let me explain. When I say languages are a difficulty I am not referring merely to the words. Of course the words present the most obvious challenge, but in the world we live in today we are blessed to be able to translate our words.
Notice, I said translate our words because translating our words is not the same as translating their meaning. This is where the true problem lies. There are so many other aspects of language which must be considered. Things such as tone of voice, implied meaning, cultural differences, are just a few ways in which language barriers can prevent successful project growth. In order for your project to be a success you must consider all of these aspects. Take Joomla for example. Joomla has been incredibly successful in this regard. If you’re not aware let me share a statistic or two with you. The Joomla CMS currently has 58 different translations that’s a staggering number of languages. Each of those translations has a working group of individuals dedicated to keeping that language up-to-date with each new release of the software. But as I mentioned it’s more than just language strings or words. Joomla works very hard to ensure that implied meanings and cultural differences are also considered when working groups and individuals collaborate. Great care is taken to be considerate in all communications. This sounds trivial but is instrumental to the overall success of the project. Joomla has created a wonderful culture code document which outlines specifics for how the Joomla culture should be created and maintained. Languages are more than words.
I offer a second example from a much younger and newer community, Mautic. I have begun implementing exactly what I stand before you and share. Languages are an important pillar in the building of a global community. Within only 3 weeks of launching the beta for the Mautic open source product we have been able to see 5 complete language translations and a dozen more started. It’s exciting to witness and it shows to everyone that the Mautic community values each language and each country.
Here is your first lesson: If you want your application to be globally accepted, to scale to the size of a world-wide audience then you must consider the value of languages, both in word and in meaning.
Next we turn our attention to a second important problem that must be overcome when scaling globally. Timezones. It is often easy to forget in a daily routine of application development and product releases that there is an entire world of varying timezones. 2PM in one location is 2AM in another. I can tell you first hand speaking from my own experience in the United States it can sometimes be forgotten that not everyone is on the same relative time as I am. If you are interested in being able to grow your community, or your project, or your organization to a global size then you must remember and account for varying timezones. Let’s take another look at Joomla and how this community handles the timezone problem.
The Joomla leadership is comprised of three different teams working in harmony across the many aspects of the project. These teams are each consisting of individuals from around the world. Each team has dozens of different timezones. Joomla has used several different tactics but one in particular has proven to be useful and serve the community well. Joomla alternates the the schedule of leadership meetings. What does this look like? Joomla changes the meeting time when a leadership gathering is held. By doing so Joomla ensures that there is an equal opportunity for each person to meet in a timezone that is most convenient for them. (and everyone shares the same inconvenience) The timezone is an often overlooked important aspect of being able to scale an organization.
In the beginning this can be a difficult task. When your community is small this will be a challenge and will require dedication and attention. I share an example from Mautic. This community as I told you before is much younger and much smaller. As a result the initial community members must be more flexible and more dedicated with their time. When beginning to grow your community be prepared to spend significant amounts of time at all times of day and night. You may not sleep much! But if you are committed to seeing your community be successful you must be prepared to make the sacrifice.
The second lesson to learn: In order to increase the global availability of your community and project you should pay attention to the timezones of your contributors and volunteers. Make your community convenient.
We arrive now at our final problem you should seek to overcome as you grow a global product. I say final, but in reality there are many more problems you will face. The task of building and scaling an application is a constant and ongoing challenge. But we look in particular at three problems and this final one is related to accessibility. Just as you want your meetings (timezones) and your communication (languages) to be convenient you want also for your community to be accessible.
I’m quite pleased to share the success Joomla has seen related to being an accessible project. Don’t mistake me. One of the reasons why Joomla has been successful in regards to accessibility lies in the fact that it continues to focus on and constantly improve accessibility. This is not a one-time thing to be solved and then ignored. This is a key point. Joomla continues to focus on this aspect of its community and the software. Through the use of specialized formats, screen reader improvements, and special administrator templates designed specifically to be accessible Joomla shows its incredible attention to accessibility.
Here is the third lesson: To scale a global community requires focusing on every type of user and being a community whose people and whose code is accessible to everyone.
So we have covered three lessons to help scale an application for a global community. Dealing with languages, timezones, and accessibility. As your project and community grows you must focus on each of these areas if you want to overcome the complexities of a global community.
Let me quickly give you some practical steps for implementation. First, you must plan ahead. Don’t think only about what your code or your community looks like today. Look ahead at what it will become in the future. Plan for what will come in future days, weeks, months, or even years. Be prepared and be constantly ready to make changes when needed. Next, monitor everything. You will need to be vigilant as you watch your community grow. You must be monitoring your code to ensure it remains stable and can handle an increased load of traffic. You must be monitoring your community to ensure it continues to grow and that it is accessible, and convenient for new contributors to take part. Lastly you should take what you have planned, mix with what you have seen through your monitoring, and apply it to improving your community. You cannot simply observe and make plans without implementing them. You must be looking to constantly improve. Your code must adapt and grow as new opportunities arise. Your community must adapt and grow as you scale to larger size.
Let me close with this. There is no formula that guarantees you will be successful in scaling an application for a global community. It simply cannot be put into a specific step-by-step exact plan. Rather what I offer here are some important lessons that when put into practice will offer a strong path to lead towards a successful global project. I want to thank you again for this opportunity to share with you what Joomla has proven to be a successful strategy for scaling and what Mautic is also following in like manner. And I wish you each success as you seek to grow your communities and projects. If you have other questions or ideas feel free to reach out to me. I would be happy to answer any questions that I can and look forward to hearing what you are passionate about!
August 12, 2014
Let’s Be Legendary
Recently I spoke at JoomlaDay Chicago and delivered the closing keynote with the topic ‘Let’s Be Legendary’. I was hoping to inspire, motivate, and challenge first myself and also everyone else who had attended. I’ve embedded the slides below in case there are others interested. Obviously something is missing when it’s not heard but hopefully the concepts will still carry through.
Let’s Be Legendary
We looked at 5 individuals who we would all agree are legendary figures. Each displayed a particular trait which we then focused on and discussed.
Mother Theresa: Be Caring
Our first case study was Mother Theresa. One of her defining character qualities was the way in which she cared for others. The characteristic to be caring was clearly evident throughout her life. We also noticed she focused on a humanitarian approach to improving society.
Steve Jobs: Be Passionate
Our second case study was Steve Jobs. Of course this talk was given at a tech event so most everyone in the room would agree he is indeed a legendary figure. One of Steve’s most recognized character qualities was his passion. It’s quite easy to watch his talks and recognize the importance of being passionate. Steve Jobs was focused on using technology to improve society, or as he put it, “make a dent in the universe.”
Helen Keller: Be Consistent
This third case study was a bit trickier to recognize from the photograph instantly however the individual is immediately recognized by name. Helen Keller demonstrated an incredible level of consistency in her advocacy for disabled people. Helen spent her entire life devoted to this cause and consistently focused on helping the disabled and improving society.
Bill Gates: Be Generous
Our fourth case study returned to a familiar face with Bill Gates. One of Bill’s most well-known character qualities and the focus of our fourth legendary trait is his generosity. Bill has begun a foundation (The Gates Foundation) dedicated to serving and assisting the underprivileged in society. He’s shown incredibly generosity in the amount of wealth he has freely donated and generously given to others. He has focused on improving society by generously helping the underprivileged.
Jackie Robinson: Be Courageous
The last of our case studies which we focused on looked at the life and legendary qualities of Jackie Robinson. Jackie demonstrated incredible courage in the face of extreme conflict as he fought for equality in the world of baseball. He is well-known for breaking the color barrier on the baseball field. Jackie’s strong advocacy for minorities greatly helped improve society.
Of course there are other legendary figures and role models and certainly other aspects of these 5 individuals which served to make them legendary. We’re merely focusing on 5 aspects. The next thing we discussed was how we could apply these legendary qualities to ourselves. This is a bit more difficult because we feel quite small and helpless as a single individual sometimes and question whether we can truly do any good as one person.
“A life is not important except for the impact it has on other’s lives.”
– Jackie Robinson
But we determined there is value in starting small. We must (as they say) grow where we’re planted to a degree and use our small, local sphere of influence to do our part in our quest to be legendary.
As we saw demonstrated by several of the individuals above the idea of staying strong, being consistent, being courageous all speak to the importance of staying strong. If we stay strong we will continue to grow towards our goal of being legendary.
One thing we see along the way is that if we are starting small and attempting to stay strong there will of course be trials and obstacles and difficulties we will face. Each of the 5 individuals we studied faced hardships. The key is to savor the successes. The small victories along the way. Then we are able to stay encouraged, stay positive and stay motivated.
The last step in our path to being legendary is to serve society. Find a way in which we can benefit others. As we progress in our talk this becomes something of an interesting point. We should stop and revisit the 5 legendary individuals we looked at in-depth. All of them focused on this aspect. Every single one was in some way focused on improving society. Changing the world.
This led to a revelation….
Their goal was never to be legendary. Their goal was to change the world. To focus on a particular area where they could impact people which ultimately impacted the world. Suddenly it becomes clear that perhaps the focus of our talk should be different. Rather than the goal to “be legendary” perhaps something else is more important. Perhaps our focus should be shifted slightly.
Let’s be something else. Let’s be leaders. But not just any leaders, leadership can take a variety of forms. The type of leader that we looked at in our case study focused on a particular goal. Perhaps a better title for our talk today would be the following:
Let’s Be Leaders for Social Good.
June 8, 2014
Joomla: Your Next Investment
For those who were unable to attend J And Beyond this year in Königstein, Germany I have written a post in regards to the talk I delivered as the closing keynote. If you were unable to attend I hope you’ll take a moment to read the below talk and stop to think about where your time is being spent.
My topic focuses on looking forward. The focus for this year’s J And Beyond has been Investing in Our Future. A great slogan and I think one which has been well represented in these past three days. The concept of investing typically carries with it the idea of continuing to do so. Most investments are not something done once and only once. This means the very act of investing in our future should be continued. We simply can’t end this event, return to our various homes and businesses, and forget what we’ve learned and accomplished here. So, I’d like to help you keep thinking about investing and keeping this passion alive and the easiest way to do that will be with baby steps. I’d like to think with you about your next investment.
Learning from Paine.
I know, I know you’re immediately thinking I’ve typo’ed on my title. What a brilliant way to begin a topic. But it’s not a typo. It is, however, a play on words. Learning is hard, sometimes even painful. But in this instance I refer more to the idea of learning from history. Specifically an important figure in American history (and other countries as well). His name is Thomas Paine. Here’s a quick quote of his to get us started.
“Tis not in numbers but in unity that our great strength lies.”
– Common Sense 1776
There are so many great things I could say on that quote but I won’t get into it. Don’t tempt me – it’s a separate topic all together!
The Early Years
I’d like to take you on a brief trip back through the life of this incredible individual and explore a bit about some of the things he accomplished. Thomas was born in England in the early 1700s. And he really didn’t grow up in a wealthy family. His father worked as a corset maker and Thomas apprenticed with him for a good while. He was able to attend Thetford Grammar School and received some formal education then.
He began working at an early age and he has an incredibly diverse work experience and background. Need an example? After being a master corset maker he became a legalized pirate. Yep, that’s pretty much extreme opposites! Granted he wasn’t a pirate for long and soon returned to England to setup his own small business (as a corset maker). Along the way he also worked as a goods inspector, and then in time became a school teacher. He held a number of very different positions and had incredible business experiences along the way. He was very much a small business type of guy and you can easily see how he began dabbling in politics and government processes early on.
During this time he also married, and sadly, lost both wife and his first child during the birth. If any of you have families I’m sure you can understand the immense amount of heartache this would cause. Not only did he experience personal loss but during his various jobs along the way he experienced setbacks, hardships, and failures. He lost several jobs, went bankrupt in his business, and was even fired from several of his government jobs.
If we jump ahead to a bit later in his life we’ll see even more hardships and trials, even at his funeral only six people were present. He was controversial to say the least! Let’s look at some of the influences and the work he created.
Influences and Work
Thomas was extremely interested in politics and religion (I guess that explains why he may have been so controversial). He was influenced by a number of other powerful individuals including Voltaire, Benjamin Franklin, and John Locke. Each of these played an important role which can be seen in his writing and ideology.
Voltaire was a versatile writer, producing works in almost every literary form, including plays, poems, novels, essays, and historical and scientific works. He wrote more than 20,000 letters and more than 2,000 books and pamphlets. He was an outspoken advocate, despite the risk this placed him in under the strict censorship laws of the time.
Franklin was a leading author, printer, political theorist, politician, postmaster, scientist, inventor, civic activist, statesman, and diplomat. He outlined and practiced many practical values of thrift, hard work, education, community spirit, self-governing institutions, and opposition to authoritarianism both political and religious.
Locke was an English philosopher and physician regarded as one of the most influential ofEnlightenment thinkers and known as the “Father of Classical Liberalism”. Lock was quite important to social contract theory.
We can easily see how each of these men provided some influence on his thinking and writing. Next let’s look for a bit at some of the works created by Thomas.
First, He wrote a pamphlet entitled Common Sense which he published and immediately it took off with over 100,000 copies being sold within the first 3 months. This pamphlet covered very few new ideas but involved a very new means of political writing to make complex ideas easy to understand. This was his first well-known public work and was the best selling American title of the period.
The American Crisis
His second very well-known work was published shortly after the first. The American Crisis was a pamphlet series designed to inspire Americans in battle. This pamphlet however has done much more and provides a number of very moving statements and quotes which have been used by many throughout the years. Contrary to the title, much of what Thomas shared is applicable to all types of environments and times. I would like to draw one particular quote out as the theme for my talk and as the central theme for what we do here.
Our Central Theme
“What we obtain too cheap, we esteem too lightly:
it is dearness only that gives every thing its value.”
Let’s Talk Joomla
So, let’s talk Joomla. I mean that’s what we all love here anyway right? Right? Yes, we all love Joomla. We’re working together, we’re coming together as a whole. We’ve formed a community, a family around a common set of goals and ideals and a common vision. Let’s take a minute and review a brief timeline of what we’ve been able to accomplish.
We’ve seen the launch of a new idea, an innovative and ground-breaking CMS, roughly 2005. We’ve had successful launches with Joomla 1.5 released in 2008 and 2.5 released in 2011. We continued a trend of launching new ideas with our Joomla 3 series and in 2013 we successfully pushed Joomla 3.2 – and now here we are in 2014 with some really great ideas on the horizon.
Now as much as I’d like to stop and look ahead at what the future holds and what we are set to take on next. It’s exciting and I would love to share even more. Joomla is set to change the world. I must leave it at that. I really can’t go any further. So let’s return and look at some numbers (yah, numbers!)
47,320, that’s a whole lot of days (or maybe it was mostly nights). Let’s look for some smaller numbers, smaller is always easier to understand. Here’s one 6,760. That’s a bit smaller but that’s still a lot of weeks and a big number to understand. So let’s go smaller, 1,560. Ok now were’ getting some where, 1,560 is a small enough number most can easily relate it to something else, but if I say months it again becomes a hard number to quantify. So we’ll go one more. 130. Read that again, 130. That’s years. 130 years, that time period is older than most people reading this. (Yes, I admit I’m assuming on a few of you.)
130 years is a long time. But that’s how much time the popular site Ohloh suggests would be required to recreate the Joomla CMS. Based on lines of code, and a variety of other factors they have come to the conclusion it would require 130 man-years to create what has been done. You know what that says to me? It says a lot of time has been spent on Joomla.
A significant amount of time has been spent by voluntary, passionate contributors to this community and to the mission and vision we hold so dear. But I wonder – is this really time spent? or is it something else. I would suggest this is not time spent but rather time invested. Yes, we have invested our time and our energy into this community and into this project. We hold Joomla very close to our hearts and very dear to us.
Obtained Too Cheap?
What does this mean? If we return to the quote we’re focusing on I’d like to ask a question. Has Joomla been obtained too cheap? Based on the numbers, the figures, we’ve just reviewed, understanding the heart and soul of this community which we have all dedicated such tremendous time to and so many of us hold incredibly close to our hearts. There can be no other answer. Absolutely not.
We hold Joomla in the highest esteem. We believe in our community, in each other, in the purpose and goals and vision of this family. We do not esteem Joomla lightly because we have not obtained it cheaply. And more than just esteem, we hold Joomla dear to us. We love Joomla and we believe in Joomla. And as a result of that immense belief Joomla is given value. Incredible value. Dare I say value beyond measure? The value is tremendous.
What Does This Mean For You?
So what does this mean for you. Well, let me go quickly through the points we’ve discussed. You would agree Joomla is valuable, it’s held dear by a global community, an incredibly large family and clearly it has been given value. Secondly you agree Joomla is esteemed. Joomla has not been obtained cheaply. 130 years of effort given freely to this vision, that time is not cheap and as a result Joomla is esteemed highly. Thirdly, I think you could agree easily that Joomla has shown its stability through the many successful years it has existed and improved. Now I’m not saying it’s perfect, there’s always room for improvement. But we’ve seen many things come and go in the time that Joomla has continued to endure and grow.
Three Proven Facts
Those are three easy points we can all agree on. So here’s why this matters to you. Joomla is a good investment. Everyone is always looking for a good investment. We all want to invest our time, our talents, our resources in a “sure thing”. I believe we’ve seen Joomla to be a pretty sure thing. A great investment and a wonderful opportunity to do what so many others have already done. Invest in something bigger than themselves. Invest in something worthwhile and worth your time.
So – how is your time spent currently? Here’s a few possibilities. Television, internet, sports, family, parties, work, sleeping, eating, and vacations. Now some of these are very valid uses of your time. They are investments not expenses. But perhaps others are expenses. Which of these could you do less of? What can you do to invest in something bigger than yourself?
I’ve spoken and shared dozens of times (maybe even more) about ways to be involved in Joomla. I won’t attempt to tell you what your next investment should be specifically other than one important point.
You absolutely, positively, 100% should make your next investment Joomla.
May 18, 2014
Joomla Framework Talk
If you find yourself wondering what the Joomla! Framework is or how to use it. This talk I gave in Prague several months ago offers some of the history of how the Joomla Framework came to exist.
I give talks on the Joomla Framework frequently at a variety of events and venus around the world, so you can look through my other talks and find other sessions on the topic of the Joomla Framework with a very different focus. There are an endless number of possibilities of things you can create with the Joomla Framework.
JoomlaDay Prague 2014
Slides from the talk
This is a talk I gave recently at OpenWest in Utah as part of their PHP track.
Below are the slides for the talk. When the video is posted I will link to that as well. I realize the slides lack some of the information shared in person.
Please note: I am not choosing sides in the battle over which is a better design pattern. :)
February 22, 2014
The World Needs Open Source
This is a presentation I gave at CMS Africa Summit in Nairobi, Kenya. The crowd was incredible from countries all across Africa. The vibe was excited and everyone eager to be involved. Obviously, the world needs open source!
February 22, 2014
Get Rich Quick With Joomla!
This is a talk I gave recently at a JoomlaDay in Boston, Massachusetts. I think it is important to view the entire presentation before making any judgements!
Get Rich Quick Slides
March 15, 2013
Targeting Mobile Devices
This keynote was given in Nairobi, Kenya at a JoomlaDay event. The focus of the discussion was how to best plan and execute a mobile friendly website. Building a mobile friendly website and application is critical in today’s world.