Meet the creator of the world's best open source system and exchange ideas with him and thousands of other enthusiasts - that's what DrupalCon offers us every year. This time, the major gathering of Drupal experts took place just a stone's throw away, in Lille. So we took 22 colleagues (out of 29) along for an extraordinary experience! More than just a convention, DrupalCon is a unique opportunity to enhance our knowledge and expertise and contribute to a more efficient and secure open web.
For safer, more efficient open-source solutions
We'd always said to ourselves: as soon as the opportunity arose, we'd take as many of our colleagues as possible to a DrupalCon. Because we knew that the experience is inspiring, exciting and motivating.
It's inspiring because we come to hear the creator of Drupal, Dries Buytaert, share his vision, as well as hundreds of CEOs, experts, partners and sometimes customers who use Drupal on a daily basis.
Exciting, because we get to meet people from different entrepreneurial backgrounds, working together for a common cause in an atmosphere of total non-competition.
Motivating because we can, each in our own way, make a real contribution to improving the open web, by making it safer, fairer and more inclusive.
The icing on the cake: WebstanZ was once again selected to host its own session! After being spectators for 10 years, we were the speakers for the third year running!
A fair return
We experienced our first DrupalCon in Amsterdam in 2014. The experience left such a lasting impression on us that we were eagerly awaiting the opportunity to share it with as many of our colleagues as possible.
Indeed, year after year, DrupalCon after DrupalCon, back in our offices, it was always the same observation: it's hard to bring back and convey the enthusiasm or benevolence that drives the event throughout the week. You really have to be there to understand it.
We wanted the team to be motivated and inspired by the meetings, trends and challenges ahead... And all that positive energy!
Make the team aware that everyone has an active role to play and the ability to improve Drupal and open source. Because taking part in a DrupalCon isn't just about being a spectator, it's also about enriching oneself through exchanges and the new knowledge acquired, which can then be put to good use for the community.
WebstanZ also contributed by leading a session on collective intelligence tools, all those techniques that help us communicate better, get to know each other better and grow together. It was a very enriching moment, with interesting exchanges.
Mutually supporting each other
"I've experienced professional contexts where severe competition was the norm. I'm amazed at how open source, on the other hand, has the ability to bring together players present in the same markets", explains Martin, our colleague attending his second DrupalCon.
The image we have of web and tech companies is often distorted. However, we're not all CEO's ready to steal other people's ideas to boost our sales!
DrupalCon is the exact opposite of this misconception. Their sole aim is to improve Drupal and create connections between the companies that use it. They have taught us an enormous amount and pushed us to build our ideal. WebstanZ wouldn't exist, or would be radically different, without Drupal and the Drupalcons that keep the system evolving.
In fact, it's not uncommon for the exchange sessions to help solve an agency's particular problem, with all participants brainstorming and coming up with solutions. It's also not uncommon for CEOs to share best practices and help each other tackle similar challenges, or to analyze market trends together and compare visions.
And then there's the incredible energy that comes from meeting thousands of enthusiasts who all want to make things better! For all web users, but also for our customers, because, by extension, a more secure open web also means that Drupal is constantly improving...
Come back energized
For the team, and for us as regulars, it was fantastic once again. Going to the Grand Palais in Lille as a - large - group and exchanging ideas between passionate people united around a common goal bigger than ourselves, is always incredible.
We know what it's like at some conventions and symposiums, where the only motivation for participants is to sign in, and where people are all pretty much in the same position. Here, it's the exact opposite.
We met web agencies of all sizes, experienced developers, enthusiastic beginners and open web enthusiasts. Just like us.
Like Gwen, who was attending her fifth DrupalCon, we were impressed by the commitment of the contributors. Did you know that some web agencies devote 20% (!) of their time to open source and Drupal?
Because a safer, more efficient open web goes beyond wanting to improve our solutions for our respective customers (although that's important!). It's about having a real societal impact on businesses, making them more sustainable and prosperous.
As for Ryan, our junior developer who attended his first DrupalCon, he was amazed by the kindness and sharing that prevailed. He is now determined to strengthen his role as a contributor.
We'd like to conclude with Martin's sentiment, because we all share it. "I'm proud to be part of WebstanZ and this community. I'm proud to contribute to the development of Drupal with my teammates. I'm proud to think that we're helping to build a fairer, more inclusive and more secure Open Web."
A bit too much? Come on, let's try and find a few things to improve: The number of beers offered by WebstanZ to Belgian night participants, perhaps? We'll do even better next time 😀 ?
In the meantime, we look forward to seeing you at the next DrupalCon, to be held in Barcelona from September 24 to 27, 2024, info already available here.
Thank you to the organizers, who every year go out of their way to provide us with exceptional moments, in a setting conducive to exchange and reflection, we're all looking forward to seeing you again in Barcelona!