[consulting] Open-Source VS. Business (advice on setting up a Drupal community)

Boris Mann boris at bryght.com
Tue Feb 28 12:25:44 UTC 2006

On 28-Feb-06, at 2:05 AM, Vince Do wrote:

> It was difficult to find a proper title for this message and I'm  
> not sure I
> succeeded. Please read on to find out what I mean (or go to the  
> the end :)).

In my opinion, this was a great thing to send to this list, and a  
great discussion to have here. Thanks for posting, and welcome. We  
are evolving this space into a mix of community and business issues,  
with occasional veering into development topics that we try and kick  
over to the Dev list as long as it doesn't intersect with the first  
two. Or something :P

> At the moment, the French-speaking Drupal community is split  
> between 2 major
> websites:
> - http://drupalfrancais.zapto.org/ which only deals with the French
> translation of Drupal.
> - http://drupal-france.lxs-cms.com/ which is an attempt to create a
> French-speaking community around Drupal (much like drupal.org). I  
> use the
> word "attempt" only because the site is quite new and it's the work of
> mainly one person at the moment (as opposed to a whole community).

Thanks for the summary. I wasn't aware of the difference.

> - How do you combine (free) participation in the Drupal community  
> and the
> need to make a living? Participating in the community (and all the  
> more so,
> setting up one) seems like a full-time job that leaves little time for
> business, doesn't it?

It's a balancing act.

> If the ultimate goal is to do business,
> why not go straight to the point and build drupalfrance.COM - a  
> company
> selling Drupal services - instead of a community? I could still  
> contribute
> to Drupal whenever I have time or feel like it.

Trademark work is ongoing. I would recommend not including Drupal in  
the name of your company. Brand yourself, and highlight the fact that  
you provide Drupal services. Clients in many ways don't care -- some  
do who are looking for specific Drupal expertise, but to others, the  
platform choices that you make will just confuse them.

> - Isn't it bad practice to start a "competing" community when one  
> already
> exists? I could join one of the existing French Drupal websites  
> instead of
> creating mine, but none of them embodies the "vision" I have for a  
> Drupal
> community. (Note that I have contacted these 2 websites to explain my
> intentions and wave a white flag :).)

Yes, it is bad practice. It would be better for you to join one of  
the existing ones and evangelize your vision. Further splintering  
does no one any good. You need to prove yourself and build up some  
community credibility in order to more easily enact change.

> I hope you won't think I'm obsessed with money. I've just started a  
> business
> (that builds websites), it's my only income and I need to make it
> profitable. (And I want to build it on top of Drupal.)

Work on your business website as well. Blogging there as well as  
participating in the community will meet both your goals, I believe.

> In a nutshell: should I pick the .org way or the .com way? Why do  
> you start
> a community? Can involvement in open-source translate into business?

Yes, involvement in open-source translates into business. Community  
involvement has excellent ROI (return on investment). What I would do  
is, as I said earlier, join one of the existing communities and work  
towards some concrete goals (e.g. merge the communities into, e.g.,  
drupal.fr and ask Drupal.org to host the infrastructure).

Boris Mann
Vancouver 778-896-2747 San Francisco 415-367-3595
SKYPE borismann

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