What can the WordPress community learn from the State of Drupal (2015)?

Last year I wrote a post about what the WordPress community could learn from the State of Drupal, Dries’ annual address at DrupalCon (aka the Driesnote, carrying a similar importance as Matt’s State of the Word in the WordPress community). It’s time for a 2015 update.

tl,dr; version

What can the WordPress community learn from the state of Drupal?

  • The Drupal Association, which organizes DrupalCon and promotes Drupal adoption via marketing and developer outreach – offers a model for the potential evolution of the WordPress Foundation
  • Outreach is critical. We can’t just speak to the WordPress community but need to reach out to potential users/customers and sell the benefits of the platform in a language they understand
  • A willingness to experiment – with fundraising approaches, with the hiring of paid teams to supplement the open source core project (Mark Boulton design’s work on Drupal 7 for example) – has helped the Drupal community move forward. This doesn’t mean all those experiments would work for WordPress, but we should be open to new approaches
  • The potential for organizational and client attribution on contributions is an interesting idea for rewarding companies who give back – though with caution about unintended consequences in terms of motivation
  • There are benefits to the epochal release cycle from a marketing point of view – differentiating the old platform from the new. I don’t think WordPress should change to a four year re-architected platform cycle, but we should be doing a better job of articulating the more complex platform WordPress is today

The Driesnote

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Is there a single WordPress community, or a single Drupal community?

(Photo credit: Schipulcon 2011 Day 2 Photos under CC Attribution Share-Alike license)

Two recent posts got me thinking about the Drupal community and the WordPress community.

First, Mendel Kurland (whom I’ve been seeing at every WordCamp lately from London to Maine to Minneapolis) wrote on WP Tavern about “A WordPress Veteran’s Take on DrupalCon LA“:

As I flew from DrupalCon Los Angeles, CA to WordCamp Maine, I thought a lot about what the Drupal and WordPress communities could learn from each other. WordPress and Drupal are two community-built platforms and each community is powerful. We stand to learn a lot from each other, because all open source projects matter.

It’s an experience I’ve had many times, having spent much of the last 7-8 years in both communities. (I attended DrupalCon each year from Boston in 2008 through Portland in 2013, and spoke at a number of DrupalCamps throughout the Northeast, while also organizing WordCamp Boston and speaking at WordCamps all over the US).

I used to joke about wearing my WordPress hoodie to DrupalCamps, and my DrupalCamp shirts to WordPress events – but the reality was, in my experience, there was very little overlap in attendees. At Drupal events, people would joke about WordPress as being “fine, for a blog,” implying or sometimes stating outright it wasn’t powerful enough for “real” web needs. At WordPress events, people would joke about Drupal being big and expensive, and fine if you had a team of twelve developers and 6 months or more to throw at a site build.

In reality, the thing which stood out the most to me was how little the members of each community actually knew about the other – as communities or as software projects. (I also spent time in the Sitecore community – where the gap is even greater. At open source events it is common to hear “no one really uses .NET anymore” but at .NET events it is common to hear “businesses don’t really use open source.” Both, of course, are demonstrably false).

The second recent post that spurred me to write was when Dries Buytaert covered the acquisition of WooCommerce by Automattic, concluding:

To me, this further accentuates the division of the CMS market with WordPress dominating the small business segment and Drupal further solidifying its position with larger organizations with more complex requirements. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next few years will bring for the open source commerce world, and I’d love to hear your opinion in the comments.

In some ways Dries’ take on the acquisition actually mirrors my own. The acquisition of Woo by Automattic will improve the ability of WordPress as a platform (and at some point one assumes WordPress.com as a service) to compete with Squarespace, Wix, and Shopify at the level needed by consumers, prosumers, and small businesses. (I also agree with Brian’s coverage at PostStatus – ultimately some of the WordPress.com VIP customers will want ecommerce).

On the other hand, though, I can’t help but see Dries’ post as a not-so-veiled message I’ve been hearing for years in the Drupal community: WordPress is for small businesses, Drupal is for enterprises.
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WordCamp London

Excited to head to the UK later this week for WordCamp London.  There’s a contributor day on Friday March 19th, plus two full days of sessions on the 20th and 21st (and of course an afterparty Saturday night).

The whole schedule looks great, but I’m especially looking forward to:



  • Think Big, Grow Fast. Breaking Into The Enterprise Market (Fabio Torlini)
  • User Experience in WordPress (Sara Cannon)
  • Hiring Employee Number One: From Freelancer to Agency (Brad Williams)
  • How We Built a Market-Leading WordPress Agency; And Why We Walked Away (Simon Dickson)

I’ll be interested to see how Fabio Torlini’s talk overlaps with / compares to the talk I recently gave at Prestige in Las Vegas on the Enterprise Disconnect in the WordPress community.

Will you be there as well? Please do say hello.

We do expect to continue to grow 10up’s presence in the EU and in the UK in particular, so let me know if you’d be interested in talking to us about joining the team.

WP and Legal Stuff Blog

(Via WP Tavern)

Folks interested in WordPress and Open Source licensing should really start following  WP and Legal Stuff, a new blog from Richard Best, a “dual qualified” lawyer (New Zealand, England & Wales) focused on “IP/IT/technology law and public law.”

Happy to see a number of really excellent posts already on the site, including:

Best does a great job summarizing complex legal matters and debates and providing what (to me at least) feels like a reasonable summary.  Of course, as his disclaimer tells us:

The material on this site is for general informational purposes only. It does not take into account your specific requirements or circumstances, does not constitute legal or other advice to you or anyone else and you rely on it at your own risk.


The Dirt on Open Source Licensing

I’m a big fan of podcasts, and listen to a wide variety of them regularly. So much so that it isn’t uncommon for me to have a couple months worth of backlog sitting on my phone and iPad (synced via PocketCasts) waiting to be listened to.

So it was only this morning that I listened to an episode of The Dirt from back in December 2014: Open Source pt. 2: Licensing Matters with Gabe Levine.  This was the 2nd in a (so far) three part series on Open Source from a podcast I usually really enjoy, put out by an agency (Fresh Tilled Soil) for whom I have tremendous respect. It was on a topic (open source licenses) about which I think most web designers, front-end developers, and web developers need significantly better education and understanding. It included as a guest a lawyer (Gabe Levine) whose twitter bio describes him as a “New Media Lawyer Extraordinaire” and who was described by The Dirt post as a “super lawyer.”

That’s why I was so disappointed.

Beyond muttering to myself on my morning walk, I just have to respond to some of the major issues I had with the podcast. (No comments allowed on the blog where the podcast is posted, so I’ll write here and tweet to the podcast).

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