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Drupal Business Panel with Ron Huber, Jenn Sramek, Matt Cheney, and Chris Bryant

Chris Bryant of Gravitek
Matt Cheney of Chapter Three
Jenn Sramek of Civic Actions
moderated by Ron Huber of Achieve Internet

[shops i consider role models]
i don't have them listed or ranked

most people were in the last presentation

in my opinion most [Drupal shops] are about the same size, under 40.

Ch3 = 27

Civic Actions - 37-40

Chris Bryant
gravitek - 10

Civic Actions clientele all non-profit

Hard to go from 5-6 to bigger than that. You need roles etc.

You need a few talented people first, who really care about what they're doing, love the technology, spending their time when they're not working keeping up with the cool new, javascript etc.

Better off finding people who are already active on

How do you recruit today?
Two things: one, we work with nonprofits

[me- that's how they got bangpound, catch (now with Tag1)]

time in the 6 years since Civic Actions started - there was a dip, lack of available talent

Project management is important
It's what i did
i did library science 
my apartment is pretty much spotless

Anja: are you constantly demo-ing?
yes. Agile.

Ron Huber
some clients insist on talking to the developer
realize what we should have done
let Stephanie do the work from behind the scenes

if you don't have solid project management from your team, it's never going to work.

one of the things that got us to scale was project mangement
i was one of the first project managers
how on earth do you get anything done?
not as boss of the team, but as facilitator

Project manager
also another role of client relationship

keep 'em away from developers so they can concentrate…

We spent a lot of time being friends with our clients. Socializing, not necessarily doing specifications. Now we do requirement sheets, the design sheet we have every developer

Ron Huber

all the successful drupal shops, it runs back to community. that's the number one marketing piece.

It's borderline unethical if you're not giving anything back
if i'm a person looking for a Drupal firm, i'm going to look at their portfolios, and i'm going to look at their community involvement


may not have computer at work

there's not meetups like this

Rob runs the Latin American Drupal association

go to India

lot of people going to Australia in the next couple months

Chris: I think what Ben's saying is right

(and i'm writing a book squarely targeted at teaching people how to be involved)

Picking a market niche

Ben from Volacci always uses the example of bankruptcy lawyers

Civic Actions founded to accelerate the pace of progressive change
our niche is empowering people

if we're all after human rights, why are we competing

our niche
i got into Drupal, was running a design company
our designer was extremely talented, he'd do some crazy stuff, and we'd go-- how will we make this in Drupal? So our niche was excellent theming, now we've broadened

How do you set price?

it's not that different
we set our rates based on what we have to pay people, and what our margin should be
we had more of a profit margin when people were new
people want to feel they're not working for the man

Price is a big issue
most of our clients come with a mindset that they will pay $2K, $3K - and then they want it to be scalable, have mobile

most important thing about price is to establish trust with your client
"how much money do you want to spend?"

a lot of people are pretty coy about this
that sets up bad expectations

if you have $10K, we can still get you a good web site, but let's set priorities and judgements

give visibility and transparency to features
then start to prioritize, maybe you can wait on mobile?

How much money do they want to spend?
What features make sense for them?
What [needs to be done first]?

Value for money
if a client can't see your value, you either have to be able to explain it to them or

the most inefficient loss leader in the Drupal world

Open Atrium, Open Publish
not recuperable
I think you build products because this is where Drupal is going

worked on an installation profile for online journals, being used at stanford

NASA hired us to build conference organizing
intel hired GVS to do it

for a small company, don't have time

Phase2 - 3 full-time engineers to support open publish

Development Seed goes finds the client, talk them into that feature

me: we need to be building on each other's distributions

when companies look at Drupal, and we want to

The client in the room:
I know it's tough to educate clients
a little education goes a long way
the attitude we get in the RFP process is really off-putting

goes a long way, coddle a little bit

How many of the people
If they were really nice and made me chocolates

We do talk to other folk in our sectors

Zack Rosen and i run a bicycle company called
buying a bicycle, one of ours, is a lot like ordering a web site
people ordering this may not understand all the technical details
and the best thing that i've learned, is show by example

Anja - backend PHP

Matt: I have a degree in Christian Theology, Philosophy,
Koenig theater
and my other business partner dropped out of school to try to overthrow the government

encourage more women developers
it's a very thin field

Be involved in the community.

My biggest fear is Drupal will be swarmed on by people in suits, and suck dry the energy of this community, and the community will die

i think it's extremely involved

i am 100% accidental capitalist
but it's important for people to build business structures that let people

otherwise the giant consultancies will destroy Drupal
need vibrant ecosystem of camps

Civic Actions put their stuff on their blog

run a solid business, for your clients


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