Refocusing on the Important Things: Drupalcon and the Nonprofit Technology Conference

I attended both Drupalcon and the Nonprofit Tech Conference this year. They were on the same week, so I started the week at Drupalcon then caught the tail end of NTC.  I often come into conferences with my head down, working hard on tough problems, so it’s great to have a chance lift my head up and be reinvigorated.

I started the week at the Pantheon Partner Day in Nashville – part of Drupalcon. It’s clear that Pantheon (a leading hosting platform for Drupal and WordPress websites) sees agency partners as key to their success and are investing heavily in us. My key takeaway here was to increase our focus on meeting the needs of the marketing and communication departments in the larger organizations we serve.

I was also reminded of another important part of a project process: Define ways to measure a project’s success early on. This is an often overlooked step that is related to another process point that’s easy to forget: When we begin a project, we need to first discover what problems our clients really need to solve (which is not always what they initially ask for), find the relative value of that, and only then craft a solution to fit that problem.

The rest of Drupalcon was, as usual, amazing. An awesome trend in recent DrupalCons is that there are more and more session tracks — fifteen this year. Regardless of whether you are a marketer, a back-end coder, a designer, or an agency owner, there’s something for you. I thrive in this environment of cross-pollination, so it was great to jump around between completely unrelated sessions.

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After a few days at Drupalcon, I made my way over to New Orleans for NTC.  I co-delivered a talk on how to make an existing website multilingual with Barbara Tobias from the American Federation of Teachers, a long time client of Advomatic. We worked hard to make this year’s sessions very interactive — we had games, discussions, and a quiz, which resulted in a lot of energy in the room.  

And of course it was also great to see people in real life.  Video conferencing, which we do a lot of, is useful, but I really needed some face time.  I’ve got to give my coworkers and clients some hugs, and have a good conversation over a delicious meal.

I’m already looking forward to next year. And thankfully, the two conferences will be on separate weeks:  DrupalCon 2019 will be in Seattle in April, and NTC 2019 will be in Portland in March.