Drupal Work Collectives
Agaric proposes the creation of a new kind of workplace, essentially a Drupal commune, but really more like an open source free software idea & brainstorming commune, kind of along the same lines as an artist's or writer's colony.
Imagine a network of state-of-the-art green living spaces spread across the planet in the most beautiful locations that mother nature has to offer. Places filled with the best and the brightest drupalistas living and playing and growing together, and together developing Drupal and the various technologies that help it work. As an open source community, Drupal already possesses many of the cooperative qualities that would make this sort of commune possible. Just think of any Drupal meetup you've attended in the past. Some show up to demo their latest work, others to ask for help, others to give help... What if we had spaces where this sort of thing was constantly happening?
The Drupal commune would be open to whomever wanted to come join in for a period of time and help advance the cause. Every member of the community would provide a special skillset to the team, be it coding, theming, graphic design or documentation. Some people could be permanent residents at such places and others could come and go based on work available and projects being worked on. Of course at first, we think it would have to start as more of a couch-surfing type thing. People who have the space can offer it up, recruit and house a few drupalistas for the duration of a project, like contributed work, or payed client work. From there, teams could assemble all around the world, do the necessary work, and do it better than they could alone, all while being able to enjoy and explore the world. Then disband, these communes or colonies don't have to be permanent, although that is the eventual goal.
- The individual contributor gets a combination code sprint and couch surf experience.
- Drupal gets fantastic functionality or process improvements made in ideal productive circumstances.
- And everyone gets satisfaction of making something awesome and worthwhile, in community, while getting to see and explore planet Earth and do fun stuff.
This idea is nothing new and has recently been advocated by the brilliant physicist and surfer Garret Lisi. In his own words he says these places... "would essentially be large houses in beautiful locations where theorists could live and work." Citing his own experience living in Maui and the mountains of Tahoe and Colorado, Lisi says that for theoretical research it is good to have opportunities for hiking and things to do outside in attractive environments. Describing the idea more formally, Lisi says:
The physical requirements for conducting scholarly research have changed dramatically with the rise of the internet. It is now viable for researchers with laptop computers to work autonomously -- with access to current articles and communication channels on par with the resources available at large universities. These new circumstances motivate the creation of a new kind of research enterprise: a Science Hostel. By providing places to live and work with other researchers, in beautiful locations, a Science Hostel could increase creative productivity and overall quality of life for scholars in the internet age.
We believe the Drupal world currently developing before our eyes is especially well poised to embrace such an idea. We are a growing community of able, intelligent, free thinking, and like minded people. We all think Drupal has a lot to offer people, and we've all been making a living developing with Drupal, and we also all our own personalities and hobbies outside of work. We see a lot of people in this world showing up to "just a day job" or a "9 to 5". We don't like seeing Drupal applied to this model. We believe that satisfying work comes from truly embracing what you do and doing it to it's fullest. So it's not just your day job, but your lifestyle, something that is an essential part of your being. When focused on certain subjects with such passion, originality and creativity can flourish, sparks happen. Our proposition is that we really pursue this idea of combining our work lives with our personal ones, evolving things into a lifestyle of the future.
These communities could also include people who are interested in sustainable living, and/or off-the-grid living and promote these ideas as well. So not just Drupalers, but there could be specialists doing other things like growing food with aquaponics, creating mesh wireless networks, or harnessing solar and wind energy. Proving that people can create and shape their universe when they come together and cooperate.
The way we see it, this thing would be community managed and totally open, the way Drupal has always been, except now we'd really be starting to shape the material world using Drupal, creating a free culture. There are a lot of folks who are tirelessly spending nights and weekends coding masterpieces like CCK and Views and giving us the power to feed and clothe ourselves. We love seeing this happen, we love thinking about it. A person driven to create is a beautiful thing. We want to see more community forming around this stuff. Why should development be done in cooped up cubicle type spaces? Why have we let so many convince us that our time is best spent, and we are most useful and productive in offices and sitting in traffic? Would things evolve more organically, and would Drupal advance exponentially with the future of humanity if places like this existed? They don't even need to be permanent, we could organize and create them for certain collaborative projects and disband after the work is done and has been contributed back to the community.
There is a lot more that can be written about this, and all the details still need to be worked out. But we're confident that the community could organize enough to essentially allow for these "corporate retreats on acid" or "software development communes" to happen. Drupalistas could apply for internship type positions and get voted in, most likely through the Drupal Association or similar organizations. Teams of independent contractors could come together, share projects, split up the work, and live the good life. We could become the renaissance men and women of the future and break free of all the old, tired, hierarchical, institutionalized ways of being productive that have been shoved down our throats in the past. We can create community, developing our ideas, doing the work we love to do, and seeing and shaping the world into something better during our time here.
Sure it's not for everybody, but we have a feeling their might be other Drupal nomads out there...