Archive for July, 2009

Making friends, finding talent

ryan_rodrigo_fislAs I’ve said before, one of the greatest things about attending all these conferences is meeting people from all different backgrounds and hearing how their story of why they are in the technology field. Often, those with the most energy and enthusiasm for what they do is the young talent – those are who new to the arena or at least got started within the last few years.

An example of someone who fits this description who really wowed me recently is Rodrigo S. Spillere, a young developer I met at the FISL 10 conference in Porto Alegre, Brazil, earlier this summer. There are times when you meet a young person, and you can see their raw talent ready to rock. Rodrigo is one of those guys.  He’s graduating from a university, and aside from me, he gave the only other Joomla presentation at FISL 10.  He did an amazing job, and he focused on a tool he created for taking UML diagrams and having it build out a full Joomla component.  Additionally, he’s been working on some YouTube integration with Joomla that I think is pretty darn slick!

Fórum Internacional de Software LivreIn addition to the immense knowledge and creativity Rodrigo possesses, I was just really impressed with his overall presentation and attitude. He was completely professional, exuded a great positive energy, and was a blast to have a beer with, too – my kind of guy! Thanks, Rodrigo – you made my trip to Brazil that much more enjoyable – I hope we meet again!


Digital Storytelling and Community Outreach

I attended my first Community Technology and Digital Opportunity Meetup in San Francisco on July 20th and left feeling inspired about the potential of using digital media to express the realities, triumphs and work of my clients.

The purpose of this meetup is to share the work of various nonprofits around the Bay Area who provide technology access and programming to the local community through either computer labs or innovative digital literacy curricula. The week’s topic “Bayview Hunter’s Point Center for Art and Technology and Digital Storytelling!” was hosted by the titled organization, BAYCAT, and also featured a presentation by Jen Nowicki from Creative Narrations.

Jen first defined what digital storytelling is: it’s a vignette told in the first person and made up of personal images and text in a video format. Her organization helps nonprofits and education institutions empower their constituents’ voices by training them to develop their own digital story. From what I saw, their process is focused, impacting and cathartic for many of the individuals they serve. They teach the elements of how to tell a story and move their students through four stages of developing their work: Preparation, Production, Publishing and Promotion. The final stage is important to the recognition and ownership of the work, and helps ensure that the community hears the story. For resources on how to create your own digital story, you can go to Stories for Change.

Here is one of the highlighted videos: Boston YWCA:

BAYCAT is an organization that educates the underserved communities of Bayview and Hunter’s Point on various media production techniques, and then employs some of their graduates to fulfill corporate and other nonprofit media needs. This cycle from student to professional creates an incredible incentive for the students and their families to continue supporting their talents. Many of the production pieces serve as public service messages to the student’s community, so they become change agents against drugs and violence.

Here is a very creative and funny one done by a teenager:

I would love to see some of my clients start to utilize these resources. I know that the web development process is quite an undertaking in itself, but starting to incorporate video to tell stories would be a great 6 month follow up to keep web content fresh. It would also be a great case for strategic partnerships among nonprofits.


A Very Merry Unconference: Community Leadership Summit

In my last post, I pointed out how crazy summertime can get with all the events to attend in the nonprofit technology field. To continue that chapter, I wanted to share my experiences from the Community Leadership Summit 2009, also held in San Jose, Cali., in mid-July.

The goals of this “unconference” as they call themselves on their website, are to Advance, Build and Connect. It was the first conference that brought together open source community managers to discuss the success and challenges of managing open source projects.  The audience was mostly community managers, and attendees ran the gamut from OpenID and Sun Microsystems to Gnome and Stanford University.

Leaders from most of the biggest open source projects, including Joomla, Mozilla, Linux, Drupal, and others were present.  I was there as a Open Source Matters board of directors member and leader in the Joomla community, accompanied by Elin Waring, President of Open Source Matters, whom I would work with again at OSCON a week later.

Below is a video someone captured of me speaking about the unconference, lessons learned in organizational management and leadership, and my thoughts on some of the stories and ideas participants were sharing.


Taking it all in at OSCON 2009

The summer is abound with conferences and conventions in the nonprofit technology field. There are the big names like NTEN, Netroots Nation, and South by Southwest, and then there are some of the more technical-focused ones that we PICnetters attend.

In May, I wrote about the CMS Brasil Conference, which was a great opportunity to spread the word about Joomla. This past week, I attended the Open Source Convention in San Jose, Calif., where anyone and everyone in open source software (more than 3,000 developers, designers, consultants, etc.) get together to share the latest and greatest. The sessions and discussions were designed to inspire, urge us to explore the future of open source, and to think creatively about how to use it effectively and efficiently for our clients in these tough economic times.

I had the honor to co-lead the Joomla! Birds of a Feather group on Wednesday, with the President of Open Source Matters, Elin Waring, in addition to hanging out at the Joomla! booth at the expo – which gave me a chance to talk to a lot of people from different backgrounds. It’s always neat to see so many people come together and share ideas, best practices and provide expert advice.

It’s also great to run into friends of the non-profit tech sector, including Leslie Hawthorn and Chris DiBona from Google, as well as Mark Surman from the Mozilla Foundation – both friends of PICnet that I just saw a few weeks ago in Brazil of all places.  Finally, the Joomla booth wouldn’t have been such a success if it weren’t for Bay Area Joomla User Group, including Ron Severdia, Nathan Mallamace, Deborah Susan, Steve Reichgut, and Karl!

For more on OSCON, check out their website for a full program and details on the conference. Or, you can search on Twitter for the hashtag #OSCON to see what attendees were tweeting about it.

Thanks to OSCON for the invite – we hope to be back next year!


Looking for a Developer who Wants to Do Good

Know a developer interested in doing coding that helps change the world for the better? We’re looking for a programmer to help us with PHP-based development on custom projects and on our flagship CMS for nonprofits, Soapbox.

Creative attitude, smarts, and a sense of humor required. Joomla experience a plus. Send letters, resumes, or recommendations to The detailed job description’s after the break. Read more »