This is an edited transcript. For the blog post and video, see On 20 Years of Drupal: an interview with Matthew Saunders.

[00:00:00] Michael Meyers: Hello and welcome to Tag1 Team Talks, the vlog, and podcast of Tag1 Consulting.

[00:00:04] Michael Meyers: We're celebrating over 20 Years of Drupal with an interview series featuring community leaders that have been instrumental in creating one of the largest open-source communities and one of the most popular content management systems that powers 3% of the internet. Our goal is to give you some insight into how to run and grow an open-source community and how there are opportunities for everybody to contribute.

[00:00:26] Michael Meyers: And in sharing our stories and the positive impact that it's had on both our professional and personal lives. Our hope is that this is gonna inspire you to get more engaged in and support more open source communities yourself. I'm Michael Meyers the managing director at Tag1 Consulting.

[00:00:41] Michael Meyers: Tag1 builds large scale applications for Global 500s and leading organizations in every sector using a variety of open source technologies. And we really pride ourselves on our open source contributions. We're the number two all-time contributor to Drupal We created Goose, which is the most scalable open source load testing framework.

[00:00:59] Michael Meyers: We support Yjs realtime collaboration framework, the Oregon State Open Source Labs, which powers an infrastructure for many of the most popular projects, the Rust Foundation, and many more organizations. And I'd just like to say if you are using open source technology and you're not supporting it, you're doing it wrong.

[00:01:16] Michael Meyers: And please, do so. I am super excited to have Matthew Saunders on the show today. You guys have all heard of the 10x developer. While even more rare is the 10x business leader. And I can tell you firsthand from working with Matthew around 15 years ago, that he is a force to be reckoned with.

[00:01:33] Michael Meyers: He has been a prolific and diverse contributor to the Drupal community, and we have so many interesting things to talk about today. Just to give you a little bit of background Matthew's been in the Drupal community for around 16 years now. He's written documentation, he's given talks, he's organized camps, he's organized conferences.

[00:01:50] Michael Meyers: He's run working groups to organize and run conferences. He's also been a board member of the Drupal Association, which I'm really excited to talk about because that's a pretty rare and unique thing. Professionally, he's worked in pretty much every capacity you can. co-founders, COO, CTO, VP of Project Management and more.

[00:02:07] Michael Meyers: He's got a really diverse background and experience and skillset, and he's also worked pretty much everywhere you can on the agency side. He's also, run and created agencies. He's led the creation of the first top 100 Drupal website. And he currently works on the client side as a director at Pfizer.

[00:02:23] Michael Meyers: So really we have a lot to talk about. Matthew, it's so great to see you. Thank you for joining us today.

[00:02:29] Matthew Saunders: Yeah. I'm happy to be here. Happy to talk to you and as always, Mike, I'm happy to see you!

[00:02:36] Michael Meyers: Awesome. So I thought we'd go way back and talk about first like how you got into technology. Did you always want to be in technology?

[00:02:46] Michael Meyers: Was there some sort of pivotal moment?

[00:02:49] Matthew Saunders: Yeah, that's really interesting. I'm an accidental technologist. I fell into it, in, purely by chance. If you go way, way back, I played around with with computers, like lot of people, back in the eighties did, I built a Sinclair ZX 80 at one point.

[00:03:07] Matthew Saunders: And and I at the school they had trash eighties that you could do program in Basic and and so on. But that was never really a huge focus of mine. I was more interested in the arts. I I was interested in painting and sculpture and music and and theater. And it just so happens that.

[00:03:26] Matthew Saunders: When I completed high school I felt like I needed to spend a little bit of time before I went off to university. And so I, I did a vocational art program and I worked in a coffee shop as a barista. And during that period of time I figured out that that I was going to go to school to do fine arts and theater.

[00:03:47] Matthew Saunders: Fast forward four years later. And I was working at a bookshop. And ended up managing one of the bookshops. It was a little it was a little independent bookstore chain. And I was also doing theater lighting, which I really did enjoy. And it was good money, but I looked around at all these guys that were in their, their, oh gosh, they were old, right?

[00:04:07] Matthew Saunders: They were in their late thirties, early forties .

[00:04:10] Michael Meyers: They were our age now .

[00:04:11] Matthew Saunders: They're, they were ancient. They were so old. But what I saw was guys that were getting really worn out. And I realized after talking to some of the older ones particularly that it's not uncommon for Technicians in theater to literally be held together by the work that they do.

[00:04:29] Matthew Saunders: And then when they stop doing it, they fall apart physically. And I thought to myself, I don't want that in my life. Like I, I like doing what I'm doing. But this is a young man's game. So I did a certificate program at the University of Ottawa and at the end of it got a job for the summer working at an experimental dance company where they needed a webmaster.

[00:04:54] Matthew Saunders: This is back in 1995. What the heck is a webmaster? You couldn't Google webmaster because Google didn't exist. But I was on this little this little, board called Lambda Mu, and I had friends there who I knew something about the web, and asked them questions and found myself in a situation where I was the webmaster for this experimental dance company back when there were less than 10,000 websites on the internet.

[00:05:18] Matthew Saunders: And so I, that's where I learned between Lambda Mu, where I learned object oriented programming. I learned markup while I was working for the dance company. But that was that was tangential to one of the really cool things that happened that summer. And that was, This dance company partnered up with five other dance companies around Canada.

[00:05:40] Matthew Saunders: I'm Canadian. And they set up live. High speed video links between five dance companies and five, five different dance studios with five different audiences and produced a piece of work in real time. And I nearly fell over. I couldn't I couldn't believe what I was seeing.

[00:05:59] Matthew Saunders: And I had been accepted to go down to Virginia Tech to a Master of Fine Arts in marketing. And I got down there and I said to my, my committee, I don't wanna do that . I don't wanna do marketing. Let me tell you what I just experienced. And they hummed and hawed and and ultimately said, okay, Matthew I'm, we're gonna give you a length of rope and you can hang yourself.

[00:06:21] Matthew Saunders: And basically they gave me six weeks to figure out what I was gonna study and what I was gonna do. And that turned into. A series of technology-based projects that that integrated theater it integrated software development networks.

[00:06:36] Matthew Saunders: It in it integrated high speed video casts, and bidirectional high speed video casts at that. And I did three pieces of work that, that utilized that technology. And that's what my master's became. So it wasn't in marketing really at all. And that ended up having me teach at the university for a year and a half.

[00:06:56] Matthew Saunders: I worked with Visit Virginia developing the first database driven Database driven site for tourists. Where you could type in when you, you were gonna start start your visit in Virginia, when it was gonna end what city you're gonna start in, what city you wanted to end in, and you'd hit a button and it would oh.

[00:07:14] Matthew Saunders: And what you were interested in, you'd hit a button and about five minutes later, It would spit out an agenda of what it thought that you might be interested in. And that that site, although technically was really interesting was a spectacular failure because nobody really knew. This was the back in the days when people would go to AAA and get a TripTik. And and for all you youngins out there, a TripTik is a special map that that the AAA company, organization nonprofit would put together for you when you wanted to go on a road trip. And it basically allowed you to have your map. That was spec, just for you.

[00:07:53] Matthew Saunders: Which you could use like a little book and it would take you to the places that you wanted to go. Anyway all of that led [00:08:00] me down a road where I ultimately got offered a job in Colorado to lead up the technology practice at a nonprofit that built software for other nonprofits and state arts agencies and state agencies of different kinds.

[00:08:14] Matthew Saunders: And I did stuff like grant making software and so on. And that's where I found myself ultimately coming into Drupal

[00:08:22] Matthew Saunders: So it was accidental.

[00:08:23] Michael Meyers: Yeah. I love origin stories and experimental dance company that's like experimenting with cutting edge technology on top of dance.

[00:08:29] Michael Meyers: That's insane that that's such a cool story. And that database you talked about, I back then, like you didn't have the ability, like everything was static, simple html sites, you typically didn't enter in data. So not only were people didn't know what a triptic was, but damn, like way, way ahead of things.

[00:08:45] Matthew Saunders: That server was in a closet.

[00:08:46] Michael Meyers: And AAA side note, big longtime user, of Drupal. So become full circle. So then I, I assume that's when you ended up at Ping Vision. And is Ping Vision where you discovered Drupal Or, or like how did, how. [00:09:00]

[00:09:00] Matthew Saunders: Yeah no, that, that isn't quite the beginning of the Drupal story. So one of the things that happened when I was working at the Western States Arts Federation near the end of my tenure was there's this buzzword, right?

[00:09:11] Matthew Saunders: Web 2.0, everybody was talking about Web 2.0. And and my boss at the time sent me off to take part in a think tank in Vancouver, British Columbia. And that think tank really, it had all kinds of thought leaders ranging from people in publishing to people who who were in the hard sciences to, to people who were working in open source all over the place.

[00:09:37] Matthew Saunders: And one of the groups that was invited to come talk were a couple of guys from Bright and and they were talking about this Drupal thing and. One of the things that if I got nothing out else, out of that think tank experience, it was, I never need to write a user authentication protocol ever again.

[00:09:57] Matthew Saunders: I never, that's something I never need to do again because it's been done for me. And that turned into a series of workshops. So I actually even have a little certificate from Bright for a theming workshop that I did with them in Vancouver a few months later. And that was way back in, 4.5 0.1, 4.5 0.2, something like that.

[00:10:20] Matthew Saunders: It was the days of flexi node and the precursor to, to, to views. And I was really excited about it. But my boss at the nonprofit, he wasn't excited about it. And I thought to myself, do I really want to keep building custom mySQL applications?

[00:10:39] Matthew Saunders: And I came to the conclusion, no I wanna do something different. And Ping Vision was a vendor of West staff at the time doing some light Drupal work for the nonprofit. And it just so happened that they were look looking for somebody who could help manage their project management and work and also do some of their operations.

[00:10:58] Matthew Saunders: So that's how I my first [00:11:00] agency doing Drupal work.

[00:11:02] Michael Meyers: Wow. That's crazy. Do you still have that theming certificate? Please tell me, yes.

[00:11:06] Matthew Saunders: I do.

[00:11:07] Michael Meyers: Oh my God. I was introduced to Drupal by Boris Mann in Yeah. Van. That's such a small world. That's crazy.

[00:11:13] Michael Meyers: You gotta put that online. I would love to see it.

[00:11:15] Matthew Saunders: It is online somewhere. I'm pretty sure that I posted on Twitter or Facebook or something like that. I'll dig it up. I'll dig it up and send you over a link. It's pretty funny.

[00:11:24] Michael Meyers: That's pretty

[00:11:25] Michael Meyers: wild, especially where you are today. , I, I I wanna transition a bit, but cause I wanna keep talking about the professional stuff and but since we're at the origin here of your connection with Drupal you have gotten really engaged in the community

[00:11:37] Michael Meyers: in a way that, very few people do.

[00:11:39] Michael Meyers: And so I wanna talk a little bit about that. Do you remember when you went from, I discovered Drupal to, the first time that you got engaged in the community, and do you remember like an in, what that was or what capacity,

[00:11:52] Matthew Saunders: Yeah so the first time I was actually on an interview with Ping Vision [00:12:00] and they had me come on one of the days that they were having a meetup.

[00:12:03] Matthew Saunders: And and I stuck around after the interview. Felt like such a dork. I was in a suit. Everybody else was in jeans and t-shirts, right? But I sat around the table with with with a bunch of bunch of other guys eating pizza and and enjoying each other's company and talking about things that we're working on.

[00:12:20] Matthew Saunders: And for me that really clinched it. And a few days later I joined that company. And . And that sort of segued into me starting to plan, help plan some of the first some of the first Drupal Camps. And our first one was actually in the office in Boulder.

[00:12:35] Matthew Saunders: It was small. It was only about 10 people. It was more of a glorified meetup than anything. But the next one after that was was at, one of the technical schools in Metro Denver, where we rented a rented a room actually we might have even gotten for free.

[00:12:52] Matthew Saunders: But that was that was more than just a group of us that were associated with with with company. We had people from a couple of other little agencies. We even had a guy that came over from from the United Kingdom, who, who did a talk. And that's how Drupal Camp Colorado began.

[00:13:09] Matthew Saunders: So I was right in, at very beginning of planning that camp and being involved in that camp.

[00:13:15] Michael Meyers: I have been to a very large number of camps around the world. And I have to say that I've been to the Colorado camp, I think at least twice, and I was blown away. At how well run and organized it was like the production quality was fantastic.

[00:13:35] Michael Meyers: The food was great, the speakers it was just on every level. It was fantastic. And I'm wondering, there are a lot of people out

[00:13:45] Michael Meyers: there that wanna run events. There are a lot of people out there that do run events. This, your event stood out, by far.

[00:13:52] Michael Meyers: What do you think the secret to your success was? And, do you have any advice that you would give to, would be [00:14:00] organizers?

[00:14:01] Matthew Saunders: I think big secret to that success was being in the right place at the right time. There was a ton of energy back in 2007, 2008, 2009.

[00:14:12] Matthew Saunders: Lots and lots of young energy, right? And lots of people getting super excited about, about Drupal as potentially as being a career. And as we got closer and closer to DrupalCon in Denver, and I was one of the, one of the organizing committee members on that before it was taken over by professional organizers, which by the way was a very smart thing for them to do because everybody after organizing DrupalCons would be pretty much burned out cuz it became a full, nearly a full-time second job.

[00:14:46] Matthew Saunders: But For us, I think the fact that Colorado, that Denver got DrupalCon in, in in 2012 practically meant that people were super interested in going to our camp. The year before to scope out what this Colorado scene was all about. So I feel like a big part of it was being in the right time being in the right place at the right time.

[00:15:08] Matthew Saunders: Having that extra energy going on and having really good supporting organizations that we worked for who wanted wanted the camp to, to do well as well. And lucked out. In terms of venue. We've got a great venue right close to downtown Denver that we use pretty much every year now.

[00:15:28] Matthew Saunders: So this juncture, a lot of its muscle memory. Yeah. It's just repeating the same patterns. Although Covid did kindof. Knock that on its heels in a lot of ways. But we didn't stop, right? We kept going, and I believe that we're the longest running camp that has never had a break.

[00:15:43] Matthew Saunders: And we're one of the first camps that ever that ever started. The first one was in 2007.

[00:15:48] Michael Meyers: , that's no, you, you guys really do an amazing job, and anybody who's, in the region or area, it is worth the trip to attend. You can see the difference, in a really well organized and run event and one that you know is not as well.

[00:16:02] Michael Meyers: Fast forward a little bit. You decided to get involved in the Drupal Association. You mentioned how they played a big role in taking over the DrupalCons and bringing in, professional help. I'm curious what inspired you to become a board member? How did you one day say, I wanna get more engaged in that aspect of the community?

[00:16:21] Matthew Saunders: You don't remember?

[00:16:24] Michael Meyers: Oh, Lord, there's a lot. I don't even, no.

[00:16:30] Matthew Saunders: So way back when when we were when we were doing Examiner together, and that's a little little little tidbit that maybe you were planning on dropping on people later on in the podcast in the interview. But We, we got so involved in, in, in in running DrupalCon Denver, like our team at Examiner was heavily involved in it.

[00:16:54] Matthew Saunders: Most of the people who were organizing it was from our, were from our team. And it was, you [00:17:00] actually at one point that said, Hey, Matthew, they run elections for this thing, right? And you'd be pretty good at doing this, like given the organization stuff that you do around the camp and what I've seen in terms of Drupal Con and the stuff that that you're doing for us I think that you should, I think that you should run, and I laughed at you at the time.

[00:17:20] Michael Meyers: So I'm to blame. That's,

[00:17:22] Matthew Saunders: But later on I was working for an agency called AT and Design Group. And during that period of time that sort of seed that you put into my head it grew at that point. And and I ran because I felt there was a need for folks out in the in the Drupal community to see that That people who are generally non coders can be just as active and just as committed and just as effective as coders.

[00:17:50] Matthew Saunders: If you take a look at my Drupal dot org profile, you'll see that I've got a SumTotal of four code commits in, in 16 years. And it's not that I haven't code coded in the past or anything like that, and it's not that I wasn't an actually a pretty good coder at one point, but with the Drupal community, I did very little coding.

[00:18:09] Matthew Saunders: And But it felt like there was this sort of gap and there, and I felt like there needed to be, there needed to be somebody who could act as a role model and help other people out there who felt like maybe they were maybe they were considered as a second class citizens within the community that, no, that's not the case.

[00:18:26] Matthew Saunders: And one of the things that I went into the association wanting to do because I'd been on, on nonprofit boards before understand governance and and so on. What I wanted to do coming in was change one thing. And that was members of the board. I wanted them to be on the board for more than one year.

[00:18:46] Matthew Saunders: Because my experience in other nonprofit organizations is when you hit one year. That's when you're just starting to understand what it, what the heck you're doing and when you start to be effective. my claim to fame on the [00:19:00] association is that I got board terms for elected board members, increased from one year to two years.

[00:19:05] Matthew Saunders: And I was in a weird situation where I ended up serving I think, two, two years and seven months or something like that because of some quirky things that happened around, around making those those positions two years to help them make that work. And it was a good time.

[00:19:22] Matthew Saunders: Like I'm super happy that that that I that I ended up on the board of directors because there was another board member there who introduced me to Pfizer where I work now. And and that's ended up being a really wonderful partnership.

[00:19:36] Michael Meyers: And that would be Mike Lamb.

[00:19:38] Matthew Saunders: That would be, yeah.

[00:19:39] Michael Meyers: And how does one go about becoming a board member?

[00:19:43] Matthew Saunders: Yeah, so every year, and I apologize, it's been years since I did this, so I don't know quite what the timing is. But every year there's a call for for folks to nominate others or self-nominate and when you self-nominate or somebody else nominates you [00:20:00] and you say, okay I'm a chump. I'll take the nomination. When you agree to be a nominee what happens is you go through a series of of public debates, interviews with other nominees.

[00:20:12] Matthew Saunders: You fill out a profile, stuff like that. And ultimately it it lands on an election week where the election is run in I believe they're using ranked order elections at this point. So it might go through several rounds before you figure out who, who's who's hit.

[00:20:29] Matthew Saunders: 50 per 50% plus plus one. But basically that's the process where you get nominated, you talk a lot, you do a lot of social media stuff. You do some interviews. And then there's an election.

[00:20:43] Michael Meyers: Wow. I wanna because at the top of the show, I talked about how this has, impact us, personally, professionally, so much, and it really has changed many lives.

[00:20:51] Michael Meyers: The networking component, right? You think about your story and the different, like steps. Boris introduced both you and I, to Drupal, which [00:21:00] changed our careers. As part of your stint on the DA board, you ended up meeting Mike Lamb, who's, he's the VP of Tech now, or the SVP or, he's, huge at Pfizer in, in technology.

[00:21:09] Michael Meyers: It really everything comes together. I don't wanna say serendipitously because, we work so hard to make these things happen. But it's the, one thing begets another. When you're part of this community and you make these connections.

[00:21:24] Matthew Saunders: Yeah, that's for sure.

[00:21:25] Matthew Saunders: And what I would say is that even if the software were to disappear off the face of the planet tomorrow the the the connections the friends, some friends who are like family none of that will go away. And so much in, for me, at least in my career have been what appear to be a series of happy accidents.

[00:21:43] Matthew Saunders: But in reality, I think really are building relationships and and those relation and how those relationships can can lead to professional opportunities. I would say to folks out there who are watching go to camps, go to meetups, talk to people make friends especially if you're earlier, early in your career.

[00:22:02] Matthew Saunders: Those things make a huge difference as you move forward. And don't be frightened to ask people questions. Don't be frightened to ask people for the things that you think that you need within your career in order to level up. Cuz most of the time people will say yes. And I know that there's always this fear, this sort of nagging fear.

[00:22:22] Matthew Saunders: What if they say no? What if I'm rejected? But frankly almost everybody that I've met within the Drupal community has been kind and generous with their time and generous with their information and skills. And why wouldn't they be? We're an open source community. It's built into our DNA.

[00:22:42] Michael Meyers: Yeah. And I think all of us have benefited from the same, Boris sat down with me and introduced me to Drupal in a coffee shop, with no potential benefit to his business. Just to be a member of the community. And so I've always tried to repay that, and I think, it just lives in that cycle of people [trying to help each other and, pay it forward.

[00:23:01] Michael Meyers: And since we're a little dreamy-eyed before we jump back to the professional stuff, cause we there's so much to talk about still on that front. I'm wondering if you have a and this is like such a broad question, but, do you have a favorite Drupal memory or experience?

[00:23:17] Matthew Saunders: Oh, there are so many. That's not fair. , I think maybe maybe my favorite was, Getting up on stage for the Prenote in Amsterdam and doing Bohemian Rhapsody with with with crazy Drupal lyrics associated with it, with people like Cam Vertesi, actually a professional opera singer on the side of doing technology stuff.

[00:23:46] Matthew Saunders: That was probably the best. It was so bizarre getting out on a stage, looking out. We had a lot of people who showed up at that at that particular DrupalCon. It was probably, I think, 1800 people or so and so forth. And just making an ass outta myself, it was fun.

[00:24:01] Michael Meyers: pre notes, I don't know, I don't even, I'm, I shouldn't even talk . I haven't been to one in a very long time. They're too early in the morning, but they, they were such a special and awesome part of, the conference experience and Jam and Robert and everybody did.

[00:24:15] Michael Meyers: In just such an impressive job in, in, in putting that together, like you said, Bohemian Rhapsody with like Drupal specific lyrics was just an aspect of a show it was really, impressive what they did and always entertaining.

[00:24:28] Matthew Saunders: Yeah, if you wanna see a bunch of adults making willingly making idiots out of themselves.

[00:24:33] Matthew Saunders: They're all the pre notes, I believe are, or many of them are available on YouTube. You can look 'em up and they're funny.

[00:24:41] Michael Meyers: Oh my God, I didn't re that makes sense. We recorded these things. I hadn't thought about that. Yeah, it's fun. Like Drew, like if you know, Dries.

[00:24:46] Michael Meyers: You say if you're not having fun, you're doing DrupalCon wrong, right? A big part of it is going out there, meeting people, spending time together, enjoying yourself. And I think the pre note really, really did that well. It was just too early in the morning for everybody who was having fun the night before.

[00:25:05] Michael Meyers: It was brutal. All right let's jump back. You know what we don't have too much time. And on the professional side, there's some really awesome stuff that's coming up. I'm gonna cherry pick and jump through it. We met, you have been working at Ping Vision. You and I met and we got together and we worked on Examiner.

[00:25:22] Michael Meyers: In particular Examiner was the first top 100, first top 50 website to run Drupal. But most interestingly in the context of this talk is that we were responsible for creating, I don't know, 33% or more of Drupal seven, which today is still the most popular version of Drupal ever

[00:25:40] Matthew Saunders: while we were migrating from a giant original site.

[00:25:43] Matthew Saunders: Don't forget that we were literally flying the airplane and putting the airplane together at the same time. We wrote taxonomy for Drupal seven. While we were migrating content and tech, the using taxonomy into the it was crazy. There's no reason that project should have succeeded.

[00:26:02] Matthew Saunders: Like it was nuts.

[00:26:04] Michael Meyers: It really was. We were fortunate to have a really group of amazing people, which, gave me confidence in our ability to pull that off. But it still, stretched the edge of reason. It really was insane. And but it was a lot of fun and I'm just, I'm wondering if there are any, lessons, is there something that's replicable?

[00:26:24] Michael Meyers: I it pains me that, whether it's agencies or the end users of Drupal, they do all of these interesting, features and functionality that they keep internally that are not, part of their secret sauce and that whole story. Examiner's a really great use case of an organization who, prolifically, meaningfully created Drupal seven, I think it was like us, Acquia, and the, it was like a third and a third, Examiner, Acquia and the community, each built about a third of Drupal seven.

[00:26:50] Michael Meyers: Navigating the community process, while running a business, looking back on that, do you remember. Anything in particular where you say, look, if you're interested in getting more engaged as a company and creating Drupal as part of your build process, here's something that you should never do or here's something that I, I, that, that work well for us.

[00:27:10] Matthew Saunders: So that's interesting. I think one of the things that a lot of organizations get wrong is I'm just going to use it. It's there for me to use, I'm gonna be isolated. They may not even know that the community exists. Completely siloed, right? And there isn't this sort of recognition that there, there are tens of thousands of people out there actively every day donating their own time, their own energy, or their company's time and energy towards.

[00:27:41] Matthew Saunders: Producing, producing something that is, is technologically awesome but also it's a social experiment. That and I and it's an accidental social experiment. Let's face it. I don't think that Dries ever could've imagined that it would've exploded like it did. And became, to become the.[00:28:00]

[00:28:01] Matthew Saunders: Absolute. I think probably the largest open source community out there, I think probably is at least one that's active. The way that the way that Drupal is active. And I think that if you can just, put into your heart that you're gonna contribute back 5% of of what you're working on that makes a huge difference.

[00:28:18] Matthew Saunders: And it could help the next organization with their project. And I know that there can be this sort of notion of I don't wanna give up my intellectual property. But in the end, I think that that you lose so much potential. Vibrancy and you lose you, you lose possibilities when you aren't willing to share at least a little bit of what you've been working on.

[00:28:41] Matthew Saunders: And that could be as, that could be code or that could be going to a meetup and saying, Hey, look at the cool thing that we built and this is how we built it. Or could be doing, or it could be sending one of your employees to, to to a DrupalCon to do a session. It could be all kinds of different things. It doesn't have to be, it doesn't have to be the code, but when you get involved, even just a little bit, it's a game changer, I think for most organizations.

[00:29:07] Michael Meyers: Yeah. Examiner getting involved in the community is how we were able to go out and hire a lot of the top talent. It really, did it in a self-interested fashion, which is, how open source works. We tremendously benefited from doing it. I think, you made me just think of something.

[00:29:22] Michael Meyers: One of the things that I remember taking away from it is, a lot of organizations will build software with the intent of potentially open sourcing it later, and a lot of barriers come up. And one of the things that forced to do with Examiner, because we were, building Drupal 7, it wasn't released yet, and we ended up going live on way early before release.

[00:29:41] Michael Meyers: We were always developing in the community and pulling it back in. And that was a much better process, to build your modules publicly and then to use them, we, our code repos were coming in off of as opposed to the other way around. And that workflow [00:30:00] tremendously changed things as far as our ability to, contribute.

[00:30:03] Michael Meyers: And, it was, something that was in some sense is forced in us because of the nature of what we had to do and how we had to do it. But it's something that I think a lot of organizations get backwards and might be counterintuitive.

[00:30:12] Matthew Saunders: I'd agree with that. I think that I think that I think open source in and of itself is counter counterintuitive, right?

[00:30:20] Matthew Saunders: How can you make money off of something that you get for free? Yeah, like, like I think that I think that there's an awful lot of misconceptions about what open source actually is and how it should be used. And, how it can benefit organizations in in, in, in real ways, profitable ways that that they didn't, that they didn't really, that they didn't really expect.

[00:30:44] Matthew Saunders: And that could be anything from a bookstore setting up an e-commerce site, which allows 'em to sell their books online. Or, it could be something like Examiner where we were driving revenue through, through ads and then and then paying our writers with micropayments through a, through, a special system, right?

[00:31:02] Matthew Saunders: Like they're all kinds of ways that you can take these building blocks and chunk 'em together, and somebody else might pick up something that you've contributed and turn around and make something completely different that you didn't expect out of it.

[00:31:17] Michael Meyers: Yeah. We only have a little bit of time left, but we, I really want to talk about Pfizer and I don't know how much you can talk about Pfizer, so perhaps it's good that we only have a few minutes left.

[00:31:25] Michael Meyers: But Examiner was very innovative and I, Pfizer, Mike Lamb, what you guys have done, to me has always been the blueprint of how, large enterprises adopting technology, not just Drupal should operate, from his getting involved in, the Drupal Association and being on the board, to how he recruited talent to, how you guys organize his teams to, how you build and run your sites.

[00:31:49] Michael Meyers: Everything is really, thoughtfully done at scale and, to the degree that you can share some of what you know you are working on. I think it would be great. Not to put [00:32:00] you on the spot, but I'd love to just hear a little bit about, what you guys are doing and, I know that for example, have a lot of static sites.

[00:32:08] Michael Meyers: So you've changed your approach over time, and that's really interesting to see the evolution of, technology and where organizations are going. And maybe we can focus in on specifically that I'll leave it to you as to what you can and can't cover.

[00:32:22] Matthew Saunders: Sure. Yeah I'm gonna say off the bat anything that comes across as a fact or something like that probably isn't, it's my opinion, not my, not the the opinion of the company that I work for necessarily might be, might not be. But I want to, I wanted to be clear. These are my words.

[00:32:37] Matthew Saunders: Not not not anybody else's words. So when I started with Pfizer they were all Drupal seven sites that that were being run. And Drupal was the backend for each of the each of the countries that was using what I work on, which is called Pfizer Pro.

[00:32:53] Matthew Saunders: And it was also the rendering engine for for the sites. And as you can imagine, if you're talking about using basically a [00:33:00] Distro model for all these all these different markets utilizing the same sort, sort of core software, but you've got 40 or 50 of them and they're all doing a little bit of their own things.

[00:33:12] Matthew Saunders: So the code bases. Start to start to diverge quite a bit and you end up with a situation that's hard to manage. And so one of the one of the things that we've worked on is shifting that dynamic making things by moving to a JAMstack sort of methodology.

[00:33:29] Matthew Saunders: It means that we're in a position where sites can be can be deployed more quickly than than if you're using Drupal as a rendering engine. But there are also all kinds of things that a JAMstack site can't do which we're, or it's very hard for 'em to do. Like how would you use a JAMstack site to do a tool that allows a doctor to dynamically figure out what the dosing should be for a patient who's, male or female certain height, certain weight certain age.

[00:34:00] Matthew Saunders: It becomes really difficult to do those kinds of things. So that's where you need something like a services based backend. And we use Drupal for that. From our standpoint Drupal a crappy rendering engine. A lot of a lot of companies have moved to to headless Drupal.

[00:34:15] Matthew Saunders: And we've logically come to the conclusion that we're gonna use Drupal for the things that Drupal's really good at. And in some instances, we'll, you'll, we'll use something else. It may not be Drupal. We might use we might use a different services based backend.

[00:34:30] Matthew Saunders: Maybe it's a little Laravel app that we write or or maybe there's a a situation where we can utilize a third party system that already does something that we need it need need to have done that we can hook into our front end. So we've got a, we've got a web components front end that that lives within a design system, and each of the components lives within the Shadow DOM which allows us to control the the components themselves a little bit more granularly, granular there than you might, have in a situation where, the CSS could bleed from area to area on the site.

[00:35:06] Matthew Saunders: It's it's a, we've made that choice consciously. And I think it's put us in a position where we're far more efficient around around site management as a whole. And that's super important when you think about the volume of websites that that a company like Pfizer needs in order to effectively get medicines to patients who need them.

[00:35:28] Michael Meyers: Yeah. Man there's so much meaty stuff to talk about there. But we unfortunately do need to wrap up. So a topic for another time. Would love to get some folks on to talk more about the approach. And, from a Drupal community standpoint, I think we always have to remember that, we need to keep evolving the platform.

[00:35:44] Michael Meyers: It's a big part of what we do. Keep it relevant, and also recognize that it isn't always the best solution for every use case in need. And you know that it's okay to use lots of other technologies and it's great to use lots of other technologies to meet your needs.

[00:36:00] Michael Meyers: Last thing I'm gonna put on you real quick passing the torch. One person, whoever hits your mind first, who's been influential, as part of your time in the community that I should interview next, who should it be?

[00:36:14] Matthew Saunders: Oh, Who have you interviewed recently?

[00:36:20] Michael Meyers: Oh gosh. We've had some amazing, Angie Web chick Josh Koenig.

[00:36:25] Michael Meyers: I'm really trying to get, individuals that have an outsized impact, not just because of what they're doing today, but because of what they've done over the last, five, 10, 15 in some cases, like yourself 15, 20 years. But you can email me after the fact.

[00:36:40] Michael Meyers: Let me know. I'm trying to out crowdsource my research.

[00:36:43] Matthew Saunders: I think somebody that you should interview that I bet you haven't, who could be really super interesting would be Rachel Lawson. She is she's quieter around the sidelines, but everybody knows who she is because of the amazing work that she's done around in the Drupal Association, but also, interviews with folks like Dries and so forth.

[00:37:04] Matthew Saunders: She's fascinating and she's been part of our community for longer than I have. I think and it would give a completely different perspective than maybe most of your most of your other interviewees.

[00:37:17] Michael Meyers: That's a fantastic recommendation. This is exactly what I'm looking for, are interesting, unique, different perspectives and.

[00:37:26] Michael Meyers: Yeah. That's fantastic. It's a really great recommendation. Thank you. Matthew wish we had another hour. Man, so good to catch up and talk about how these. I really appreciate your joining me. I really appreciate all our listeners joining us. Please remember, if you like this talk up, vote, subscribe, share it out, all that stuff I have to say you can check out all of our interviews in this series. We have talked to some really great people in the community. Go to That's the number, twenty, you know 20. You can also check out our Tag1 team talks and the latest technology topics at As always really appreciate your feedback, your input.

[00:38:00] Michael Meyers: If there's folks you'd like us to interview, you can reach us at, that's t a g the number And once again, yeah heartfelt. Thank you to Matthew and to everyone who tuned in. Take care.

[00:38:15] Matthew Saunders: Thanks for having me.

[00:38:17] Michael Meyers: Thank you, man. Sorry we ran up to time. Really appreciate you doing this.