This is a transcript. For the video, see Michael Schmid, Amazee, and many years of contributions.
[00:00:00] Michael Meyers: Hello, and welcome to Tag1 Team Talks, the blog and podcast of Tag1 Consulting. We're commemorating the 20th Anniversary of Drupal with an interview series, featuring community leaders talking about their Drupal Experience. I'm really excited to have Michael Schmid, AKA schnitzel on the show today.
I'm Michael Meyers, the managing director at Tag1. We're the number two all time contributor to Drupal, and we build large scale applications for Fortune 500s and organizations in every sector. We use Drupal as well as many other technologies. We're also one of the few Drupal 7 extended support providers.
And you can talk to us about continuing to run Drupal 7 after it reaches the end of life next year. Reach out if you want to learn more details. Awesome. Well, I want to introduce you guys to Michael. Many of you knew Michael as the group CTO of Amazee, which includes both Amazee Labs, which is a really well-known Drupal agency based out of Zurich, Switzerland as well as Amazee.io, a global managed service provider that delivers secure enterprise grade web ops solutions and services.
[00:01:00] Michael is a prolific contributor to Drupal. He's worked on many contributed modules. He's committed code to Drupal core, and he's worked on core initiatives, including the Drupal 8 multilingual initiative, D8 MI, he's also made many significant contributions outside of the code base as well. He's led many trainings.
He's run sprints, submitted sprint mentor, many code sprints, and he's helped organize many DrupalCons, Drupal Camps. And he is a regular featured and keynote speaker at these events. Michael, thank you so much for joining me today.
[00:01:32] Michael Schmid: Hello. Thanks for having me.
[00:01:35] Michael Meyers: I I'm looking forward to catching up. To set the stage, it would be great if you could just give us a quick overview and background of your career and then we'll dive into the community side of things and talk more about your experiences and contributions to the community. Over the last couple of years, you've been a member of the Drupal Community for over a dozen years now.
And I'm curious, how [00:02:00] did you first discover Drupal?
[00:02:03] Michael Schmid: Yeah. I had to look, myself. Yeah, it's really 12 years. It feels like a long in the short time at the same time. Um, yeah, I got in contact with Drupal. Around 2009, 2009 was the time when I turned Amazee. and at that point they built Amazee.com, which was built on Drupal 5.
And I knew PHP based CMSes a little bit. I had my own WordPress blog running, like everybody at the time. And yeah, I saw this Drupal thingy and started to work with it and really fell in love with it pretty much at first sight. I remember like, the Views module was like this, oh, wow. This. This capability to build your own architecture of like, how content is stored and then displaying it again.
Like this is all made a lot of sense to me in my brain. And so that was really 2009 was the first time I used Drupal and really fell in love. And then I, I would say, like I fell the [00:03:00] second time in love when I went to DrupalCon Copenhagen in 2010 and really learned not only about Drupal the code, but also Drupal the community.
[00:03:08] Michael Meyers: Yeah. Well, we'll get into that a little bit more. Um, you have one of my favorite usernames of all time - schnitzel, and it's funny. Cause I think a lot of people like when they're, they're part of Drupal for a long time, even, you know, people by their username, not by their name necessarily. Uh, and I'll be having conversations with their people and they'll be like, you know, this person I'm like, who is like, oh, schnitzel like, oh yeah, of
[00:03:33] Michael Schmid: Oh, I have customers that send emails to the support saying, Hey, I talked to schnitzel.
So my company had to learn that my user name as well, because yeah, people refer to me. Via that, like, that's all the names. And then you physically mean it's like, what's your real name? Because
[00:03:54] Michael Meyers: it is definitely one of the best handles out there. Uh, how did this, how did this happen? [00:04:00] Is there a story here?
[00:04:01] Michael Schmid: Um, it's actually, yes, there is a story and it's a bit of sad story.
So in school I was overweight and people called me schnitzel to annoy me, like, because of the pork, like I looked like a pork schnitzel that's what they said. I hated it at the time, but somehow it stuck through school. And then, you know, you're like on this, like this typical, like you're opening your, I don't know what it was, Twitter or Facebook, whatever.
And then you're sitting on this user name and the half of blinking cursor and you have no idea what you write. And then you just, yeah, let's use schnitzel because, and luckily I was early enough that in most places I was able to snag schnitzel and and, and use it like on, on Twitter. Um, yeah, it was one of the very first people that used it and got it there.
[00:04:50] Michael Meyers: I love it. You've got to embrace it and it is it's, it's a fantastic name. I love it. Um, so, you know the Amazee Group, [00:05:00] um, you know, you, you guys, I mean, you can't go to a Drupal event and not run into Amazee. You guys always have awesome booths. You do so much in the community. Um, but I, I never knew like how, you know, how did Amazee Labs come about?
How did you know, did you know, how did you come about with Amazee Labs? How did that lead to the Amazee Group? Can you give us a little backstory?
[00:05:22] Michael Schmid: Yeah, totally. Um, yeah. So when I joined Amazee in 2009, the team tried to build a social collaboration platform based on Drupal. And so that's, we have to see the context.
I was just just above where Facebook started to exist. And the founders of Amazee, they had this idea to build a platform where people can collaborate all over the world because the internet just started to really come into existence and there was much easier to communicate. And so.
Unfortunately like many projects, it was a feature creep. Like how, like we implemented [00:06:00] everything you can imagine on world. Like we had a Kickstarter platform in it, there was a Flickr sharing service. There was like we had features at that time, of like basecamp, of like collaboration things. And it just, we thought like if you build everything into a tool, everybody will use the tool.
Right. But that was a good idea. Then we realized that if you build a thousand features, none of them are going to be good and all of them are going to be half baked. And so, yeah, and it didn't, we didn't work out and, but we use Drupal and we learned a lot about how to build very complex Drupal sites.
And so over time companies reached out to us and said, Hey, haven't you built this big Drupal site. We need help. And so we started to build slowly for other customers. All kinds of platforms that are interactive. So like where people can log in and do something. And we always use Drupal under the hood.[00:07:00]
Our, our big plan of course, was we all use the code of Amazee.com at the time and like resell it and white label it. But yeah, we, we started to divert so much from the original code that, yeah. At one point we just realized, okay, this doesn't make sense. And then Drupal 6 came out, which was much better.
It was faster. Um, the modules were much better. And so, yeah, we, at one point we actually abandoned the Amazee.com, the platform altogether and just focused on being an, a web agency. So we converted Amazee into Amazee Labs and yeah. Built Drupal sites. Um, for anybody that needed one, mostly focused on like more complex things either very highly multilingual sites or with crazy workflows behind migration.
Just the things that you can build really, really well. with Drupal. And that was what we've done for many years. Um, and in, [00:08:00] in, in the background, we always had this problem of where do we host the sites because they were rather big Drupal sites, just going to your standard PHP hoster didn't really make it.
And we tried, but we actually got kicked out from one of them because the sites used to way too much resources and because it was too big. And so we try to like find people that really can do Drupal hosting. And we couldn't find anybody at that time in Switzerland, specifically, or not even in Europe, because at that point Acquia and Pantheon existed, but they were only US-based and try to explain to somebody in Switzerland that they, that their sites will be hosted in the US and so yeah, that didn't work out at all. And so we were forced to build our own hosting platform, but just for Amazee Labs, like at Amazee, we have a clear understanding that every company has one business goal and one business model. And so if you are a web agency, you're not selling hosting at the same time because they [00:09:00] can be contradictory for the business model.
And so we had to do hosting though, but we just did it internally. So we were like a little team, me and Bastian, and we are two people that did all the hosting for all the customers. And yeah, we rebuilt the hosting as we wanted it, as we believe it was the easiest to use. And then over time Drupal took off in Switzerland and also, Amazee Labs got well-known more and more.
And so, yeah, I think there was one specific case where. At the DrupalCon I was having a presentation about like high performance or so. And the whole presentation question turned into a presentation of our hosting solution because everybody wanted to see like how easy to do, because I did like a live demo and deployed on stage.
And there's just like, it was super simple and everybody had questions, like, what is this hosting solution that you have? And I'm like, yeah, no, it's our own thing. I cannot, I [00:10:00] cannot show it like all of these things. And so over time we, we got warmer and warmer to the idea to actually open it up for that, to spin out the hosting part, we called it Amazeeio.
And start to host for other customers besides just Amazee Labs. So we started its own company, hired its own CEO, had his own budget, his own team, marketing, sales, everything. So it's a completely separate legal entity today and do hosting for customers all over the world that really need Very high performance, very high support.
Um, we do all the supporting chat systems, for example. And and now today we go way, way more than just Drupal so we can host pretty much anything any web-based systems we can host today.
[00:10:54] Michael Meyers: The rare live demos, success story.[00:11:00]
That's pretty amazing. I do a company. They always say never do a live demo.
[00:11:08] Michael Schmid: I try to have a fallback, so I always have a recording of the demo in case it fails. But no, that one was a very successful live demo,
[00:11:16] Michael Meyers: I think clearly that's the way to go do your live demo, but, but I'm the fallback. Um, cool. I mean, that's, that's great.
I had no idea of the backstory. Like I said, I've just, I've always seen you guys there for as long as I can remember. So it's really cool to get a picture of that. Uh, necessity is the mother of invention and, you know, Amazee.io. I always gone on to be this amazing success story. So it's, it's so great to see how, you know, one of the things I love about Drupal is it has given birth to so many careers and businesses and, and, and Amazee IO and Amazee Labs are really great examples of that.
Um, so let's talk more about your, your Drupal journey, your experiences in the community. You know, you're, you're a major contributor to the platform and [00:12:00] have done. So, as I said at the top is show in, in, in so many different ways. Um, I'm curious if you remember, and I know it's like a dozen years ago and I can't remember what I had for breakfast.
Um, what was your first contribution to the community and how did it go more importantly? What was the experience like?
[00:12:18] Michael Schmid: Yeah. Um, so for me, the very, I think the very first contribution was actually all directly a core commit. Like a lot of people started with contribute - like, contrib modules, but somehow I think, yeah.
And the story is this. So I was after I went to DrupalCon Copenhagen and I went to Drupal country cargo in 2011. And then everybody talked about these code sprints. And at the time I understood like, of course, like how open source works and all that stuff. And it's like, yeah, why not go to a code sprint? And I walked into the room and there were like five or six people in.
Swiftly memory was John Albin and Louis Newman. [00:13:00] They were hacking on like decoupled stuff for, for Drupal. And I just walked in and said like, Hey I can help. Who needs help? And they were like, yeah. Hey, great. Um, do you have Internet Explorer six? And I was like, sure, I didn't have one, but I knew how to install it on my computer.
So I downloaded it and I tested their code and I found some bugs and I just get in the head. I had no idea what I'm doing. Like really, like I just walked into a room and said I can help. And at I changed the code and I, if you fixed it and they just told me, yeah, just push it up there. That's just how you create the patch.
And I created the patch on the Drupal.org website and yeah, I was like, okay, I guess that's it. Then like on the next day there was the full code sprint with everybody. And then like Dries went on stage and live committed something. And he said, yeah. And we have this really cool, really cool commit or of this contribution.
And like, please come on stage [00:14:00] Michael, and John, Lewis. And it was like, okay, I guess, stage. And then that was the first responsive commit into Drupal Core to make Bartik responsive. So, and I had no idea, like I just, I just worked on some code and helped and, and that was really like, and that was, for me, it wasn't two ways changing or like this changed my look at how these people there that were clearly like they've worked on something really, really important. They allowed somebody that they've never met before that they've never seen before that she had just added to their team and said, sure, you want to help here do it, this and this, just this openness. And, and also the, I would say the simplicity that it is. That if you, if like, if you really want to change something, or if you really believe into something you can get the code change in and you can [00:15:00] trigger something that I really think that like this, like as soon as Drupal said, we are going to be responsive and we show it with actually having code that is responsive in the core yeah.
That this like then started other themes and everybody to start to look into responsive and continue there.
[00:15:19] Michael Meyers: Wow. This is a, there are so many nuggets in there, but there's a theme that I keep hearing. I spoke to Angie Byron, Webchick, in the last episode she mentioned a very similar story. She went to the Vancouver CMS Summit.
She walked in and was like, you know, people like, you know, can you help her? She's like, sure, I can help. And she's like, I had no idea what I was doing. Like, you know, it just I mean, it blows my mind. I knew each you got, you know, you two are, you know, famous prolific contributors who have done so many things to the platform.
And yet, you know, how did you get started? You both walked the room and said, yeah, I can do that. Um, and and it didn't blow up in anybody's face. It, it [00:16:00] turned into these amazing success stories. So, definitely something for people to take note of. Um, you know, I'm sure it also blows up sometimes, but, but clearly it is worth trying.
Um, and then, you know, the other, you know, this onstage, you know, the, the live code commits such a, a pretty awesome thing to watch and see, and be part of it. It's pretty cool that, that yours was the one that was done on stage. And, you know, that might sound silly to people, but I've been there and, you know, then you said, like the drumming on the table and yeah,
[00:16:37] Michael Schmid: And I really like, I really tried, like, because my experience was so good my very first time. So after every year after there was a mentor, I always tried, that the people that I mentored, so we tried to find the patch that might get to that stage. I think I got into it once that, like my team, we had it. That was a, that was a really good experience.[00:17:00]
[00:17:00] Michael Meyers: So Drupal is not a community, it's a drug and it hooks us.
[00:17:05] Michael Schmid: I don't say it too loud.
[00:17:08] Michael Meyers: No, it's that endorphin rush. And it's just, it's a good thing to be part of. Um, so this is always a tough question to ask because you, you've done so much. Is there, you know, is there something that stands out to you as I'm, you know I'm really proud of this particular item?
[00:17:31] Michael Schmid: There are many of course, like you say, but I think if I need to choose one, it's all the work around the Drupal 8 multilingual initiative.
And so for the people that don't really know, in Drupal 7, if you wanted to build a multilingual web, core had support for multilingual, but very, very rudimentary. And so you actually have to install 27 additional contrib modules to have a site that is [00:18:00] completely multi-lingual. So that means that everything, it can be a completely different language.
That means from the UI, but also the backend and all the, all the storage solutions and different like versions of different co and notes and all that stuff. And Gabor Hojtsy he really said, Hey, this is way too crazy. And we see Drupal used all over the world in all different types of languages. Let's fix this.
And he started the initiative and we got it down to four modules, I think, or three that were all in core. So we basically re-architected the whole system, took all these 27 modules and bake them into three core modules that you can install and in this or not. And so that was, that was the end goal of the whole initiative.
And that was really the first time that I was part of something longer. Like it's not just one patch where you fix one thing, it's this whole working on it. And, and what was really nice is this. Like every [00:19:00] DrupalCon, and code sprint, and camp. I went, you always worked on this, like you had this end goal and you worked on it together and you saw people joining this little group of maybe 20 people that worked on this, like most of the time.
And you saw people coming and leaving and other people helping out then like, within like some of the people that I worked with there they are today. They are core contributors to core. So that's really nice to see like, how this, like, how how this went on and yeah, there are now today core maintainers and, and work on it and stuff like that.
So that's, if I need to choose one thing, that's really the piece. And also specifically that I know that every Drupal site that runs multi-lingual has code of mine running like, and and there is, there's also really cool. Like there's, somewhere at some point after Drupal 8 came out, there was all these people coming to the multilingual sprints because there were sometimes [00:20:00] specific sprints just for multi-lingual and they came in and this is like, how happy they are that now it is so much easier to run it multilingual to run Drupal multilingual.
And that's really what I - that's what made you really proud is that all these people, sometimes even from like, big companies coming to you and thanking you for the code that you wrote. So that's really cool.
[00:20:23] Michael Meyers: It's really amazing to see your code power the internet. I mean, and not like, you know, that sounds like silly to say, but Drupal powers, you know, several percentage points of the internet.
And so, I mean, that's gotta be pretty fulfilling to know that. and I, I think I suppressed the fact that I, like, as you were saying, 20 modules, I started like, I was like, oh yeah, I remember that. Oh yeah. And now it's so easy. Like you forget about how crazy it used to be and now it could possibly have worked that way.
[00:20:55] Michael Schmid: Yeah, exactly.
[00:20:59] Michael Meyers: So we've talked [00:21:00] about, you know, some of the great things you know, we've all learned a lot along the way. If you were to look back at some of your contributions, is there one that you wish you could erase out of history or that you look back on and you're like, oh God, I can't believe I did that.
[00:21:18] Michael Schmid: Probably if you would ask me to look at the code specifically, then yes, I will definitely find like lines or decisions we took that we just didn't have all the information at that point. Or like you, you assumed or now you know that it's not correct. Um, but I don't have like. I can't tell you one specific thing that I'm aware of.
I'm a person that very much looks into the future. So if something is committed in core, it's there. Okay. Let's focus on the next thing. So I don't have one specific thing.
[00:21:49] Michael Meyers: Fair enough. Uh, how about if, if there's one thing you learned along the way in, in creating code for Drupal, is there something that you wish people had [00:22:00] told you up front that would have saved you?
A lot of pain and heartbreak?
[00:22:05] Michael Schmid: Maybe not so much pain, but time. Like, I, I had many times where, like I tried to fix multiple things in one, like in one patch, because you're working on one thing and then you find another broken thing and you're like, oh yeah, let's just also do this. And then you find another thing and you do this and then you have a patch and you have to go to like two, either Gabor or Webchick and you show them the patch.
Yeah, that's all great. But remove this and this, this, this, so now you added it and now you have to remove it again because it just like, we have this understanding that you fix one thing in one patch, because that you can roll back. Everybody can understand what it does, but if you add too much to it, it's, it gets very messy, very fast.
And so, yeah, I spent many hours of like adding stuff that I was very proud just to then have to like remove it from the patch again I could still use the code and the change and create the separate [00:23:00] issue in a separate patch. But yeah, that was many times that I just tried to do too much at once. And Drupal is, very focused on doing one thing at a time.
And so that's probably a thing that, and I honestly like this also has to do. life or with for work in general. I think that's one thing I learned there. Um, and you will probably hear me many times of if I do code reviews for my team at Amazee.io. And then it was like, yeah, that's nice, but let's, let's separate this.
Let's have it separate. And that's definitely something I've learned. And maybe if I have a known before I would have spent less time in refactoring code.
[00:23:40] Michael Meyers: I think it's a life lesson for sure. That's as you were saying that I was like, oh, you know I think that that's something that I, I forget too often, even like a, I remember a few years ago I started getting into like you know, Raspberry PI and like hardware.
Cause like everything we do is virtual, it doesn't exist. So that'd be super cool to start like, building physical things. And I like [00:24:00] jumped in the deep end and it was like a nightmare. And then like, I, you know, I was like forced out of frustration to like build like a little piece and then build another piece and build another piece.
And it went from like insanely frustrating and like, you know, to like, you know, it's, it's like that solving that problem in code that like great feeling and you just, you know, those building blocks and it's, it's so hard, especially when, you know, you've been doing these things for a really long time, you know, when you think, you know them and you take on a new problem.
And so I constantly have to remind myself of exactly that, you know, take a little piece and, and build on it. Um, So, what do you think the best part, like, what's the best part about being part of the Drupal community?
[00:24:47] Michael Schmid: It's really the people, like, a thousand percent. And if I say people, I actually mean friends.
Like, just so many people that I've met that I [00:25:00] really consider friends of mine that I've met through Drupal community and they live all over the world. And like, just, and also just like, like, you don't know really each other. Like if I ask people that are not so active in the community, I like, describe your friends.
And they say like, oh, I've known that person since 20 years, I went to school together and things like that. And what I describe as friends, specifically of the Drupal community. Yeah. I've met them three times in my life. But I really trust them. Are they also trust me like trust with like, I, I lived for, for one and a half years, I lived in or, we traveled and my fiance and I Ruth, we traveled in an Airstream all over the US and anywhere in any city that we knew somebody from the Drupal community.
And I was like, Hey, can we leave our trailer here for a day or two? And they're like, yeah, sure. And do you need to like, come and like use my [00:26:00] house as much as you want, do you need to do some laundry? And like, it's just like, fully trusting, happy people that just know I will do the same for them if they would ask.
And I think that's, that's just something that I've never experienced outside of Drupal or outside of online communities. Where there's this immediate bond and trust and believe in the help- helping each other that in the normal world, I don't think exists too much. And I don't know why, but it's just like, there is this common understanding that we, we like each other immediately.
[00:26:43] Michael Meyers: Yeah, no, I there's something special about the Drupal community in particular. I've been a part of a lot of technology communities and Drupal has that thing that I, you know, I, I can't put my finger on it, but I think everyone in the community has [00:27:00] experienced it in some way, you know, that people have gone out of their way or, you know, you put a, you put a, the way you phrased it.
I've always thought about it. Like I've met you, you know, you know, whenever I met you like a, you know, a couple of times, but I've known you for 20 years, you know, or I, you know, I see you twice a year, but I care so much about you. It's, it's this, it's this amazing bond that you have with people that you don't form normally in society.
Um, and it's, it's really special to Drupal and and Drupal, has an amazing number of special people. It's pretty wild. Um, so do you have a a favorite Drupal memory or experience.
[00:27:47] Michael Schmid: I think there are two that really stand out to me. The first one was the DrupalCon Copenhagen, the first DrupalCon that I went. And just like walking into a room with like [00:28:00] 1,500 people sitting in like stadium seating and just all like listening to one person talking and like, decide like explaining things and, and just like, and I think the closing keynote, we all sang together.
I think, I think there's, there's, there's, there's a Drupal song. Like you can be the module to my theme, or you can be my theme to my module or something like it's a Drupal love song. And I think like a thousand people sang this together, About the PHP framework, like a PHP CMS. It's just like telling you this sounds so strange, but being in it, this was like this.
Okay. We're all, we're all doing something together here. And so that's, that's like, and for me in what's my first DrupalCon and I had no idea what to expect. Like I, I've been at tech conferences before. But [00:29:00] not like one like that, where everybody was so happy and worked together on these things. And yeah, really pulled all on the same, like on the same on the same side, I really felt.
And so that was, that was my first one. The second one is probably Drupal Dev Days in Szeged. So there was a DrupalCon in Szeged, and then there was another Drupal Dev Days. And what was really cool about that is because Szeged is quite small and there were like 200 people and Szeged it like really a sleepy town.
And we basically took over the town completely like as Drupal day event. So like, if you went out in the evening to any restaurant you saw like 90% of the restaurants are other Drupal people. So I felt like, yeah, we have, like, we don't really have, like, we have a Drupal town now and it's Szeged. That was really cool.
Um, yeah, because you could really like, yeah, with just with a decent amount of [00:30:00] people you can take over the small town completely. And that was, that was a lot of fun and it felt, so it felt like summer camp or something like, like even more like all the other Drupal events, they also feel like summer camp, but that one was another level because yeah, you basically own the town.
[00:30:15] Michael Meyers: It was pretty wild. I mean, we've had DrupalCons in so many amazing cities around the world and that's one of the things that I love about Drupal is, you know, I've gotten to travel the world and see the world through people's eyes. And when DrupalCon Szeged was announced, I was like, Szeged? Like not Budapest, like Szeged? Like, what's going on here?
I was really, and I was like, ah, I can't believe it. It wasn't easy to get to the long train ride. But it was one of the best DrupalCons ever, because of exactly why you said, I remember like we drank out, like there was a row of restaurants and we, like, we literally drank them out. Like we just shifted from one to the next to the next, until they were dry.
Like, it was so [00:31:00] much fun and yeah, it was like a Drupal village. It really you know expectations be damned. It was, it was definitely one of the best DrupalCons. Um, one of the things that I was really looking forward to talking to you about is, you know, you, at one point wanting to get more involved in the Drupal Association. Which I think is, is really rare and something, you know, that I think more people should hear about because most people, you know aren't giving time to the DA and it is so critical to Drupal..
Um, and it's done, you know, it's only become more critical to Drupal over the last, you know, 20 years. And so um, you know, what made you, you know, you you've been involved in so many different things. What made you want to get, you know, involved in the DA?
[00:31:51] Michael Schmid: Yeah, it was really about like, representing other ideas or cultures.
When I went to the first Drupal [00:32:00] Camps and Cons in Europe. And as I was quite involved in code contributions, like we spent a lot of time together. Like DrupalCon was not just three days DrupalCon started like four days before, went on the three days and then you sprinted again another three or four days.
So I spent a lot of time with a lot of people. And specifically in Europe, there was always this feel that. The Drupal Association was all American based and it was. Like, they didn't have a lot of people that were European. And so it always felt like we, from Europe, we never really felt represented in the Drupal Association.
And that totally made sense because the Drupal Association itself was a US-based association. It was much easier for them to be the same time zone. And I run a global company now, like I fully understand it, why they had most of the people at that time today. It's much better actually. But at that time, like why everybody sat in an office in [00:33:00] Portland, Oregon, like this totally made sense, but it was just this representation and the DrupalCon Europe and the DrupalCon US or North America was always different. Like, it was always how it was set up or the people that went there. Europe was way more developers. And the North American one was way more like what we would call enterprise or salesy. And I didn't really see myself represented on the board. And then I talked to other people and that time, like Amazee started to grow globally.
And we have people from South Africa. We started to have people from Latin America and they told me exactly the same. Like they said, Hey, I also don't feel represented. And, and they're specifically, like, I talked to people that asked me, like, how many DrupalCons did you go? And I was like, I was like, that was like my fifth or sixth.
And they look at you and like, like you just told them, like, you've been to the moon three times because for them, one of their life goals is to go [00:34:00] to a DrupalCon. Like. For somebody to fly or pay a ticket to like in, let's say in Africa, it sometimes it's like the cost to go to DrupalCon is like half a yearly salary.
And I was just like, so for them, it was really, really hard. And I just felt like there is not really this, not that the knowledge wasn't there in the, in the Drupal Association board. And I just wanted to bring that knowledge and because my company, we, I traveled a lot. I felt like. I could represent all these different different cultures from, because I meet these people on the regular base and I'm from Europe, myself.
So I know how Europe thinks, and that was one of the big reasons that I really wanted to bring in. Um, in the end I didn't win Sharmila won or she got elected she's from India, also like a huge community that at that point, and she also traveled around. So I, I, I was [00:35:00] super happy with just bringing more different thinking and cultures and understanding of how should things work and into the sport that I really believed.
And, and myself I then joined the advisory committee in the Drupal Association that specifically advised the event organizers on how to organize DrupalCon Europe. So I helped there. And so this whole idea of like outsourcing it to Kuoni and stuff like that, that this was all done. During the advisory committee ideas on how to make this more Europe.
And I really believe today, the DrupalCon Europe's are much more built by Europe itself. And just with the name, DrupalCon on top of it.
[00:35:46] Michael Meyers: Yeah. It's pretty amazing. DrupalCon came out of Europe, the original Drupal Association was out of Europe, and then, you know, we kinda, we, we fell pretty hard the other way.
So it's great to hear that that things are bouncing back. [00:36:00] Um, you know, we have benefited so much professionally through Drupal, you know, and you talked about how, you know, personally made a lot of friends. What is the biggest impact that Drupal has had on you?
[00:36:15] Michael Schmid: Yeah, the biggest one is I met my fiance through Drupal.
Um, so I met Ruth first in DrupalCon Portland then again, in DrupalCon Prague. And then again, during BadCamp, I traveled to Portland because San Francisco and Portland is pretty close. Yeah. That was all Drupal. Like if without Drupal, we would not live today together, have a dog together, have a house together.
I would probably not have moved like from Switzerland to the U S so yeah, that's single way to make us state by like, it literally changed my whole life and that's that's that's definitely like the biggest one. Um, in other ones, I think, [00:37:00] um, Yeah, I just met so many people and I have, I really believe I have a better understanding of different cultures in the world through Drupal because I've met so many people.
Um, and not only cultures, but also like, like I've met people with disabilities that I probably would have never myself had the courage to be very honest, to talk to these people and try to understand them. But just because I knew we have this common understanding of Drupal. It just, I feel it made me a person that understands more about other people.
[00:37:34] Michael Meyers: Yeah, no, I think that's the thing that I've gotten the most. I've talked about that a couple of times in the show. I, I liked the way that you described it. I've always said like a global citizen. Uh, but I think that's a better way of describing it as I see the world through other people's perspectives in a way that I didn't before.
And I feel connected to the world in a way that I hadn't been before. It's really made me a better [00:38:00] person. Grow as a person. Um, I, I, it's amazing, you know, I, there are many people that have met their partners through Drupal, which is, is really wonderful to see there's been a Drupal wedding., a there is a wedding in DrupalCon so maybe you guys could, could do that i don't know.
[00:38:17] Michael Schmid: I suggested it, but it was very fastly declined, but that's okay.
But there are people there, like, we obviously invite people from Drupal to our wedding, but yeah, it's not going to be at DrupalCon, sorry..
[00:38:38] Michael Meyers: Um, so one thing I do want to talk about you know, we don't have too much more time left, but this is a really important topic. Um, you know, Drupal has been around for 20 years. Uh, our professional lives, our personal lives have benefited so much from it. We want to see it have a thriving future. Um, what do you think the biggest threat is to Drupal right now?[00:39:00]
[00:39:01] Michael Schmid: Yeah, I think the biggest threat to Drupal right now is that Drupal is good in a lot of things at the same time. And I think that's its biggest threat. And to elaborate this, now as a hosting company, we see what is happening in other CMSs or other frameworks. So interesting general, how companies are thinking about their websites and what I can see, and it just doesn't go away.
So, and I think Drupal because it can do both, like, because Drupal comes with a [00:40:00] front-end layer out of the box that is not based on, on, on these, on these frameworks. It's based on PHP code that is running in server side and then sends HTML to the browser. And it can also do all the CMS, the actual content management stuff.
So modeling of content, displaying content, permissions, workflows, multi-lingual all these things. So this all has to do with managing content. We try to do, but Drupal does both at the same time. And I, like going back to Amazee, I think or Amazee.com at the time. I think we're trying to do two things and do both of them only like 50%.
Um, and at the same time, like if you look into schools and all these new companies that are coming up, they're all using React and all these tools. And if you show them Drupal, they install Drupal. And the first thing they see is a theme. And they say like, Nope, I don't need that. I already have a theme.
Like I don't need the, I just need, and they don't [00:41:00] realize that Drupal can actually be run by headless, but the headless is not the default. So I really think we are. We should rethink how we present or how we market Drupal to the world. Um, that Drupal can be the perfect CMS and I truly believe that Drupal today is the best CMS out there that you can, that you can get as open source.
And it still is, and it will be for a long time, but unfortunately where Drupal is marketed as this one solution with front-end everything already together, and that's going to hurt us. So that's a threat to us. So I really. I believe that we should have better examples on how to use Gatsby, maybe even ship a version that has ,of Drupal itself that has no front-end layer. That has it disabled.
And that just for the editing interface, maybe still, but that [00:42:00] like by default, it comes for Gatsby or for React, or for Vue. So that if you go to Drupal, download Drupal. It asks you which flavor of Drupal do you want. And that I think would really allow Drupal to really, really focus on what it's really, really good at.
What is the content management, it's literally called a content management system. And I think that's, it will be a radical change. It will be quite a massive change because I know there's all these people that work on making the front end better and the front end layer better. And I don't want to discourage, or I don't want to say that that's wrong, but I just, I can see.
From what is happening outside of our Drupal bubble, like all these companies on all these projects, they're all started with these decoupled sites and, and I've been part myself on many projects and it's makes so much sense to completely separate how you display the data, to how you manage the data. So that's, I really believe we have to [00:43:00] do this in the next couple of years or Drupal
maybe will be taken over by some other open source tool that just focuses on specifically the content management stuff. And does this better than what Drupal does. We have a huge advantage as a Drupal community. Like I've tried other CMS - open source CMS, and they come nowhere close to the capability of Drupal, but it's just a matter of time that some other tool is going to rise up and will be better at Drupal.
And then it's completely over.
[00:43:31] Michael Meyers: Yeah. Yeah, we got a, we have a lot going for it, but we got to keep pushing ahead on these things and, and I would agree, you know, there there's a, again, I liked the way you put it. We have some marketing and promotional and positioning challenges because it's not that technology can't do it.
Its just that people don't associate Drupal with it. Or, you know, like I've been to you know, when you could go to events back in the day. Like, I remember going to events and like, you know, like startup hackathons [00:44:00] and things, and like, no one used Drupal, no, like no one even considered it. Like it wasn't in their, you know, their mind frame.
And they come like scoff, I would say, like, I'm curious, like, why did you. You could've used Drupal and done 10 times as much in, in, in the time that you had and, you know, and they just, you know, oh, it's, it's PHP, it's, it's, it's monolithic. You know, it has a lot of you know Fud around it that, you know, that we need to kind of kill and, and and address.
And you can do all of these things with it. And it's just about better position and packaging, both from a code standpoint, the packaging, and from like a go to market standpoint. Um, so a quick lightning round just to, to wrap us up who are your Drupal mentors?
[00:44:50] Michael Schmid: I would definitely say Gabor Hotjsy. Um, he was the lead of Drupal 8 multilingual initiative and I've learned a lot of him and then also Web Chick [00:45:00] because she was always like, if you have any, if you had any questions, she always found time to explain it to you and, and learn.
And she, yeah, she was always very humble and then also xjm, also very similar to just like a person that it didn't matter, which time of the day that you found her in, in a code sprint room. And she maybe didn't sleep for many, many hours, but if you had a question, they sat down and helped you and explain it to you.
As many times, you needed to know.
[00:45:34] Michael Meyers: Three amazing people. Favorite Drupal module.
[00:45:38] Michael Schmid: I definitely think the translation management tools or TMGMT because it's a whole tool that we created from scratch. I was involved from wherever there was zero line of code to now, today it's a whole suite of handling your transaction management stuff.
So that was that. That's definitely a piece I'm proud of.
[00:45:56] Michael Meyers: And where do you go to learn about a Drupal when [00:46:00] you are looking to catch up on news or ?
[00:46:03] Michael Schmid: Mostly actually on events? I feel like at the events I, I hear, I met them meet the most people and I talk to them if there's no event either just Drupal Twitter, like following the people there.
Um, that mostly, and then I don't have a specific flavor of podcasts, but I think all the ones that are specifically focused on Drupal, they're all great. So, enter Drupal in your podcast app and listen to them.
[00:46:32] Michael Meyers: Wait. Wait, did you say Tag1 Team Talks is your favorite?
[00:46:34] Michael Schmid: Yeah, I mean, it always comes on top. I don't know why I always listened to that one first.
[00:46:43] Michael Meyers: Alrighty. To wrap us up. Uh, who should I interview next?
[00:46:54] Michael Schmid: I don't know. I don't know. I think you there are [00:47:00] so many awesome people out there and I think all of them, I would say should review all of them because I think everybody has such unique stories and, and ideas and experiences and yeah, capturing all of them will be great because this, this is truly a unique community.
And so, and I think everybody's voices should be heard.
[00:47:24] Michael Meyers: That's a great answer. I wish I could do this every day. I'm trying to limit it to like one a week. Max two. There are so many amazing people. I want to see, and because we haven't been able to do events. It's so great to get, to see everybody and catch up. Uh, Michael, I want to thank you so much for joining me today to all of our viewers and listeners.
We really appreciate you joining us as well. Uh, if you like this talk, please remember to subscribe and share it out. You can check out all of our interviews in this series that tag1.com/twenty, as well as our past Tag1 Team Talks, Michael's favorite podcast and blog [00:48:00] at tag1.com/talks. Um, as always we'd love your input, feedback suggestions, folks that you want to see us interview.
You can write to us at firstname.lastname@example.org. That's tag the number 1.com. Thank you so much for joining us. Take care.
[00:48:17] Michael Schmid: Thank you. Bye-bye.