On June 8 and 9, I attended the Lead Developer UK conference for the first time. Its unique format allowed us to learn about leading and motivating teams in the tech industry from experts.Josef Dabernig Thu, 06/15/2017 - 12:38
The Lead Developer conference was my first non-Drupal conference in quite some time and I’m happy to write that I picked the right one. Not only could I learn and verify a lot of thoughts about leadership but it also gave me a new set of role models to be inspired by.
The outstanding single-track program featured blocks of 3 sessions, most of them around 30 minutes with some shorter ones of around 10 minutes and some longer ones up to 50 minutes. Let me share a few of my personal highlights:
Patrick Kua – The Constant Life of a Tech Lead kicked off the conference by reminding us about the basics of leadership in tech and that we should focus on values and principles rather than tools or implementation details. People are unique, they differ and we need to find the right approach depending on the situation. It is especially important to help your team as much as possible by providing the necessary context to accomplish their goals, which is often forgotten in my experience.Constant Life of a Tech Lead from Patrick Kua
Katherine Wu – Ask vs. Guess Culture Communication brought back the idea of how differently people “tick”. Are you a more upfront person that prefers a clear communication style with others, or are you more on the side that expects someone to read between the lines and work based on assumptions? I definitely find myself more on the guess culture side and knowing that this is not how everyone works already helps a lot.
Anjuan Simmons – Leadership Lessons from the Agile Manifesto gave a very personal track record of how he mastered leadership for himself and his teams. Working with a hero analogy, Anjuan mentioned that as tech leads we get called for the adventure, we get mentored with wisdom and are provided gifts to finally approach the boss level and return to improve the ordinary world. A tech lead guides other people on paths they have already taken. How does Anjuan motivate his team? At any cost, he will try to preserve the dignity of each team member and therefore earn their trust to together iterate and improve.
Erika Carlson – Better: Fearless Feedback for Software Teams provided helpful insights for one of the topics I most struggle with: giving good feedback. Aside from the general feedback categories: positive to encourage and constructive to improve, there’s also a category that is often missed not considered. “Passive feedback” means that you don’t give feedback at all and that also mean something to your peers. Giving the right amount of feedback in time is critical to any healthy relationship. I also liked to find out about 360 feedback and the idea of having a dedicated #thanks slack channel to collectively practice appreciation.Better - Fearless Feedback for Software Teams from Erika Carlson
Nickolas Means – The Original Skunk Works concluded the first day. It was a detailed look at the history of the aircraft manufacturer that showed what incredible achievements they could make based on Kelly’s 14 Rules. Providing a system to innovate and release quickly (continuous integration & deployments) was critical to the success of this team.
The slides for all of the talks are available and I added the links to them above. On top of the inspiring talks, the conference had some more features I really liked too. Meri Williams was hosting the conference in a well-organized and entertaining way and followed up on a code of conduct issue in a constructive way. The conference also had a live captioning feature of all the talks on a screen, which helped me follow the massive flow of audio information and was even entertaining at times.June 8, 2017
Next week, let’s follow up with a summary of day 2 and conclusions for The Lead Developer UK conference.
Adds a page for creating a product display node with products consisting of product bundles, based on some assumptions:
- Only one product per bundle product.
- No pricing rules.
- SKUs are auto-generated.
You can adjust the settings for which field holds the products, and which node type is the content type for the product display.
This module compresses data that is serialized for the expirable key-value and cache storage, in order to mitigate the problem of database max_packet_size errors.
For now, only zlib compression is supported.
How to use simplytest.me, to evaluate drupal projects online?heykarthikwithu Thursday, 15 June 2017 - 08:50:40 - IST, Asia/Kolkata
"Our new avatars are built with inclusivity absolutely in mind," said Microsoft's Kathryn Storm at E3 today. "We want people to feel like we have endless options to really reflect who they are." ...
This is significant if you're at all interested in developing or supporting eSports, since Yahoo's eSports arm was a potentially valuable place for getting coverage and building your game's community. ...
myDropWizard.com: Efficiently Manage Events on Your Drupal Site in a Way That Even an Intern Can Do!
When you're running your non-profit, there is so much to do: basically an unlimited amount of work, right? Board meetings, fund-raising - and then there's the actual world-changing work you signed-up to do!
Our ongoing series of helpful tips (click here to subscribe via e-mail) continues today with some help on how to efficiently manage one of the most common and important aspects of any non-profit: EVENTS.
In this article, we'll talk about how to setup events in Drupal, and at the end, there's a video tutorial showing the process step-by-step.
Read more to see how!
Welcome to the second installment of Gnome Spotlight, where we highlight gamers doing good.
Today I’m excited to share the really cool programs and practices of a convention that consistently gets rave reviews: Big Bad Con. It’s a tabletop and live action gaming convention, boasting a wide variety of RPGs, larps, and card/board games. It’s held in California’s Bay Area each October, where they hold games in traditional conference room spaces and ballrooms, but also rent out dozens of hotel rooms for private gaming, which sounds really cool.
Big Bad Con is Kickstarting NOW and will end its 2017 fundraiser on Thursday, June 22nd.
I spoke with the Steward of Big Bad Con, Sean Nittner, about how BBC has made a really positive atmosphere through the meta-game “Big Bad World,” and about how BBC is working to make its con a more diverse, inclusive, and welcoming space.
- Big Bad Con is a “tabletop gaming convention dedicated to making a safe & welcoming place for all gamers, particularly gamers who are in marginalized & mistreated groups.”
- You can help by:
- Attending, and be excellent to one another! Back the Kickstarter to get a badge now, or apply for their scholarship program for financial assistance.
- Donating to support their programs! You can back the Kickstarter, at a variety of pledge levels (support the scholarship fund, play an online game with big-name designers, or get a box full of swag with Baba Yaga’s Mystery Box). You can also donate directly to Big Bad Con, and in both cases BBC is a 501(c)3 nonprofit charity, so your donations are tax-deductible.
When you’re awesome to someone, Mark XP. The RPG Apocalypse World has proved to be eminently hack-able, with its elegant components such as its core mechanic, Agendas, Principles, and Moves. Big Bad Con must be one of the first to turn this system into a meta-game, however. Attendees can get playbooks that they can “level up” by doing good over the course of the con.
This idea came about when Sean and his team were brainstorming over Big Bad Con’s Community Standards – how could they make their community standards less negative?
“Nathan [Black] realized early on that we have these community standards and things we don’t want people to do (harassment, abuse, intimidation, etc.). I wanted to give people something to do, something to be proactive about. For some folks, it feels like dancing on eggshells. So instead of a list of things you don’t do, how about a list of things you do do.”
“I don’t remember which of us said this, but one of us was like ‘When you’re awesome to someone, Mark XP.'” This is the lingo for gaining experience in Apocalypse World-powered games. Cue mind-explosion animation. “So we just sat there for the next few hours talking about the opposite of microagressions; micro-niceties: pulling up a chair for somebody, introducing someone, welcoming someone to your table, teaching someone how to play a new game.”
And so Big Bad World was born, and further developed by other BBC staff and playtesters.
Principles, Moves, and Marking XP. On one side the playbook lists the Principles that every player/attendee should uphold: Think about the wellbeing of those around you, Shine the spotlight on your fellow players. On the other side are a series of actions, these “micro-niceties,” for which players can gain experience (“Mark XP”). Some are universal Basic Moves: help someone be awesome or answer someone’s question about the game. Other moves are playbook-specific; for instance, an Ambassador can mark XP when they help someone find their game or introduce someone to a group of people. An Explorer marks XP when they play a game you’ve never played before, and the Mage marks XP when they teach someone how to play a game. As you level up, you can turn in your successful playbooks for a shiny pin and the opportunity to work on other playbooks with different roles.
Proactive micro-niceties. The first year Big Bad World was implemented, it was met with great excitement. “These are all things we would love for people to do, and it’s all things people feel like they can do, especially if they’re given explicit permission to do it.” Shy attendees may want to introduce people or pull up a chair for someone, but may not be bold enough to do it unprompted. This meta-game gives them that permission and confidence to take an active role in creating a welcoming environment.
Big Bad World is continuing to grow and improve at BBC, and has already spawned hacks of its own: Flying While Trans by Vera Vartanian (soon to be on DriveThruRPG), and Ettin Con’s Team Player. “I’m just delighted to see people take whatever positive things they want folks to do at their convention to make it more fun for everyone there, and rewarding it. However you do that, that’s cool.”Diversity, Inclusivity, and Accessibility
Two goals of an inclusive con is getting people there and supporting people once they’re at the con. Apart from Big Bad World, BBC approaches these goals in three interesting ways I want to talk about.Teen Track: The Family That Games Together Levels Together
In 2016, Big Bad Con tried out a Teen Track of gaming: an entire room of the convention filled with games run by adults and teens. Player spots were prioritized for teens, but filled in with some adults as well. Prior to this, teens weren’t able to attend the con because the staff didn’t feel they could assure parents that teens would encounter only appropriate material for their age level.
I have a very strong belief in gaming’s ability to teach empathy and allow people to explore things that they wouldn’t feel safe exploring otherwise, and to build bonds between people. When I asked Sean about his motivation for the teen track, he said “the selfish reason is that I have a teenager now, and I want them to be able to come to my con! It’s been rough for me because they’ve been around and helping me plan the con; in fact they even named it! We were sitting around the house thinking of what the con should be and we had all these different ideas, and my then 7-year-old said “What about Big Bad Con”?” The name stuck.
Besides Sean’s selfish reason, “the two big reasons were 1) to allow families to attend, and 2) to bring up a new generation of gamer. I have a very strong belief in gaming’s ability to teach empathy and allow people to explore things that they wouldn’t feel safe exploring otherwise, and to build bonds between people. I think that’s fantastic exposure for kids to have.”Outreach Program: Getting Local Teens Into Gaming
Big Bad Con opened its doors to teens last year, most of whom had been introduced to tabletop gaming before. This year, the team hopes to bring gaming to new teens with their outreach program. Prior to and after BBC 2017, local GMs and BBC staff will go to teen spaces (schools, libraries) and run games for a classroom of students there.
What are the barriers to local people coming to the con? “My hope with the outreach program is that we can introduce the con to local teenagers in high school, and because we have the scholarship to support them and have the BBC teens track, we can say: ‘Hey, hope you had a great time this afternoon playing games with us. If this is something you’d like to do more of, here’s a convention where you can play games for 3 days straight. And, if you use some financial assistance, here’s a scholarship program we can help you apply to.'”
“It’s hopefully another piece in the puzzle of making the con more accessible for people, particularly on the awareness and financial axes.”
Better representation. Another motivator for the outreach program is to include a greater diversity of people at the con. “I think we have done a really good job making the con friendly towards women & queer folk. I feel like the area we are failing in, in terms of representation and diversity, is more people of color being at the con. That’s a direct reason for the outreach program.” The BBC staff would like to see better representation of the local demographics at the con: “If you go to any area in the Bay Area, you see tons of black and latinx people, and then you come the con…” Not so much.
Many of the people of color currently attending the con are coming from outside of the Bay Area, which on one hand is lovely, but on the other hand, Sean says “I think to myself, what are the barriers to local people coming to the con? Part of it is exposure, but then a huge other part of it is money & class divides. It’s very expensive to go to a convention. The con is the cheapest part; the hotel, travel, eating out is really pricey.” Here enters the Big Bad Con scholarship fund.Scholarship Fund: Supporting Members Of Underrepresented Groups
There are amazing bonds and connections that are forged at cons that you won’t find at other places. The Big Bad Con scholarship fund goes toward the costs of the BBC badge, hotel room, and travel to help “financially challenged women, people of color, disabled, and lgbtqia+ individuals attend the con.” It’s supported by the Kickstarter pledge level “Big Bad Scholarship” which starts at $20, as well as some individual donations. Sean says “It’s simple, there’s not a lot to it really, but it’s one of the things I’m the most proud of that we do at the con.”
Why would you want to support such a thing, even if you’re not attending? “I think there are amazing bonds and connections that are forged at cons that you won’t find at other places. Many of my best friends I’ve met at conventions; many of my best experiences have been at conventions.” There’s a personal satisfaction that comes with helping out as well – “To give people the opportunity to not just play the games, but to make those connections with others is huge. If you have the means to help someone else do that, it’s a pretty amazing feeling. We start the pledge level at $20, but frankly that goes a huge way towards making that kind of connection possible for people.”
Chipping in as a community. There are lots of other cons that have programs similar to this, but it’s very effective. BBC modeled their scholarship fund after Con or Bust, a non-profit that “help[s] fans of color go to SFF cons and be their own awesome selves.” Individuals sometimes run GoFundMes to support their travel to a con, which can also be effective, but on an institutional level, Sean says “I really like the communal nature of “Let’s throw a bunch of money in a pot and let’s see how many people we can get out to the con” And figure out who can room together, how much needs to get covered, to try to get as many people out there as possible.”
So far, the fund has been able to help out everyone who has applied, though not to the level they wish they could support each person. Whether you’re attending BBC or not, consider supporting such a great cause!Big Bad Con: Kickstarting NOW!
“In today’s world, where I feel like a lot of things are crappy, BBC is one of the things I feel very good about, and that I feel like myself and the staff can really make a difference and a great place for a few days. And in fact we want to extend that to not just be a few days. We have the outreach program, and we have “Big Bad Online”, a pledge level you can back at to play games online with cool designers.”
Consider brightening the gaming world by attending Big Bad Con and supporting it on Kickstarter before it ends in a few days, on Thursday, June 22nd! As of the writing of this article, there are still some REALLY cool pledge levels, such as:
- Big Bad Scholarship – donate directly to the scholarship fund, starting at just $20.
- Big Bad Online (currently sold out, though keep checking back!) – For $60, play an online game with a big-name game designer sometime before the con.
- Immortal Hero – For $100, have a private game room named after you or a cause you’d like to support, which will be displayed on a banner in the room thanking you!
- Baba Yaga’s Mystery Box (currently only 3 left!) -Get mailed a box of really unique, cool swag! Sean says “A dozen or so contributors are making cool things: some art, some crafty bits. It’s really fun – last year people loved what they got, and this year is way better. This year we recruited artists for custom art!”
- And “everybody who contributes at all gets put on the big Hall of Heroes!
Find out more about Big Bad Con:
What do you love abut conventions you attend? What would you love to see in the future? Have any of you gnomes attended Big Bad Con, or too afraid of that big ol’ wolf?
Jacob Rockowitz: Coming to an agreement within the Drupal community and sponsoring a Webform feature
Hi, my name is Jacob Rockowitz and I'm the individual responsible for maintaining the Webform module for Drupal 8. Two weeks ago, I posted Where Do We Come From? What Are We? Where Are We Going? documenting my journey and experience building and maintaining the the Webform module for Drupal 8. My goal was to document the current state of the Webform module, while simultaneously planning for the project’s future growth and sustainability. One of the steps toward accomplishing this is an idea I put together called "Sponsor a Feature".
"Sponsor a Feature" is a process encouraging organizations to hire Open-source software maintainers and contributors to build features and fix issues that directly impact a company's project. Two key concepts behind "Sponsor a Feature": all work would be open source and the sponsoring organization would pay for tangible and immediate results directly to the working individuals.
I feel that selling "Sponsor a Feature" to the Drupal community is going to be an uphill climb, especially because no one can technically sell Drupal. In other words, no one is used to paying directly for open source work. For now, I am going to tread lightly when talking about "Sponsor a Feature". For example, last week, I wrote about how Crowdfunding does not help grow Drupal's community to explore the different ways people are currently funding open source development. On Twitter, Adam Bergstein (@n3rdstein) and I began a conversation about how an organization might pay a project maintain/developer.
Putting together an agreement that pays a developer to deliver...Read More
Simple Podcast is just that - a simple module for quickly setting up one or more podcasts within your Drupal site, and immediately having an iTunes compatible xml podcast feed, no coding or extensive configuration required.Alternatives to this Module
While we think this module is the simplest solution, there are other ways to achieve the same end goal:
Elevated Third’s namesake is rooted in company culture. It comes from the art world and refers to the experience one has when looking at a particularly moving or captivating piece of art. When you have a “get it” moment—that flash of understanding—an elevated third experience is created between the medium and you, the viewer.
At Elevated Third, a Denver website agency focusing on Drupal, we strive to replicate this experience for our clients, our partners, and our employees.Our Culture
Our culture and work ethic is based on an idea that the right environment can foster incredible talent. We don’t exclusively hire people who fit a job description, instead we hire people who are smart enough to grow into their own description. We choose employees based on their aptitude to overachieve. Then, we observe. We figure out what said employee is particularly good at and we create a job description around their strengths.
This practice is easier said than done. It requires a scaffolding of actionable core values and exceptional hires who allow their peers to be vulnerable. Because, of course, learning means making mistakes.
Ultimately, it is an environment of support, vulnerability, and observation that allows us to foster talent instead of hire it based on a list of requirements and a resume. The results: employees who feel important, who produce great work, and who are happy to work hard.
On top of all the standard agency perks like snacks and foosball, our new core values are essential to establishing and maintaining our internal culture here at Elevated Third. They are the guidelines for personal success. Following them is the best way to be successful at our Denver website agency. When our employees are successful, the company will prosper. Establishing the core values in late 2016 has had a direct impact on the business success we have seen thus far in 2017.
When we first got together to determine our core values, we knew it was not going to be a simple process. We had to get it right, and we had to take the time to carefully craft each value.
We started by listing attributes that we believe make our employees successful. Things like accountability, effectiveness, work ethic, engagement, curiosity, positive energy, empathy, confidence, and thoughtfulness to name just a small sampling. For the next few months, we boiled down our list and crafted them into similar groupings. From these groups, the five values that we have now started to make themselves clear. It was a long, sometimes tedious, yet fulfilling experience.
The Elevated Third Core Values:
- Start with empathy. Respect and honesty come first. Care about our clients, our users and each other.
- Lean in and keep moving. Stay engaged, positive and persistent. Bring energy and never quit.
- Make an impact. Seek out and solve the right problems. Be fearless! Fight for the win-win.
- Be a remarkable player. Put the team first. Step up when it’s time, inspire by example.
- Own the outcome. Take responsibility for results. Embrace data celebrate effectiveness and face failures. Never stop improving.
The core values we have put in place guide all the decisions we make within our Denver website agency. They help inform everything from questions in an interview process, project decision making, peer to peer feedback, internal growth strategy, and long-term client relationships. Every single aspect of the business can be applied to the five core values. Since implementing them we are seen our decision-making process become much more focused, both short term and especially long term.
We’ve made an initiative out of preventing the typical cliched core value design. Figuring out creative ways to implement them into our everyday process has become a necessary challenge. We specifically seek out the traits that the values exemplify in our hiring process. In addition, all new hires see the exact debut presentation our company founders shared during the core values unveiling meeting.
Our core values are meant to stand against the core value bandwagoners, they run through our day-to-day, our hiring, and our attitudes.
Each and every day, we’re seeking the elevated third experience.