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The Secret Sauce, Ep. 17: Best of DrupalCon

There was a lot of positivity about Drupal this year, proven by those who work on Drupal as a platform, organizations who use Drupal, and even those who are considering Drupal.

The Secret Sauce Allison Manley with DrupalCon Guests

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There was a lot of positivity about Drupal this year, proven by those who work on Drupal as a platform, organizations who use Drupal, and even those who are considering Drupal.

We'll admit that this is pretty hand-wavey, but if you were there you'd feel it, too. There was a lot of positivity about Drupal this year, proven by those who work on Drupal as a platform, organizations who use Drupal, and even those who are considering Drupal. Virtually everyone we spoke to agreed, and, in fact, some shared such thoughts in our Best of DrupalCon podcast by Account Manager Allison Manley. Don't believe us? Give it a listen!

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Allison Manley [AM]: Hi, and welcome to the Secret Sauce, brought to you by This is our short weekly podcast where we offer a quick tip on some small thing you can do to help your business run better.

But . . . today we’re going to switch up a little bit. Last week, a number of us from Palantir and a larger number of all of us from the Drupal community were in New Orleans last week for DrupalCon 2016. So we decided to go around the room and ask everyone that they thought the best takeaway or the best thing from DrupalCon 2016 was for them. So this is a compilation of all the people I ran into randomly and got them to tell me what they thought was the best thing about DrupalCon 2016

Allison Manley [AM]: Alright, Justin McGregor of Rhodes College . . . what is your favorite thing about this year’s DrupalCon?

Justin McGregor: Oh my goodness. I was actually just in a wonderful session on personalization, about an hour ago. Personalization in Drupal, and specifically they covered a lot of modules in Drupal 7. And that’s been a goal for us early on was to work some content personalization into the site. But the great thing about a Con like this as opposed to some of the other conferences I’ve been to is just how approachable the speakers are after the fact. People go up, grab somebody as they’re coming off stage, or see them at the booth later, and really talk through the implications of some of what I’m working on . . . because everybody’s use case is different, right? And so to be able to talk through with somebody a problem like that based on a presentation you’ve just heard . . . it’s a fantastic thing to be able to do, and not all conferences allow you to do that.

Dave: My name’s Dave from Glendale Community College in Arizona. And my favorite thing about DrupalCon so far is I like interacting with all the vendors, and getting to meet all the cool people, and see all the neat things that they offer.

David: I’m David from Pantheon. My favorite thing about DrupalCon this year was all the amazing people, and the amazing parties The Pantheon party was amazing. I’m saying amazing a lot, and I’m aware of that. But that’s amazing too.

Shelley Hutchins: My name is Shelley Hutchins from MediaCurrent. My favorite thing about DrupalCon is just being on the exhibition floor and getting to talk to so many members of the Drupal community.

Chaz Chumley: Chaz Chumley, Technical Architect for ForumOne, author for Packt Publishing “Drupal 8 Theming with Twig” book. My favorite thing is this gentleman right here, who is one of the most awesome pre-keynote putter-together singers, dancers, and who looks really sexy in lamé and tights and whatever else he decides to put on for the keynote.

Campbell Vertesi: I don’t know whether to be flattered or feel awkward about that [laughs]. But I’ll be in the bar later.

My name is Campbell Vertesi “ohthehugemanatee,” and every DrupalCon I get to get up and sing, and dance and wear gold lamé. So that one’s not special about this DrupalCon, I think my favorite thing about this DrupalCon is how much more visible the Indian community is. Because the Indian Drupal community are “jump in with both feet” kind of people . . . if there’s a party, if there is a dance, if there is something to code, if there is a totally new API . . . every single one of them that I’ve met will just leap in with both feet and try it out. And it is so much fun.

Stephen Lucero: My name is Stephen Lucero, Solutions Architect with Media Current. “Slucero” is my tag. My favorite part has been getting to meet up with the community, meeting up with people that I didn’t realize I needed to reconnect with. So it’s been great to be able to do so, and then be able to meet up with them and go and see a giant float burn with a flamethrower. That was pretty awesome.

Adam Erickson: Adam Erickson with August Ash. I’m a Lead Developer. Favorite thing about DrupalCon would be the community, and how everybody gets together. It’s extremely impressive and motivating. That’s the thing I love about it most.

Shawn Haukaas: My name’s Shawn Haukaas, I’m President of August Ash. We do Drupal development in Minneapolis. And I’m always impressed by the passion of the people that come. So wheher you’re a site builder, a developer, a designer, or a project manager, or an owner . . . at any level there’s passion for Drupal, which is something that’s pretty impressive. I work in a lot of different platforms and things within the business community around, and it’s very rare to see what we see in Drupal.

Kevin: Hi, I’m Kevin. I’m from Dallas, Texas. I work for a company called [audio issue] as a web developer. The best thing about DrupalCon is getting to interact with other guys and other developers, and learning about what’s new in Drupal 8. It’s been a good experience so far.

Sunny: Hi my name is Sunny Shah, I’m from Dallas too. I’m the president of a company called Voltage Net, we are a start-up. I’ve been coming here since . . . this is my third time at DrupalCon. It’s just great to meet all the people working on Drupal, learn about what’s happening in Drupal 8 and what’s coming next, and just to communicate and collaborate with everyone. I think that’s the main reason.

Erik Paxton: I’m Erik Paxton. I’m with ThinkShout, and my favorite thing about DrupalCon so far has been the front-end sessions so far, I think. It’s nice to see the direction of the decoupled Drupal, and where that’s going.

Mike Shaver: My name is Mike Shaver. I work for ThinkShout as well. I think my favorite thing has been connecting with other developers and other folks in the Drupal community that I’ve been in contact with over the years.

Edward Pritchard: My name is Edward Pritchard. I’m with the Maricopa Corporate College. And the best thing I like about DrupalCon is being able to run the front-end track and learn all about front-end design, which I’m gearing towards.

Scott Worthington: Hi my name is Scott Worthington. I work at Estrella Mountain Community College in Phoenix, and my favorite thing about DrupalCon is catching up with all my fellow Drupalistas.

Valery Chen: Hi my name is Valery, and my favorite thing about DrupalCon is learning all the new skills out there, and meeting people.

Kristoff Van Tomme: This is Kristoff Van Tomme from Pronovix. And this DrupalCon was really different because of the city. New Orleans is simply really amazing. The food is very different from usual US fare. Yeah. It’s interesting. Good con.

Joe Purcell: I’m Joe Purcell. I work at Digital Bridge in Chicago. And my favorite thing about DrupalCon 2016 is seeing lots of familiar faces, and there are lots of exciting things happening in Drupal 8.

Dwayne McDaniel: My name is Dwayne McDaniel. I am with Pantheon. My favorite thing about DrupalCon New Orleans 2016 It think is just the positive energy about this show. This is my fourth DrupalCon, and the DriesNote kicked things off in such a wonderful light, and every conversation i have is filled with this excitement about what we’re going to do next, not “when will it happen.” That positivity has flowed through everything: through all the parties, the dinners, all the conversations, the sessions I’ve attended. If I’d say there’s one word that sums this thing up it’s positivity, and it’s the best DrupalCon yet.

Nancy Flowers-Mangs: Nancy Flowers-Mangs, and I’m from Yale University, and my favorite thing about DrupalCon is the networking.

Jason Pamental: Hi, I’m Jason Pamentel. I’m the Senior Director of Design and Technical Strategy at Isovera in Waltham, Massachusetts. And so far my favorite thing about DrupalCon New Orleans was Sara [Wachter-Boettcher]’s keynote yesterday. Absolutely blew me away in every possible way. Fantastic.

Tasha Cherry: Tasha Cherry, and I’m from the University of Virginia. And I think one of the coolest things that I’m hearing from the conference is just how accessibility is going to be so much easier using Drupal 8. That’s what I’m excited about. Because we’re implementing more accessibility into our designs and things like that, and it’s more crucial to just our operations now. So that will help a whole lot. So things will be automatically built in as opposed to trying to convince people to do it right away.

Sam Boyer: I’m Sam Boyer from Tag1 Consulting. My favorite thing about DrupalCon 2016 is shrimp and grits.

Larry Garfield. I’m Larry Garfield with Best part of this DrupalCon was Dries laying out actual plans that make sense, and might actually be achievable, which is great!

Seth Brown: I’m Seth from Lullabot, and my favorite part of DrupalCon New Orleans has been the renewed vigor and energy now that Drupal 8 is actually out. I feel like our team is thrilled with the sessions. Everybody is kind of excited to dive back in It feels like Drupal, you know, around circa Chicago, everybody is excited again. So I think it’s a huge win for us to have Drupal 8 out.

Morton DK: Hi. Morton DK here, out of Copenhagen, Denmark. I work for Geek Royale and Tag1 Consulting. My favorite about this DrupalCon in NOLA has been to see the front end community and back end developers coming together on a simple alignment so we can push our code forward and make a pretty amazing product in Drupal 8.

Michelle Krejci: My name’s Michelle Krejci from Pantheon. The best thing about DrupalCon was just conversations with everyone.

Roy: My name is Roy. I’m from the Netherlands. I’m a user experience designer. And the best thing I saw at DrupalCon New Orleans was that from the DriesNote to the different core conversations we had, I can see that people are not burned out on Drupal 8, but people are seeing the opportunities for Drupal 8 moving forward, and that was really inspiring. UX is a big part of that, and I’m hoping to do more and more of that in the coming months.

[Sounds from Trivia Night, with Jeff Eaton hosting]

Todd Jamieson: My name is Todd Jamieson, I’m from Boston. I work at MIT. I support web development and project management for our internet presence at MIT for Career Services. And my favorite thing at Drupalcon . . . oh there was a lot. I think it was a use case by the Sierra Club. I was very skeptical going in, and by the end of the presentation it totally nailed exactly some of the things I’m dealing with at my office. I loved it.

Erik Peterson: My name is Erik Peterson. I work for RiffTrax in San Diego, from the guys that brought you Mystery Science Theater 3000. My favorite part of DrupalCon 2016 in New Orleans was . . . besides Emeril’s Restaurant . . . has to have been the Drupal 8 Kickstart panel, and the deluge of information that gave me what I needed to know to get started developing for D8.

Drew Gorton: My name is Drew Gorton. The best thing about DrupalCon 2016 is the people.

Jeff Eaton: Hi, my name is Jeff Eaton. I’m a Digital Strategist for Lullabot, and I think one of the best things about DrupalCon for me this year was the number of people that I was able to talk to and meet who talked about how much of an impact Drupal has had on their lives and their careers over the past decade. As Drupal has aged and grown, the number of people in our community who have really impressive stories about what it’s meant to them has grown with it. And I think that’s really encouraging, and really really really exciting.

AM: It really really really is! And since it was my first DrupalCon, I thought it was terrific. And we will be back next week with our usual Secret Sauce, but I hoped you enjoyed this little special edition. To find out more about Palantir, you can go to, or you can follow us on Twitter at @palantir. Have a great day!

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