The future of Alfresco’s Community – my thoughts

Update June 14th 2014

It seems that there is quite some interests in the general “Future of Alfresco’s community”-topic. There are already 20 comments here & some more on twitter, linkedIn & Co.

I would be a pity if this is just another discussion that does not lead to any acting. So my proposal:

Let’s do a workshop at the day before London Summit (or even SF if it suit your needs) this year with participations from the Community, Alfresco’s Community Team, Alfresco Engineering & also Alfresco Management if they like to join:

  • Collect Ideas about how to give the Community a boost (like fast-track Contributions, a Aikau widget/plugins system, docs/ guides & tutorials …)
  • Goal is to have a concrete “Community enablement Action Plan” for the next 6 or 12 months

 

Main post

Jeff Potts recently announced that he is going to leave Alfresco as Chief Community Officer. From my point of view, Jeff was a wonderful “beekeeper” & pushed the Alfresco Community (I’m talking of the Community here & not Alfresco Community Edition!) forward. We had some great Alfresco Devcons that where mainly organized by Jeff – another big “Thank You” from here!

But, the Alfresco company has changed heavily in the last 1 or 2 years. It’s becoming a more & more Sales & Profit (+ IPO-) oriented software vendor like every of their competitors. Already the 1st Alfresco Summit 2013 – as successor of the DevCon –  has shown that the focus has changed al lot.

Don’t get me wrong, It’s perfectly OK that Alfresco as company likes to grow & gain a lot of profit & money, but as a Community member I’m more & more getting the feeling that they forget about their Open (Source) origin. Alfresco should beware of becoming a “sales monster”.

So, as Jeff left Alfresco there is no more a strong & official “Community believer” working for Alfresco. Of course, there are al lot of high talented engineers working for Alfresco in different roles (Engineering, Product Management, PreSales, Support…) that will still push Alfresco to be Open (not only Open Source), but there is an opportunity to setup a “new community network”:

I don’t really like the job title “Evangelist”, but IMHO that’s what Alfresco need to do to work on their Openness:

  • Get some Alfresco community members (should have deep Alfresco knowledge) on their payroll & give them the freedom to work on dedicated community projects (that maybe will be contributed to the core afterwards) – Thing about an approach like share extras + more repository oriented addons like ContentStore encryption, oAuth2-provider, a Dropbox integration (+ prototyping some new ideas like a task board and suchlike)
  • Let them do more tech-driven marketing like
    • Speak on conferences
    • Organize meetups (not Partner-oriented marketing events)
    • Organize Workshops, Hackathons etc.
  • Focus on the local community as things are completely different between US & EMEA or DACH in special
  • These guys should also be able to support Alfresco Consulting or PreSales, but not as their main job

What do you think – is a team of “Alfresco Evangelists” the future of Alfresco’s Community team to strengthen its Openess & technical marketing and visibility?