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Who am I? Why am I here?

I'm finishing up my fourth day at Acquia, and in thinking about how to introduce myself, one phrase immediately jumped to mind: "Who am I? Why am I here?"

Those somewhat-awkward-yet-charming words were famously uttered by Admiral James Stockdale, a surprise candidate for Vice President of the United States in 1992, in his first introduction to a national audience. I have to admit I feel a little bit like Admiral Stockdale, plucked from obscurity and suddenly thrust into the spotlight. Although I've been actively involved in developing for Drupal the past several months, I'm still pretty new to the community.

In what seems to be a bit of a trend among recent Acquia hires, I have a background in physics (mine is in astrophysics) and am coming to Acquia very much from outside the web development industry. I got involved with Drupal because in the course of doing scientific research, I was also building websites that focused on science education and public outreach, and I eventually learned that (a) collaborating with an open source community is way more fulfilling and productive than writing code on your own, and (b) Drupal is a lot of fun. I was quickly hooked.

A fortuitous set of circumstances came together to bring me to Acquia, and I'm excited beyond belief at the opportunity I have here. I'm amazed at the people I have a chance to work with, both at Acquia and in the larger Drupal community, and I'm eager to learn from them. I hope that in time I'll be able to do my own part to help both Acquia and Drupal achieve great things for the world.


Posted on by Eric (not verified).


I know how you feel - I went from a PhD program in particle physics to webmaster of a public university.

One piece of advise I will pass on - which you probably know. As scientists we become very used to arguing and debating the merits of ideas, theories, etc. without taking it personally - 'attack the argument, not the man'. I have found this not to be the case in 'the real world', even with folks whose background should have included critical review like graphic arts, music, etc.

I rapidly learned to choose my words very carefully...

Good luck,

Eric Aitala

Posted on by David Rothstein.

Thanks, sounds like good advice. Although I think I've been to some scientific conferences where the "attack the argument, not the man" idea was, shall we say, not exactly being followed!! I guess it just depends on the people involved. Drupal folks seem pretty easygoing and open to constructive criticism, at least in my experience so far ;)

Posted on by peach - all dru... (not verified).

"I was quickly hooked" Yes, that is the power of drupal.

Posted on by Dries Buytaert.

Welcome David! It's great to have more smart people in the company. Looking forward to work together even more. :)

Posted on by Nick Lewis (not verified).

I know someone is serious when they invoke the majesty of Admiral James Stockdale in 1992. :-P

But in all seriousness, welcome!

Posted on by Rainer (not verified).

It's always enthralling to see acquia grow.
Don't want to degrade Mr. Stockdale, but I think Mr. Aristoteles came up with these words first :-)

Posted on by supreme buy (not verified).

Welcome to Acquia and I hope that you enjoy your time working here. Maybe your website building experience and physics background will contribute to the success here at Acquia.

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Posted on by Don Jones (not verified).

I, like you, am new to Acquia and unlike you, I have only been exposed to Drupal for the first time today. I must say that I am quite impressed and have begun to learn Drupal here with a great amount of excitement. I somehow found this page and I am not even sure of your position in the company but I hope I soon feel as welcome as your comrades have made you feel in the comments above. If I had a glass I would toast you in your new job, my discovery of a new platform and for both these new relationships.