Peddling LSD - Meet Chris Strahl and the Large Scale Drupal project
by Jeffrey A. McGuire
Before Drupal, Chris Strahl had a successful career running his own company, doing multi-million dollar implementations with proprietary software, but he always had a private fascination with open source. Finding himself unwilling to sell an "antiquated, technically unsound, incredibly expensive" SAP eCommerce product to his clients, he and his colleagues developed and sold a Drupal-based platform solution. It allowed customers to buy SAP Business Objects reports online via Drupal's go-to eCommerce solution of the day, Ubercart ... all for a quarter of the cost of the competing system.
The slippery slope
He found this first taste of Drupal so fascinating that he went to Drupal Camp LA in 2009. This became a very steep, very slippery slope to becoming a contributor to an open source project. He found himself project manager for the Drupal.org redesign within an hour of meeting the ever-unstoppable Kieran Lal.
On getting a job at Acquia
When looking for a Drupal job, Chis got a lot of offers. When Acquia asked if he'd like to interview, he put it at the bottom of his list. Once he met the people at Acquia, "it just hit me like a lightning bolt. I wanted to work in a team with those people. And it really is the people. The project work was interesting and cool, but it mattered so much more to me that it was the right people doing the job."
Chris is now part of Dries Buytaert's Office of the CTO at Acquia, along with Angie Byron, Michael Meyers, and Alex Bronstein. Chris manages the Large Scale Drupal program. He helps large enterprises fund and develop projects within Drupal to solve the Big. Problems. (tm) These include content staging, authoring experience, media management - things not quickly or easily solvable by a group of volunteers. He scopes and coordinates the resulting projects, using funding from the large enterprises who make up the LSD group to work with the Drupal community to solve these problems.
Chris says his job is basically "... peddling LSD ... That name goes over great in health care."
More on LSD
Learn more about the Large Scale Drupal Project on groups.drupal.org: http://groups.drupal.org/large-scale-drupal-lsd-projects-and-plans
Setting up meetings with Chris
The Acquia Portland office is above a brewery. Always schedule your meetings with Chris in Portland at 4:30 on a Friday afternoon!