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Early Impressions of Acquia and Drupal

Hi there! My name is Gary Wu and I'm a recent addition to Acquia. I've just completed my second week as the new product manager for Drupal Gardens so I wanted to introduce myself to the Drupal-verse. As a newcomer to both Acquia and Drupal, the past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind of learning for me so as part of my introduction, I thought I'd share some observations from my initial experiences with you so you can also get a sense of what Drupal and Acquia are about.

First though, a little background about me: Prior to joining Acquia, I was the product manager for social collaboration applications within EMC's enterprise content management division. Before that, I had product management responsibilities at Trellix, a startup delivering a SaaS web publishing platform for small and medium-sized businesses.

My experiences at Trellix and EMC have given me a good perspective on web publishing, content management, social applications, and cloud application delivery, which is why I think the opportunity for Drupal Gardens is really exiciting, but more on that after some early observations:

The buzz: When you first arrive at Acquia, you immediately get a sense of the buzz. It's that palpable energy across the entire Acquia team and no, it's not the result of a prior night's excesses resulting from the company's "work hard, play hard" philosophy. Everyone is espousing, planning, coding, testing, supporting, selling, and executing with a clear focus - to drive the global adoption of Drupal as the premier social web content management platform. That focus translates into passion.

The team: As I've engaged with the Drupal Gardens engineering team and other functional groups within Acquia, I've been impressed with how grounded, respectful, and sharp everyone is. We have many healthy debates and everyone is encouraged to voice their opinion. To me, that's a measure of maturity within any organization, although Acquia itself is still young. My co-workers have been quick to welcome me to the Acquia team and have been extremely supportive as I've ramped up on Drupal Gardens and our internal processes.

Passion for Drupal: You would expect Acquia to be passionate and proficient with Drupal as it was co-founded by Dries Buytaert, the inventor of Drupal. But what I've begun to understand is that it's not just Dries who carries the Drupal banner, but everyone you speak with within the company. The Drupal Gardens team that I work with directly, the hosting team that manages the Acquia Dev Cloud services, our marketing, sales, services, and support teams - everyone - has a passion for Drupal. It's amazing to be in the midst of this concentration of Drupal expertise because you know they've got your back if you have any type of Drupal question that needs to be answered.

Respect for the Drupal community: There's an old proverb that says "it takes a village to raise a child." This has certainly been true for Drupal. Since Dries developed the first version of Drupal a little over a decade ago, it has been the community that has enabled Drupal to become the major social web publishing platform that it has become, in use by millions of users worldwide. The community itself has grown to an army of developers and designers who have helped users realize the benefits of Drupal. Given this, the level of respect within Acquia for the Drupal community is huge. Our developers are constantly thinking of how best to stay aligned with module contributors, and I hear our sales team sharing business opportunities with Drupal technologists in the community. Acquia understands that the community's success will lead to Drupal's success, which benefits all Drupal adopters.

The fastest way to get started with Drupal: I've been gaining familiarity with Drupal through Acquia's Drupal Gardens service. If you are new to Drupal and haven't seen Drupal Gardens yet, I strongly recommend that you go to www.drupalgardens.com immediately and try it out. Drupal Gardens is a fully managed instance of Drupal that Acquia has streamlined especially for web designers so they can quickly build great Drupal-based web sites. You don't need to worry about finding a server, installing the operating system and server software, or dealing with any of the technical complexities typically required in setting up a web site. All that work has been done for you so all you need to do is create an account, log in, and begin learning Drupal and building a site. It really is that easy, and it's been a huge accelerator for my learning.

I'm a big believer in initial impressions and I think these observations bode well for the future of Drupal and Acquia, as I expect my positive experiences as a newbie will translate directly into similar positive experiences for you and your adoption of Drupal.

I want to wrap up by saying I'm hugely excited to be the new product manager for Drupal Gardens. Having been in the proprietary software business for many years, I've seen the challenges that proprietary vendors have in delivering products, achieving high levels of adoption, and satisfying their customers. They cannot deliver the innovation, the agility of product delivery, or the economics that customers want in today's market. I strongly believe that Drupal Gardens' Drupal open-source foundation, worldwide community base, software-as-a-service delivery, free/subscription ("freemium") model, and sharp focus on simplifying Drupal for designers and site builders are game-changers that will significantly increase the exposure of Drupal. It's going to be fun helping designers and site builders be super productive with Drupal Gardens so I hope you'll join me on this adventure!

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