At the beginning of June, there was a massive Microsoft technology conference, Tech Ed, in Orlando, Florida. Based on a generous invitation from the International .NET Association (INETA), Scott Willhite and I were provided with an opportunity to attend the event as their special guests. The timing was perfect because Professional DotNetNuke ASP.NET Portals was officially released at this event, as was the new project branding. Joe Brinkman and Dan Caron were able to attend some aspects of the book launch festivities, and we managed to jam a substantial amount of marketing activities into the five-day event. We had a dedicated Birds of Feather session, two community focus sessions at the INETA booth, a guest appearance at an INETA User Group workshop related to building effective web sites (where we learned 90% of .NET user groups were already using DotNetNuke), and a number of book signings scheduled by WROX Press at the Tech Ed bookstore. The DotNetNuke book was the top-selling developer book at the Tech Ed bookstore for the event — a fact that emphasized the growing popularity of the project. We also distributed official DotNetNuke T-shirts that showcased the new project branding, a popular item amid all the typical free swag provided at these events.
Seizing the opportunity of having the majority of the DotNetNuke Board of Directors together in one place, we had our second official board meeting — an all-day session in the conference room of our hotel in Orlando. On the agenda was a serious discussion related to Core Team reorganization and key project roles. For quite some time, we had realized that the current flat organizational structure was somewhat dysfunctional and that we ultimately needed more dedicated management resources to accomplish our goals. However, to support these resources, we needed a sufficient financial model. Discussion focused on the pros and cons of various revenue opportunities, their revenue potential, and their perceived effect on the community ecosystem. We also talked about what it would take for the current Board members to commit to full-time dedicated roles in the organization and the associated financial and security implications. A lot of really deep discussion ensued, which gave us a much better mental picture of the challenges that lay ahead if we truly wanted to take the project to the next level.
Following the publication of Professional DotNetNuke ASP.NET Portals, there was a bit of a media frenzy around the relationship between Microsoft and the open source phenomenon. Some of my personal opinions and quotes from the book found their way into an article published on CNET (one of the leading mainstream news sites), resulting in a lot of additional exposure for the project. It was interesting to see the power of the media at work, where a reference in a highly visible and trusted journalism channel can lead to broad distribution of a particular message (much like a stone in a pond leads to a concentric series of expanding ripples). For the most part, large companies are the most successful at leveraging these medial channels, but special-interest organizations also have the opportunity to make a significant impression.