Months ago I thought it would be fun to interview some people, and I always knew who I wanted first. Liz Leddy: Plone core developer, former Plone Foundation board member, speaker, and rabble-rouser of the group-hug variety. Below is a t...
Months ago I thought it would be fun to interview some people, and I always knew who I wanted first. Liz Leddy: Plone core developer, former Plone Foundation board member, speaker, and rabble-rouser of the group-hug variety. Below is a transcript, with an
audio version available.
1) Tell us a little about yourself, the stuff you're currently doing,
and the awesomest thing you've done in the last year.
I'm Elizabeth Leddy, I've been working with Plone since I was 19 years
old, and I'm 30 years old this year, can you believe it! I got into
Plone when I was working in college as part of a student internship
where I was learning this new thing called CSS (can you believe it?
tech comes a long way.) It's amazing to me that I'm still doing it
I've done quite a few things with Plone: government intelligence,
medical startups, internal implementations, and I've been working as a
consultant for the last four years based out of the Bay
Area. Currently working with Eric Steele and Ryan Foster on a startup
doing an athlete management platform on top of Plone. Turns out a lot
of the problems in elite athelete management can be solved with proper
content management and communications. In fact we just got back from
training the Cleveland Cavaliers (professional basketball team.) Work
a lot with the US ski team and some other big names coming through, so
we're really excited.
It has been interesting to see how, once you get outside the standard
intranet domain, how many of the standard patterns solved by Plone can
apply, just with some different wording.
Me: I've been thinking about that lately. We all come from a
background where we solve a certain class of problems about how people
work together. Other systems and approaches don't even try to solve
Liz: Yes, I see this throughout other platforms and systems outside of
Plone, I call this the shiny object syndrome, where decision makers
are really drawn to pretty graphs etc., which for example IBM are
really amazing at doing. But then you get down to the real problems,
like communication, knowledge management where you get people out of
emails and into systems. That's where the real problem is and if we
can have that conversation to get decision makers beyond shiny object
syndrome, we can really get change both internally and when
communicating with their customers.
2) What's one of the awesomest things you've done in the last year?
I do a lot of shenanigans, but the thing I'm most proud of is where
we've taken sponsorship. The donations we had coming in were these
really great companies. When I started on the Plone Foundation board
this year, I really wanted to get our sprint funding together, with
some brazen comments like "If we spend $25,000 we can raise $25,000."
Of course I then had to back up a statement like that, and we did,
we're back on track to reach our high-water mark from 2009 levels of
We've already raised enough money to continue the sprint funding next
year, which is the main thing, taking it year-by-year. We have big
Plone 5 push, and getting the right people to the right places at the
right time and making sure they're productive, we'll see a really big
Furthermore, the excitement that comes behind knowing that sponsors
still care enough about Plone that they just need to be asked in the
right way is just awesome. I love that.
3) How did you find Plone, what kind of stood out and made 19-year-old
Liz want to do it?
Actually I came across Plone the way a lot of people do: somebody paid
me to do it. I was getting a blazing $8/hour, but I was 19 at the
time and trying to get my computer science degree, it was a good
thing. At the time I wasn't technical, and most people's introduction
to Plone is, you're handed the system and you can customize via the
browser and do all these things. You don't need to be technical. As I
learned computer science and object orientation, then I could dig more
and more into Plone and do techni