The Drupal Wave
Pingv was set up by Laura Scott as an independent video studio, yet in a matter of months her firm ended up building some of the largest enterprise Drupal sites anywhere.
2004 — Laura Scott uses Drupal for personal projects.
When one of her clients asked for a website to help sell his video, she build one in Drupal 4.5 to fill that need. In what Peter Drucker calls "the unexpected success," when word got out that Laura Scott could build Drupal websites, the demand for websites quickly outpaced the rest of the business.
At first, I was in the Drupal help chat asking questions. Before long I was answering questions.
— Laura Scott, Founder, Pingv.
2005 — Drupal gets more traction.
Laura's workload increased quickly. In 2005, she brought Katherine Lawrence on board as co-founder. Laura had worked with Katherine on a several video and print media projects over the three preceding years.
2005 - Talk About Starting in a Garage!
"When you can't afford an office, get an apartment and start there. It was all boot-strapped." Katherine had considerable experience with Venture Capitalists (VC) and Investment Banking (I-Banks) and she was not as infatuated with them as many others start-up entrepreneurs were. Her experience included ventures funded by Hambrecht & Quist, Alan Patricof, Charles River Ventures, and the 3i's Group, so it was with some knowledge that she quipped, "when you get VC funding, they don't exactly pull up in an armored car with bags of money and bring it into the lobby; it's more like getting a VISA or Master Card with a credit line. Trouble is, most managers spend most of their post-first-round funding time by trying to up the credit limit. They are defocused and end up spending large portions of their time making presentations for further rounds of financing instead of serving the customers and miss key opportunities."
VCs keep pulling companies, like plants, out of the soil to see how the roots are doing.
— Robert Townsend, "Further Up the Organization"
Laura and Katherine created a firm that would grow from retained earnings, and again as Townsend said, "growth is not an end in itself. Growth is a reward for excellence."
Borrowing from the tradition of Hewlett-Packard, Laura and Katherine set up the firm on a shoe-string budget.
2006 - Enterprise-level clients want help with open source Drupal projects.
The founders had come from the corporate environment. For example, prior to her VC experience, Katherine had been spent long stints in firms of the Dow Jones 30. Thus the founders quickly realized that there was an unmet demand for what they dubbed "Enterprise Drupal," meaning that there were large organization who were early adopters of Open Source of which Drupal was a part. These organizations were looking for professional services firms to provide them with the level of quality and professionalism that they had come to expect from their vendors.
2005-2006 - BlogHer was one of several Enterprise Drupal projects undertaken early-on by the firm.
Laura's first large site build was BlogHer, which she built in Drupal 4.6. Laura was named contributing editor for BlogHer, specializing in writing about technology in media.
In quick succession, by early 2006 projects with Leadership Learning Community, Stanford University's Center for Internet and Society, Ms.JD, and CogHead meant that Laura had to hire Drupal talent. At this point the founders formed pingVision, LLC, in large part because businesses felt more comfortable with that structure rather than a general partnership, and also because it was a better structure for recruiting and training employees.
2007 - It was time to bring the team under one roof.
January 2007, with contract workers joining the team, pingVision officially opened offices near the historic Pearl Street Mall in Boulder, Colorado.
2007 - Space is at a premium.
2007 - Laura and Katherine commit the firm to training people, not just its employees, in Drupal and evangelizing open source.
There was a dearth of Drupal talent, which meant that pingVision was not only hiring, but also training people in Drupal. The company also organized and entirely underwrote the first three Colorado Drupal Camps: the first two at pingVision's offices, and a later Colorado camp at DeVry University.
2007 - DBUG - Denver-Boulder Users Group Meet-ups.
During this time pingVision also sponsored the monthly Denver-Boulder Users Group, DBUG. The firm started "Drupal Give," in which employees contribute 5% of their time to improving Drupal, paid for by the firm, a company practice that exists to this day — part of giving back to the community.
2007 - Open Source Content Management Systems and Blogging Tools Summit.
Drupal was rapidly gaining in popularity, although the ranks were small. For example, the OSCMS conference at the Yahoo Campus drew about 350 attendees, not all of them Drupal people. pingVision provided stipends for its staff so they could attend the conference and contribute.
2007-2008 - The firm grew rapidly both in the size and number of projects as well as in staff.
2008 - Laura is elected as a permanent member of the Drupal Association.
Laura is elected as a permanent member of the Drupal Association where she focused on education and community outreach. She was on the Drupal.org redesign committee during the Information Architecture (IA) and Design phase of the redesign project.
2008; the pivot year.
2008 was a banner year for Drupal and for the firm. Our staff grew to over a dozen FTEs.
2007-2008 - Pop-sci and E. W. Scripps' Red Blue America.
Projects from 2007, Bonnier's Pop-sci and E. W. Scripp's Red Blue America, each launched in early 2008 and garnered their share of awards and recognition. It also demonstrated that the growing shop could concurrently handle multiple major-sized projects.
The Pop-sci project earned a W3 award as well a Sun Micro-systems Award presented to us at Drupalcon Boston.
2008 - 2009 - The Awards wall fills up.
PingVision became the first Drupal shop to become a Rackspace partner. Rackspace was unfamiliar with Drupal, and it was pingVision that brought a series of larger projects to be hosted on the Rackspace servers — these included BlogHer, Health Informatics Society of Australia, Do Something, E. W. Scripps' Red Blue America, and Hearst.
In just a year, pingVision had gone from a home office to being a significant player in the Drupal development world.
2008 - Acquia is formed; Drupal now is officially COOL.
In 2008 Dries Buytaert, Drupal founder, raises venture funding to form Acquia, a Drupal hosting company. pingVision is one of the first five platinum partners.
pingVision is a platinum sponsor of the 2008 Boston Drupalcon.
2009 - Acquia and pingVision join forces at South By Southwest (SXSW).
2009 - Laura's experience in video at HBO was perfect for a 57 second trailer called "What is Drupal?"
The firm was honored that it received six Telly awards for "What is Drupal." Translated into six languages, it has had over 160,000 views on YouTube, alone; quite significant given that this is a presentation about a CMS.
2009 - pingVision moves to larger offices.
2010 - Laura is elected to the Drupal Board of Directors.
Laura is elected to the Drupal Board of Directors where she worked on the structure, strategy and policies of the Drupal Association and helped to make the Drupal Association a more diverse, accountable and sustainable organization to serve the needs of the growing Drupal community.
2011 - Laura is elected to the Drupal Advisory Board.
Laura left the Board, moving to the Advisory Board, which focuses on longer-term governance issues of Drupal.
2012 - Dwell Magazine.
Pingv is chosen by Dwell Magazine to migrate their legacy database from Clickability to Dwell's own servers, as well as create a complex work flow that Dwell requires for metrics and tracking — a mega-project that takes Drupal into uncharted waters, pushing Drupal functionality in new ways.
2013 - Pingv continues to grow.
The firm is moving, yet again, to new offices as Drupal grows.