Following on last week’s Drupal Developers Meeting in San Francisco and the presentation about Drupal Guild given by Dan Robinson, a few folks commented on their blogs (http://www.blkmtn.org/node/279 and http://delocalizedham.com/node/50 ). This morning, as I was preparing to head to the gym, looking for a podcast to listen to, I found this interview with Alex Lindsay, the founder of PixelCorps. I have pointed to PixelCorps as an example of a modern day guild for digital craftsmen–a model for what a Drupal Guild could be.
Although a big part of what Lindsay would like to do involves training craftsmen in developing and third world nations, allowing them to skip over the agricultural and industrial revolutions in their own land and jump right into the digital revolution. It is a very interesting concept, and a nobel purpose. I admire Lindsay and his efforts. But something he said in this interview struck me as the exact example that led me to the guild concept in the first place.
Most of what we look at right now for employment is the idea that everyone is looking for employment long term so that they are employees…the future is not really there for digital artists the future is much closer to when you wanted to build a castle you had 3 or 4 guilds… a whole bunch of people showed up, they built them and then they they disappeared… went on to the next job… They were essentially freelancers–networked by the guild and guaranteed by the guild. And that is a much more complicated proicess than what we currently think of as guilds, unions societies.
That is one of the exact scenarios that lead me to the guild concept. When talking to Mike Gifford and Phillip Smith and Kaliya Hamlin at WOC, we talked about the desire to be scaleable, but not have to hire new employees all the time. (This was where the conversation between Henri and Mike started.) One thing I don’t agree with Lindsay on is that it would take 20 to 30 years to build a guild and a century for it to mature. I think that it would take about 3 to 5 years for the Drupal Guild to really mature, because the Drupal Guild is more specific than a digital artists guild that is more cross functional like Pixel Corps. The interview is about 30 minutes long, and very worth listening too.