NetSquared Connects Techies and DoGooders in San Francisco Bay Area

While Silicon Valley and the Bay Area can at times be a whole world apart from Houston, there are still many things the two areas have in common – tech, geeks, startups, non-profits, and people passionate about changing the world through technology. If you’re in the Houston area, hopefully you’ve made it out to one of the Houston NetSquared meetings that Schipul hosts. They’re always fun and informative – a great way to bounce ideas of others working at the intersection of technology and do-gooding. Ed & Katie started the Houston group back in 2006, and have kept it going strong since.

I was excited to check out the San Francisco NetSquared group when I moved to this part of the world, but unfortunately couldn’t make the meeting that took place right after my move. And then summer hit, which those of us in the Bay Area know, is traditionally a quiet time for groups and activities. At the end of summer, the NetSquared community managers sent out word to group members that the previous organizer was no longer able to run the group, and asked if there was any interest in taking over those duties. Being a NetSquared fan girl, I threw my hat in the ring and offered to take the reins. I was lucky enough to have a very enthusiastic community that offered support, and fortunately two awesome folks – Regina Walton and Dave Theriault – stepped up to serve as co-organizers too. Together, the three of us are totally awesome. And no, I’m not biased at all!

I am super excited to get things kicked off with the November Meetup. Young Han from GoVoluntr will be speaking to the group about how he got started in the technology startup space, and what challenges non-profits have today and how technology can help solve them. Young is an amazing guy; I first met him at a Mountain View Chamber event hosted by our friends at Westminster Promotions. Bonus points went to me for immediately understanding what he was trying to go with GoVoluntr; we hit it off from there and have since had several great conversations surrounding do-gooding in technology. Young’s philosophy with GoVoluntr matched the Schipul Core Values so well; it was clear we’d be friends!

GoVoluntr has had an exciting fall, being asked to join the 500 Startups class. They’ve moved in to the group’s space in Mountain View (bonus to being just down the road from us in Sunnyvale – closer for coffee!) and Young and his team are getting their brains crammed with all sorts of amazing training and knowledge. Check out the recent post about their class from TechCrunch, and if you’re a Bay Area non-profit or do-gooder (yes, that’s totally a word) be sure to check out GoVoluntr!! Young and his team have built an amazing tool for connecting volunteers with those who need them, and giving volunteers a way to share and track their activity.

If you’re in San Francisco or the Silicon Valley area, we’d love to see you at a NetSquared event! If you can’t join us on November 8th, no worries – we’ve got speakers lined up for December and January, so join us then! And if you’d be interested in presenting to the group, or know someone who might be, please do let me know! We’re always on the look out for new ways to geek out over tech.

Schipul attends SugarCon 2011

Last week SugarCon 2011 was held in San Francisco, and Schipul was out in full force! SugarCRM is the customer relationship management system that Schipul uses to track all of our client activity. If you’ve ever talked with us or have a site with us right now, we’ve got you “in the system” where we can keep tabs on all the projects going on and make sure you’re getting the client love! SugarCon is a great way for us to interact with others using the system and learn about the cool things they’ve done, as well as learn about new enhancements for the system and hear from technology partners. It also gave the crew some time to hang out with me!

I asked everyone for their thoughts on what was their favorite part of the conference, and two common threads emerged – one, we all loved hearing from HubSpot’s Brian Halligan and Capgemini’s Laurence Buchanan on “Marketing in the Age of Social“. It may be the only time that Comic Sans actually worked for a slide presentation. Additionally, it was exciting to see how different users and companies are customizing the software and expanding the functionality. Here at Schipul, we’ve worked with our SugarCRM provider Epicom to create some custom reports and functionality, like our client portal – but we’ve barely begun to scratch the surface of all that is possible. One of the great things about SugarCRM is that as an open-source solution it can be extremely powerful as folks create new mods and plugins, versus trying to bend a rigid system to do what they want. A lot of “a-ha” moments were reported by the group. As geeks we are totally fascinated by tech and code!

Michael from Epicom meets John-Michael from Schipul

We were also treated to a special private performance of Beach Blanket Babylon, which is the longest running musical revue in history! Pretty cool to get an intimate  performance  by the cast, and even more cool was the custom songs they created for the Sugar crowd! The cast came out as everyone from Snow White to Elvis  Presley, and had the vocals to match. We sat up front to be close to the action and took as many photos as we could until Aaron’s cell phone died. (Then we moved on to mine)

Finale performance

All in all it was an educational and fun week for the group, and was a nice visit with the folks back home for me. Y’all come back soon now, ya hear?

DrupalCon Day 0: Bits about CiviCRM with Gregory Heller

Good morning—from California!

Myself (David Stagg) and co-horts John-Michael Oswalt (JMO) and Al Hughes (yes, this A.Hughes) are hanging out in San Francisco this week at DrupalCon, the premiere event for users, abusers, and purveyors of Drupal. At Schipul, we believe in using any technology available to fulfill the needs of our clients, and using Drupal is essential to realizing some of our clients’ visions.

We were lucky enough to have the founder and creator of Drupal Dries put our Drupal video up on his personal blog, so while we’re out here, we’re going to be bringing you more videos of what we’re learning about Drupal out here on the West Coast.

Day 0

Our first day (technically Day 0 since it was a pre-conference workshop), we learned all about CiviCRM, Drupal’s answer to membership management. (It keeps a membership database! It sends mass e-mails! It can give your car an oil change in less than 15 minutes!*) We got with Gregory Heller of after our day to re-cap our day, as well as drop some tips about CiviCRM that we learned from the day.

* Not really. But maybe one day.