DB has left the building!

DB Hurley, the innovator and visionary who ideated Mautic, has left Acquia.

According to Mautic’s community manager:

“DB left Acquia mid-February 2020. He remains Project Lead for the Mautic Community.”
rcheesley

What does this mean for the future of Mautic?
What does this mean for the future of the Community?

My immediate response was to ask more questions about it:

“Holy wakamole, who’s Mautic’s CTO now? Or has Mautic been fully integrated with Acquia in the business structure?
Did I miss this important news or you never made an announcement?”

– Yosu_Cadilla

I didn’t receive an answer to these questions, I guess they will give us answers soon enough…

I contacted Ruth Cheesley directly to ask these and some more questions, she didn’t have any additional information to share, so she told me to ask DB Hurley directly, I reached out on Slack:

Yosu Cadilla ツ (me): Hello David,
Ruth shared yesterday on the forums that you had left Acquia but didn’t have the time to answer any other questions I had about the topic and told me to ask you directly.
Can I ask you some questions?
She also said that you remain the lead of the community, hence my interest…

DB Hurley: Hey buddy, that’s right, I’ve moved on from Acquia. You can ask anything you like, I’ll do my best to respond as appropriate.

Yosu Cadilla ツ: Thank you David!
First thing is obviously, are you starting a new project?
2nd Why did you leave?
3rd What role(s) do you plan on having in the Mautic community?

DB Hurley: I’m not making any announcements around #1 at this time, #2 is not public information, #3 I am, and will remain, the project lead, unless I designate someone else to assume that role.

So, not precisely a flood of information…

The only factoid, is that David’s Linkedin profile, now states the following:

Founder
Company Name: N/A
Dates Employed: Mar 2020 – Present
Employment Duration: 2 mos
Location: Boston, Massachusetts, United States

So it would seem DB is starting a new “secret” project… Is this his own project? Some Acquia Spinoff? Why the secrecy and mystery?

NOTICE: Since there hasn’t been an official announcement nor anyone has given any additional factual details about this, I can only SPECULATE about the following:

What does this mean for the future of Mautic?

I really doubt DB abandoned his beautiful creature because he grew tired of it, so most probably it was Acquia who “facilitated” this event…
Acquia’s founder, Dries, is also a long time mentor and personal pal of DB’s, so most probably, whatever has happened, has not been simple or easy for DB to “leave”.

Maybe DB didn’t like the corporate style in Acquia, maybe the Acquia leadership wasn’t happy with his managerial style?

One possibility that I’m entertaining is that this is a way for Acquia to smoothen the path for the integration of Mautic into the greater Suite of Acquia products, it makes a lot of sense to think that DB would not have been very happy with dissolving his creation into a mere “piece of something else” and if that is the case, he would have taken the exit door.

Given the abandonment of the mautic.com domain (and brand?) by Acquia in the recent past, and in continuation with my line of thought, which pointed out that, what was named as the “Mautic acquisition” was, in fact, a merger, meant to incorporate Mautic inc’s technical and sales human capital into the overall Acquia force and to fuse Mautic into Acquia’s product lineup, I think this is a strong possibility.

My assumption-based forecast is the following:
The product we currently know as Mautic SaaS is most probably going to be completely integrated as a part of the Aquia suite, the Mautic brand will fade out and there’s a strong probability that this could mean, over time, its end as a standalone product in the future.

What could this mean for the future of the Community?

Well, the abandonment (partial redirection) of the Mautic.com domain was good news, Mautic is not anymore a company that happens to have an open source version of its product, Acquia is now the brand name behind the SaaS product, Mautic is an Open Source Community, and the separation among these 2 sides of Mautic is now much clearer and this is good for both sides of Mautic.

So, DB has left Acquia, but “He remains Project Lead for the Mautic Community.”

This might be another sign that the departure of DB from Acquia might not have been a bed of roses, why would you leave your project behind but keep a piece of it?

My relationship with DB Hurley has always been a difficult one. On one side, I admire him in so many aspects, on the other hand, there’s also some aspects where I viscerally dislike his ways, specifically the way he used to manage the Mautic community.
I’ve strongly criticized DB’s management style of the Mautic community, and if you have read any of my opinion posts about this subject, you know that my biggest point was the intrinsic conflict of interest.
DB was holding both the Leadership of the Open Source Community AND he also steered the Mautic Inc. company to a great extent.

Well, now, that conflict of interests could be gone, is that good or bad? that is up to DB alone. Will he take an active role? Again, I have no idea. I really hope he takes a minute to share with us his plans and views.

One quite interesting thought to close this section: “I am, and will remain, the project lead, unless I designate someone else to assume that role.
Interesting choice of words, isn’t it?
When asked about his future involvement in the community, DB decides to open the possibility that he could “transfer” the lead role to someone else…

Conclusion and Takeaways:

– This post is a bunch of assumptions, so take it with several grains of salt.
– I hope we will soon hear more from the sources, Acquia and DB Hurley.
– This news could be very good or very bad, I really don’t know yet, I might either revise this post if the facts are just slightly different than my assumptions or I’ll write a new post if the facts are substantially different than what I assumed.
– Communication with the Mautic community is still not one of Acquia’s greatest strengths.

Acquia further integrating and maybe dissolving Mautic SaaS into their bigger Experience platform could potentially be bad news, why?
The further Mautic SaaS integrates, dissolves or transforms into something else, the bigger the danger that their codebase becomes misaligned with the Open Source version, this is a fact, not mere speculation, and could have direct repercussions in the level of involvement of Acquia in the Community. The further Acquia moves away from the common codebase, the fewer incentives Acquia has to continue helping the community, and we all know, without Acquia’s support, we could be facing some tough times.

DB Hurley, as a community owner/leader that no longer has a conflict of interests, could be a blessing. I admire many of DB’s qualities, like his capacity for innovation, his clear view of what the future might bring, his love for new technologies. On the other hand, if he persists in his old management style, this could get very ugly, very fast.

I am guessing that after what has probably been the most intense year of his life, he is now taking a well-deserved rest and we will hear from him soon enough. Time will tell…

If DB Hurley is planning on transferring the leadership of the open source community to someone else, who could that person be? Does this mean that he will remain an active member?

Pleas and requests:
To Acquia:
Please share some information about the main topics/concerns.
How does Mautic fit in the Acquia product line in the future?
How will this affect the community roadmap?

To DB Hurley:
Please share your views and share with us what are you planning for this community and what role you plan to play.

If you have any comments or thoughts, please follow this link to the mautic.org forums:

https://forum.mautic.org/t/db-hurley-has-left-aquia-what-are-your-thoughts/13991

(Sorry but comments in this blog are temporarily disabled after the migration to AMP pages. I am working on a solution to get them re-enabled)

Hi, thank you for reading this article, hope you found it useful.

My name is Yosu Cadilla, I’ve been both a Marketer since 1996 and a Systems Administrator since 2000, switching back and forth and mixing both trades. Since discovering Mautic, I’ve been specializing in large Mautic deployments as well as Mautic for agencies. Nowadays all my clients are Mautic related.

If you are planning on deploying Mautic on a large scale, or if you are undecided about Mautic being a good fit for your organization… let’s have a chat! yosu.cadilla@gmail.com