The Redhat of Drupal

I got this email today:

Hi Matt,

I apologize for the cold email. I was researching Automattic , Inc. and wanted to ask you if there was any gaps/pains within your CMS and website. I work for the “Redhat of Drupal”, (Acquia) and we have seen an explosion of Drupal use in the Media, News, and Entertainment Industry.

Some companies using Drupal/Acquia include Warner Music, Maxim, NBC Universal, and NPR.
If you are evaluating your current system or are looking into new web projects, I would love to connect and discuss Drupal as an option.

Would it make sense to connect on this? If there is someone better at Automattic , Inc. to speak with, perhaps you could point me in the right direction?


Dillon J. ********
Enterprise Drupal Solutions
Direct: (781) 238-****
Acquia, 25 Corporate Drive Fourth Floor
Burlington, MA 01803

Acquia ranked #1 Software Vendor on the 2012 Inc 500

Hmmm, maybe I’ve been doing it wrong all these years… Dillon, I’ll be in touch!

159 thoughts on “The Redhat of Drupal

    1. At EDUCAUSE, Acquia was using ridiculous stats about Drupal use at universities. “Facts” like 70% of the top 100 universities use Drupal. When I pressed them on this, they admitted that it wasn’t necessarily on their main .edu site, but they had it running somewhere on their domain. WTF?!? So 100% of universities use WordPress?

      1. That’s like saying that Princess Cruises uses Drupal. They do, but for their internal “Princess U” crew communication and learning system. Their public frontend is not Drupal, and it was never public facing, only on the intranet for the ships.

      2. WTF? Are you serious? What are they supposed to do, deflate the number and add arbitrary qualifications to it? 70% of universities use Drupal. It isn’t a qualified statement. It is a 100% accurate fact. This is how statistics work. Good lord.

  1. I look forward to seeing the many improvements that switching to Drupal will bring to

    Donnacha – the Red Hat of single malt consumption.

      1. I wish someone would do a piece that explored these numbers in a little more depth. All I can gather from that is it’s supposed to indicate that Market Share represents how good something is? Let me put this in a context I’m sure you can appreciate, Restaurant Chains. McDonalds probably has a pretty high Market Share in the Restaurant Chain Industry, does that mean it’s food is better than say, Cheesecake Factory? Is a McDonalds really better than a Cheesecake Factory? Completely a matter of personal opinion and preference of course. These Market Share statistical analysis are always lacking in depth. Probably like a large percentage of most WP sites.

        Here’s a helpful chart for you:,%20Cheesecake%20Factory

  2. As a fully paid up Drupal developer, I am laughing my ass off… What can I say? Clearly this guy is the brains behind the “Redhat of Drupal” (cringe).

  3. So, Matt when are going to hire this “enterprising” man?

    Made me laugh all day long!

  4. Sounds like a nice upgrade. I recommend trying another product called “Joomla” too, or if you really want to get fancy, perhaps SquareSpace.

  5. Too funny! Last I checked. Out of the top 10,000 popular websites, WordPress is used 72.35% more than Drupal.

    1. Popular blogs. WordPress is almost useless as the high-grade CMS for enterprises.
      Drupal is good. Plone is better. Adobe commercial CMS-es are best.

    2. Why people are always trying to compare these two is beyond me. They are for completely different audiences. Of course WordPress is used more, it is marketed to a larger and almost entirely separate audience.

      1. I figured this was true, but does Dillon actually exist? Or is he just the name of the inbound sales queue?

  6. Brings to mind the story about Microsoft and David Korn:

    “Microsoft once included a version of the Korn shell produced by Mortice Kern Systems (MKS) in a UNIX integration package for Windows NT. This version was not compatible with ksh88 (a Korn shell specification), and Korn mentioned this during a question and answer period of a Microsoft presentation during a USENIX NT conference in Seattle in 1998. Greg Sullivan, a Microsoft product manager who was participating in the presentation, not knowing who the commenter was, insisted that Microsoft had indeed chosen a “real” Korn shell. A polite debate ensued, with Sullivan continuing to insist that the man giving the criticisms was mistaken about the compatibility issues. Sullivan only backed down when an audience member stood up and mentioned that the man making the comments was none other than the eponymous David Korn.”

  7. This makes me wonder, if only sales depts of Google are receiving offers from Ask or Bing for a search engine solution :))

  8. Funny e-mail, but I don’t think there was any need to out the person who did it (or their direct phone line) on your widely read blog. This always seems to crop up from time to time (e.g. a recruiter trying to get DHH) but I think it’s in poor taste, he was probably already going to really catch hell from his co-workers, now everyone knows that he did it.

    1. Actually I think it’s more in Acquia’s goals to provide enterprise level services around Drupal and focuses less actual site implementation. That doesn’t mean there’s necessarily “less techs”, to the contrary, as they’re just less visible.

  9. Matt, admire what you stand for & what you’ve accomplished. And in the spirit of helping others learn and adapt – it might be more constructive to take down the personal info of the person who wrote you.

    Just thought you might appreciate the feedback.

    Not sure, but seems to apply here whether intended or not

    Other viewpoints, some better than others

    Similar scenario – more signal, less noise

  10. I can only imagine the laughs at Automattic right now (not to mention Acquia!)…Dillon right now is the King of Fail! Poor guy’s probably gettin’ ribbed by his co-workers at this very moment.

  11. We made a mistake. Oops! That said, it is not cool for leaders, or people in Matt’s position, to publicly humiliate a new sales rep who made a stupid mistake. Cold calling is wrong, but being a bully is wrong too — if not more so.

  12. As someone who makes his living from Drupal dev (and loves it) I find this guy greatly disappointing. And it only re-enforces my somewhat negative opinions about Acquia overall as company, though I know there are many great people that work there! Seriously? A sales engineer that is that incompetent in his market.. Know your history, Dillon.

    Keep up the awesome work on WP, Matt!

    1. I think this sort of thing is inevitable when you do outbound sales – I think it’s more funny than anything. πŸ™‚

      1. Yes, you are so right, I am wrong. I should not let a mistake like this affect my opinion of Acquia. They are in all truth a great company that has done a LOT for the Drupal project over the years. It would not be the same without them. “Stuff happens” – if you know what I mean ; ) Thanks for your overall positive attitude about this incident, Matt. It is encouraging to see someone in your position react with such light heartedness to something like this.

    2. Mistakes are inevitable, we all make them. They aren’t (necessarily) a mark of someone’s competence, or intelligence in general. This guy made an embarrassing mistake that, unfortunate for him, went *very* public. Most of us should be thankful that our mistakes aren’t so visible to the world.

  13. While the “researching” fail is obvious, I think the “Red Hat of Drupal” doesn’t deserve the wrath it’s been getting. “Automattic is to WordPress as Red Hat is to Linux” is something that has been said all over the place for years (in fact, I totally remember the owner of this very blog describing the relationship to me that way, way back in the day. πŸ™‚ ), and we’ve certainly compared the relationship to the one between Acquia and Drupal as well.

  14. There are two possibilities:

    1. The guy made no research. Sent the email blindly.

    2. The guy made too much research and figured out that with the current status of WordPress, it’s in Automattic best interest to move to Drupal.

    As a WordPress Developer, the dev. team is focusing on adding new features, redesigning the Admin/Default themes, and there is much less done on the architectural side of WordPress. There are many things that WordPress needs to get fixed, and I think it’s a good moment to bring this up.

  15. If Dillon were working on my team, I’d give him a “high five” on this one. Yeah it’s one of those “oops” things, but hey… not only does it mean he’s hustling, but in doing so, the guy inadvertently got some pretty nice pub from the boss over @Automattic.

    1. Thanks folks. I’ve bowed out of this discussion respectfully today. As the person who runs worldwide sales for Acquia – yes, we do make mistakes and, yes, we own up to them (as this poor kid did today after this happened). He knows what he did wrong – part of growing fast is failing fast and learning from it. I do take pride in the fact that we were the #1 fastest growing company (fact) on an impressive list of companies on the Inc 500 last year – and know that we didn’t get there by letting the products sell themselves.

      1. Tim,

        Do you ever research anything? Being on Inc 500 last year is something that you hear late night on TV from people who want to buy your gold (#5 and ahead of you) and those who want to teach you to flip houses for a living (#90, and a bit below, but they claim to be “first in education”). Also, check with Dries about his opinion on cold calling – it’s a bit above in the comments.

      2. @Abe Terger. Perhaps do some research as well by scrolling up to the top of this very page (look at right-hand-side). Matt’s bio: “is one of PC World’s Top 50 People on the Web,’s 30 under 30, Business Week’s 25 Most Influential People on the Web, and Vanity Fair’s Next Establishment.”

        Some of these titles were granted a few years ago. Does that make them any less valuable? Absolutely not. Matt was recognized for good things. It shows that Matt is recognized by his peers. They are things that Matt is rightfully proud of.

        When Inc. 500 is mentioned above it is that same sort of recognition, same sort of pride. It doesn’t require ridicule.

        Let’s bring the level of conversation up, not down.

      3. @LUVOPENSOURCE I have not missed Matt’s brag-o-matic over there. I like to think that it’s very much tongue in cheek, and certainly not thrust up there to justify letting his products sell themselves without resorting to hilarious emails. Inc’s 30/30 and 500/5000 are rather different things – there are many differences, but I got to tell you, I don’t hear about 30/30 much in late night infomercials. Or in cold emails. As for the level of conversation? I think it’s right on the level.

  16. As an employee of Acquia and long time veteran to the web. I am abhorrently embarrassed by this sales email… Sales people suck.. we all know this… they never truly reflect what is behind an operation in regards to talent.

    But for all you haters…. Acquia is the shit. :^P I say that with pride, and as an ex-hater fueled on mis-information from disgruntled employees.

    If you only knew what/who we host/manage and support on Drupal, your bias would stop dead in its tracks.

    Unlike WordPress Drupal is the framework that the worlds largest web applications are using to drastically cut into proprietary software market share. It is not every day you get to walk into an SAP company and say.. ohh yeah.. that Oracle thing you have… you dont need that anymore. It is too expensive. You should be paying people… not software companies. Open source used to be a bad word in Enterprise… We are working hard on making it a standard.

    Dont get me wrong… my mom’s blog works great on WordPress…. but when she needs to abstract a connection to a noSql dB and aggregate genetic data for research, or provide the American people a platform for petitions to be addressed by their working government, or even help keep a peoples revolution stay transparent and free from DDOS attacks by their oppressive regimes … We will use the “migrate” module and suck her blog into the collective that is Drupal.

    Plus our community blows WP out of the water any day. πŸ˜›

    Quick question: How many Drupal modules do you see for sale?

    ~ philoSurfer

    1. Hello Mr philoSurfer — While we may disagree on the bulk of your comment, I think we can both agree that this comment thread, on my blog, under your colleague’s email, might be the worst possible forum to have that discussion. I don’t think an errant sales email is proof that Drupal or Acquia sucks, or that WordPress or Automattic is awesome, it’s just funny.

      1. Agreed this was the wrong forum.
        My comments were tasteless and hurtful to a sales team that does great work.

        Taking pot-shots at WP and Automattic seemed funny at the time but in the end it really just hurt everyone involved. Mostly the Open-Source community I truly love.

        With that being said, I apologize.

        Not without mention are my typos… where are trolls when you need them?

      2. Wow philoSurfer that was quite the backflip, a very graceful one I would never have expected from the author of the first comment, good recovery.

    2. Wow. I spend a lot of time talking to people about how open source communities can support each other, and something I say a lot is that in an elevator of a dozen people, the person I’ll have the most in common with is the person who works on Drupal, vs the person who works at Microsoft (even though I did myself once upon a time).

      People like @webchick and @kattekrab have been awesome about our projects being complementary and our communities learning from each other. It’s a bummer when all members of a community don’t represent it as well as the best members of the community. We have the same problem in the WordPress community, but it always really bums me out when someone from one open source project disparages another. We’re all in this for the same reasons.

    3. Did you really just point to the fact that WordPress has a thriving commercial market for plugins and themes while Drupal does not as being a good thing for Drupal? That’s hilarious. It’s quite the opposite.

      Drupal doesn’t have a thriving commercial market because Drupal is like Oracle, intentionally over complicated so that it requires hiring an expensive consulting company like Acquia (and others) to build anything with it.

      1. You couldn’t be further from reality here. Maybe the sales guy didn’t know who Matt was – but its clear that you don’t know what Drupal is either. So do some research yourself.

        There are far more freelancers using Drupal than there are enterprise-level orgs providing Drupal solutions for clients. We’re a huge community of developers from all walks of life. Perhaps I should point you to the 13 year olds who show up at Drupal camps, write code and contribute back to Drupal? Or maybe the small business owners who use Drupal’s eCommerce to sell their wares online without having to pay for licensing fees or pay-to-use plugins?

        There is no benefit in making Drupal intentionally over-complicated. This would actually kill the platform. Its our goal to have everyone be able to easily use Drupal for whatever their purpose may be.

      2. Why keep exploring this path of us vs. them? It is all open source and it is all good πŸ™‚

        Long Live WordPress! Long Live Drupal!

        Each provides value to different users — this is good.

  17. Well, this has turned into quite the discussion. Who knew you’d let the dogs out with this one!?

    Dillon got his/her 15 minutes and then some today πŸ™‚

    Maybe people who don’t follow you don’t realize you wouldn’t post this in a mean-spirited way. (Or they just need to lighten up, man.)

    1. Joomla isn’t touching this with a 10-foot pole. πŸ˜‰

      I do feel bad for Dillon. Hopefully he has a good sense of humor and will let this roll off his back. Shouldn’t “Who is Matt Mullenweg?” be part of new employee orientation at any open source CMS company?

  18. It is actually concerning to me that a Acquia Sales goon – junior or not – made this mistake….to me it says their sales team does not see WordPress in their deals.

    1. Actually, as a former Acquia guy, it’s true. We rarely saw WordPress as a competitor in deals. As in practically never. I don’t read anything into that – we serve different markets. Both projects are thriving.

  19. Hey Mate, Acquia owns this fail, not the guy who sent you the email. It doesn’t take much to still find out his further details. Can you be a champ and remove his first name as well?


    1. It is a chuckle and a good lesson for sure, but I have to say, I feel for the fellow. If I was a jr employee and had this thread out there I might be very depressed… πŸ™

  20. Probably worth mentioning that this particular cold-email was sent to more than one senior employee at Automattic, so it wasn’t just lazy researching, it was also consistent πŸ™‚

  21. While this email may be just a joke, two things need mention:
    1. Some of the comments seem to compare Drupal and WordPress, which is really not the point here. The point is how such a silly mail could have been sent from Acquia.
    2. There is a general malaise that has affected most companies today, even the so-called ‘top’ ones like Automattic and Acquia, where inexperienced freshers do ridiculous things like sending out that email, and such performance is tolerated by the top management in the hope of raising sales by perhaps a few points more. The result is that few corporate entities maintain high standards; they are concerned only with commissions and sales.

  22. Do you think President Obama gets spam for the republican party; Bill Gates for Apple; The Pope for Tammy Faye?

    OMG – I think I just compared you to the Pope!

  23. That’s a big no no!

    It’s astounding the amount of research that he has done!

    Matt, Let them know all about your ” gaps/pains within your CMS and website” and surely they will have the right solution for you! : )

  24. Wow…Can’t imagine what his co-workers will be saying today. Epic fail for sure. Do you think the boss man will yell at him or give him a raise for this?

  25. Matt, congrats. You made a lot of Drupal core developers turn their attention from coding, from what I see in this comment thread. Drupal 8 might actually be delayed by 1 day. And they had to use a WordPress-based site for once, so WP: 2 Drupal: -1

    Personally, I don’t even like Red Hat that much. They should call themselves the ‘Canonical’ of Drupal. At least those had a CEO that strapped itself on top of a Soyuz, went into the ISS, and came back down.

    Honestly, some of the WP vs Drupal pissing fight here reflects a problem in our communities, we’re not enemies.. The real enemies are out there. They’re the proprietary CMS. Not Joomla, WordPress, Drupal, Plone or any of the others.. From what I’ve seen in the past we’re all borrowing features from each other and making kick-ass software that we love.

  26. I’m a former employee of Acquia, and find their practice of spamming abhorrent. Here’s what I wrote on their response post (and which will probably never see the light of day):

    This was not a “cold call”. It was 100% spam.

    A cold call means getting on the phone: It takes as much time for the sender as the recipient. As such, it’s self-limiting.

    By sending spam, your sales team is doing something intrusive, deceitful, and disreputable, no matter how well you select your “targets”.

    It’s unsolicited. It’s commercial. It’s email. Ergo, it’s spam.

  27. That’s even better than the cold call that came into my desk when I was an IT contractor in MCI’s Service Delivery division… It was a salesdroid that wanted to know if our company was interested in switching our long distance service to AT&T.

  28. I remember Dillon, he was just at the next stand after WordPress at SXSW in those dates. They probably scanned your badge, and sent out an automated e-mail.

    Anyway they’re getting good visibility now πŸ™‚

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