Stephanie Canon Managing Partner Follow
May 22, 2024
We are Leaders

In Part 1 of this series, we focused on innovation at Chapter Three. There was a lot to talk about there, from Next-Drupal and its various features, to the many original modules that Chapter Three developers have contributed to the Drupal universe. This post focuses on how we at Chapter Three are not only innovators, but also leaders.

There’s more to leadership than being innovative, and not all innovators are great leaders. Being a great leader also involves listening to others, taking ownership of your mistakes, and championing others’ successes. This is also how we seek to lead at Chapter Three, both within our own team, and externally, in the open source community.

The Decoupled Future of Drupal

The great jazz piano innovator Thelonious Monk once said, “You play what you want and let the public pick up on what you're doing, even if it does take them 15, 20 years.” Of course, progress in the software industry moves faster than changes in musical taste, but the attitude we take at Chapter Three is much the same as Monk’s: we find open space, we lead from the front, and eventually the community at large catches on to what we’re doing.

Consider Next-Drupal. When we invented this groundbreaking Next.js-based front end product for decoupled Drupal sites as a COVID project, it wasn’t because of a specific ask. Headless websites were already a thing in 2021, but the Drupal community wasn’t talking much headless. For the first year or so following our unveiling of Next-Drupal, only a small handful of clients were interested. 

Fast forward to June 2023 at DrupalCon in Pittsburgh. In a talk entitled “Hot Takes: Javascript and the Future of Drupal”, original Chapter Three co-founder and current Pantheon chief strategy officer, Josh Koenig,. explicitly stated that the future of Drupal was headless, citing a statistic showing that by May 2023, Next.js-powered sites would outnumber Drupal sites for the first time ever. He also lauded Next-Drupal as a crucial innovation in this space.

The past year has seen steady growth and interest in Next-Drupal. At this year’s DrupalCon in Portland, we had many people visit our booth eager to take a look at our handiwork. We now have a thriving partnership with amazee.io, a similarly innovative company doing great work providing hosting solutions for decoupled Drupal sites. We can now point to numerous clients who have taken this route with us with superb results. People are starting to catch on.

Of course, we could be off with our prediction. Being a leader means risking being wrong and having to own it. But we don’t think we’re wrong, and there’s plenty of evidence that we’re on the right track.

Leading From Within

Chapter Three also leads through relationship building, both internally with our own team, and in our relationships with clients. The result of this is both remarkable tenure among our employees and a track record of long-lasting client relationships.

Chapter Three is not a large agency—there are about 20 of us in all—but what we lack in size, we make up for in experience. The average tenure for a Chapter Three employee is eight years, and we have several team members who have been with us for more than a decade. This stability translates into tremendous experience and intellectual capital, making us natural leaders in the Drupal world.

This stability is also conducive to client retention. We have several clients who have been with us for over a decade, through various iterations of their websites, from migrations to large- and small-scale redesigns. Our clients have come to trust our expertise on the latest technological advances. And thanks to our staff tenure, it is usually the same familiar faces working with individual clients year after year.

We lead by example and by planting our flag and waiting for the world to catch on to what we’re doing. It’s in our DNA.

Want To Help Us Lead?

If you want to be a leader in web development, we’d love to hear from you. Read our values for a sense of who we are and what we prioritize. We welcome all those who truly believe in open source technology and have the drive to lead by example and innovate.