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The Future of the Liferay Community

Over the last 5 years if there's anything I've learned it's that the only thing that doesn't change is change itself. I've been blessed to have been a part of many exciting changes at Liferay and our community, seeing it grow from 80 to almost 600 employees, and from 20k to 150k community members, and being given the chance to:
  • Join an awesome company and work with some of the sharpest knives in the software drawer
  • Help move the company from a church attic to a giant building with a real parking lot
  • Watch open source Liferay evolve from this to this
  • Meet new people and make hundreds of new friends from different countries and cultures, learning how we're different and how we are alike, and discussing life and Liferay
  • Build apps, give demos, make videos, ramble on in blogs, forums, IRC, various social networks, emcee'ing events, almost breaking Oktoberfest
  • Represent the community in countless different places, internal and external
  • Most importantly, have tons of fun and look forward to each day at "work"
It's been a great ride, but the time has come for me to move on... So it is with mixed emotions that I've decided to close this chapter of my life and career at Liferay. My last day at Liferay is this Thursday, February 18th. Other than my Liferay email address, nothing else changes - @schtool, LinkedIn, schtool at gmail dot com and jhf on Freenode IRC will be good ways to keep in touch!
 
I want to give a hearty thanks to the countless people I've met and friends I've made both inside the company and in our larger open source community. There are way too many to name, and I'd inevitably miss a few from "back in the day" so I don't want to try to list them all :) I've always considered our community more like my extended family, and I will will definitely miss all of my Liferay friends.
 
I sat down with Eddy Dueck to record some thoughts about my time at Liferay:
 
 
I also recorded a podcast with Olaf Kock from Radio Liferay, whom many of you already know, to go into a bit more detail around the community going forward:
 
 
I've come to embrace change, and I'm looking forward to my next gig and the new challenges therein. I also look forward to seeing how fresh people, new energy, and new ideas can evolve the Liferay community going forward. We've come a long way these last several years, and I have no doubt that there's still much more to come from Liferay and its community!
 

So, what now?

Fortunately Liferay's internal community is just as strong as its external community. Several people at Liferay that you already know will be taking over my duties as community manager and helping to write the next chapter in the Liferay community. I've always wanted the community to be "run by" more than one person, because each has their own strengths and I think small teams can be more effective than a "one-man shop". And the internets mean I won't be too far and may be able to contribute in various ways even after I'm out! It will take some time for things to settle down, but the community drum beat continues and I'm am super thrilled to see what happens in 2016.
 
I will not be going far. I am still a big proponent of open source and will continue to "be in this space" in my next chapter. So we'll most likely meet again! Alas, for now, I'll close with some words by Neil Peart, lyricist and drummer for Canadian rock band Rush, from their 1991 song Ghost of a Chance:
 
Like a million little doorways
All the choices we made
All the stages we passed through
All the roles we played
 
For so many different directions
Our separate paths might have turned
With every door that we opened
Every bridge that we burned
 
Somehow we find each other
Through all that masquerade
Somehow we found each other
Somehow we have stayed
In a state of grace
 
I don't believe in destiny
Or the guiding hand of fate
I don't believe in forever
Or love as a mystical state
I don't believe in the stars or the planets
Or angels watching from above
But I believe there's a ghost of a chance we can find someone to love
And make it last...
 
And with that, sadly this means we must part. A wave of the hand now, and I am gone, until we meet again! See you on the internets and beyond!
James, sorry to see you go. All the best for your future - it's been fun all the years. May our paths cross again.
James, thanks for your leadership all these years! Best wishes in all of your endeavors.
Thanks to all what you've done James, Good luck!
Thanks James, for all your great work, energy, creativity, laughter ... you're are awesome! and I'll miss you. Wishing you all the best for the future!
Hey James,
It's been a honor working with you all these years. The Liferay community is better and healthier thanks to you.

I wish you the best of lucks in your new adventure.
Hi James,

I can only stammer these words, i am absolutely shocked !!!
You who put the Liferay Community on the map when there was almost nothing organised .

Of course others can fill in your steps but man your shoe size is really big !

I am sure you have taken out everything that was in there and we made lots of fun and wish you the very best.

James, Thanks Thanks Thanks for all the years past..

Corné
James You are going to be missed!!!

Thanks for all the positive energy you gave us in the Community and all you have done for us in all those years!!

All the best and I wish you all the luck in the world.
James, you will be missed! You always bring a lightness and humor to the room (whether a physical room or chat room) and are the life of the party. Best wishes and hope to see you again soon!
Hi James,
Its great that you have contributed lot for Liferay Community and Its really shocked for me but Good luck for your future.
Thank you James for all your great work & efforts on building up a Liferay Community.
I wish you the all the best for you next endeavors !
All the best !
Awe shucks. You will be greatly missed. Thank you for all of your great work and positive energy and lots of luck with your future endeavors.
Farewell buddy!

This life is too short and the world is too small, so I'm sure we'll meet again somewhere, maybe on the internets and beyond!

Best for your next step!
James, I wish all best. sad to see that you leave, but It has been nice work with you. When you come to Finland, I'm there too. So see you emoticon
James, you already know this, but you really are a treasure of the Liferay community and you did a fantastic job shepherding this group. I really wish you all the best and will miss working with you! Thank you for all you've done.
Thanks for all that you've done, James. I'm really going to miss working with you. Best of luck on your new adventures. I hope we'll see each other again sooner rather than later!
I will misss you, your engagement in open source software, your patience and the respect you showed to the whole enthusiast community of Liferay'users and developers.
James, it has been a pleasure to meet you and an honour to work with you. All best in the future and keep up your unique brightness! Until we meet again my friend.
We will miss you so much on the community and Symposiums :'(
Good luck James!!