Community and Diversity
PHP Developers are well-known for their Community-mindedness, and PHP Conferences are great for sharing and networking with other developers; but minority groups are still under-represented within the workplace and at PHP Conferences, and that is to the detriment of the PHP Community as a whole.
As individuals, we learn a lot from people who have different experiences, beliefs and perspectives on things to ourselves; and the knowledge that we share within a Diverse Community helps our own growth as individual developers. Inclusivity and Diversity expose us to new tools and technologies, to different ways of thinking about problems, and different ways of working, to new ideas and understanding, new perspectives, methodologies, and worldviews; increasing our creativity and innovation. Working with peers from a broader range of backgrounds and lifestyles introduces us to new technologies, new thinking, new approaches or solutions to the problems that we encounter, broadening our own learning in the process. It is to all of our benefits to welcome a broader spectrum of opinion, experience and background, by making the PHP Development Community more welcoming of minority groups. "Vive la différence", as the French say.
So we all benefit from a Diverse Community and from Inclusivity at Conferences. But Diversity means more than just acknowledging and/or tolerating differences. Simply tolerating those differences doesn’t make a workplace or Community where people feel comfortable expressing different views. Simply silencing intolerance creates its own tensions that are counter to what you’re trying to achieve. Diversity is the exploration of our differences in a safe, positive, and nurturing environment. It is about understanding each other as individuals, and moving beyond simple tolerance to embracing and celebrating the rich dimensions of Diversity contained within each individual. Diversity isn't about stepping outside of our comfort zone, it's expanding our comfort zone.
The Rainbow Elephpant
When Rafael Dohms made his pitch for Murphy, the AmsterdamPHP Black Elephpant, he said that "Pretty much every color on the rainbow is present and accounted for, time has come to think outside the box and find ourselves our niche, the Black ElePHPant."
Rafael wasn't thinking far enough outside the box (no offence intended Rafael), he was still thinking of single colour Elephpants; and it was a photo-shopped picture posted back in May 2016 by Peter Kokot (a Slovenian developer) on the PHP group on Facebook that truly inspired the Rainbow Elephpant as a symbol for Diversity within the PHP Community.
An image of the PHP Elephpant mascot, coloured with a rainbow pattern to reflect Diversity, together with Peter's comment:
"Hello, PHPers. A friendly reminder to spread awareness and support of equality because discrimination separates us. Today is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Let’s not discriminate based on the race, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, nationality, religion nor technology. Have a nice day."
The Birth of Enfys
Over the last few years, Elephpants have become a collectable commodity within the PHP Community, produced in a wide variety of colours, helping to promote frameworks and conferences alike, some of them even funded by campaigns here on kickstarter.
And so the idea of "Enfys" was born! "Enfys" is a Welsh name meaning "Rainbow", and is gender neutral (it can be used for both boys and girls), so it seemed an ideal name for a new Rainbow Elephpant, to promote Diversity within the PHP Community.
Working through Vincent Pontier, creator of the original PHP Elephpant and the Elephant Official people (not the cheap knockoff bootleggers), we've proposed the concept to the manufacturing company; and they have made a prototype to prove that creating a Rainbow Elephpant is technically viable; and the prototype Enfys looks pretty good.
And I'm assured that every Rainbow Elephpant will be subtly different, reflecting the fact that we are all individuals, even though we are all still a part of the great "worldwide herd" of PHP developers.
Although the additional process to colour the fabric with the rainbow patterning makes manufacturing costs slightly higher than those of other Elephpant kickstarters, I don't believe that they're excessive.
How Does an Elephpant promote Diversity?
None of the money raised via a Kickstarter campaign can be donated to a charitable cause, so how does backing this Rainbow Elephpant promote Diversity?
The mere presence of a Rainbow Elephpant in the home or the workplace will serve as a reminder to make people more aware of Diversity issues. It's a constant visual symbol to us that Diversity matters, and a sign for others that Diversity matters to us, that our workplace or home is more welcoming and celebrating of the Diversity that exists within the PHP Community. And the more Elephpants that you back, the more that message of Diversity can be spread across the globe.
We Can Make This Happen!
With your help we can add another exciting and colourful member to the PHP Elephpant herd, and with the support of the PHPWomen group, we can make the PHP Development Community more mindful of Diversity and Inclusivity.
Risks and challenges
We need to order at least 1,200 small Elephpants to meet the minimum order requirements of the factory!
While kickstarter measures success or failure in achieving a monetary goal, the manufacturing companies measures its minimum requirement in numbers of small elephpants, so the kickstarter target has been set high enough to allow for this.
The Elephpant design is tried and tested, with thousands already being loved by many of us! But those Elephpants are all based around a single colour, while Enfys uses a new heat-transfer process to create the rainbow colouration!
We are working with the same factory that has manufactured every Elephpant to date, and they have already used the heat-transfer process to produce the prototype, but we don't yet know how efficient this will be, or how much it might slow things down when manufacturing in bulk quantities, or affect the delivery estimates.
And while I've seen and approved the prototype for a small elephpant using this process, the factory doesn't prototype large elephpants.
Another big challenge is handling the shipping of all these Elephpants from taking the initial delivery the EU to their final destinations across the world: with hundreds of packages to ship, this can take a while!
But we are working with the OpenGoodies organisation with Vincent Pontier and his team, and their distribution company, to handle shipping to your backers anywhere in the world based on an average-cost (and that is included in the pledges).
If there are any delays in the manufacturing process, then we might run into the month-long factory shutdown over the Chinese New Year (starting at the end of January)!
Depending upon the timing of production, we are hoping to minimise this risk of delay as much as possible, but we might get caught by the New Year.
The pledge levels in Pounds Sterling, what if the exchange rate falls still further?
Kickstarter won't let me use any currency other than Pounds Sterling, because I'm in the UK; even though I'd have preferred to work in Euros. Changes in the exchange rate over the next six months are difficult to predict, especially if the UK does trigger Article 50; but I want to make this project a reality, and have always said that I'm prepared to underwrite it myself if necessary, and that is still the case. All costings have been calculated in Euros, so there is stability there; and the current low Sterling exchange rate has been used to set the pledge levels, so hopefully enough allowance has been made.
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