Event Debrief - Kranti’13
I’m so very excited to share my experience on the mini-hackathon style programme that I and Naresh had managed to conduct at Meenakshi Sundararajan Engineering College, Chennai. The event scale was pretty small – a college symposium that had called for app developers and enthusiasts around Chennai to participate, hack on something that they found entertaining. There was no restriction as such on what they need to work on. Rules were like, “You either make a Firefox add-on, else try to create a Firefox OS mobile app or forget everything…! If you come up with ‘something-Mozilla-development’, we’re as much pleased to support you in your initiative. So please, come hack, share and teach us!” (Listen! This wasn’t the official statement that they had put out on their website. Just for your understanding sake. Well, obvious! Of course they wouldn’t put it up. Isn’t it? :-P)
We didn’t do mass campaigning and promotions for it. We had sent out an email though, via Community India mailing list. Surprisingly enough, there was this guy Keshav, who had come to the event via mailing list referral. I had never seen such a thing happen before and for the first time, I was happy that people are starting to take mailing lists seriously.
The event started at around the schedule time – 8:30 a.m. Every other room at the venue had started to fill in except for our event – App It. Our only solace were the volunteer girls clad in sarees at the event registration desk inside the hall. :-P We waited and waited and by the time when we were about to bang the chairs and leave the room, came two fellas asking “Is it where the Firefox contest happens?” Suddenly, out of nowhere came the enthusiasm and energy to welcome them and get them started. I had given them a little prep talk on the things they might want to work – “You have this Firefox OS mobile that you may want to develop apps for and… There is also Firefox Addons that you may build if you’re familiar with JS – Here are some stuff you may want to go through to get started”, I said (Thanks to Soumya a.k.a Debloper!)
One by one, each hour, we had several teams coming in and a total of about eight teams had arrived. Eight teams might sound a little absurd for a hackathon. But, this is a college symposium. And in a place like this, even having one or two teams register themselves is great. So, I was actually quite happy with the turn out. Now this gets better – The participants, to our amazement had started to pick up things so very easily and in no time were typing their way into creating some of the most exciting Firefox OS apps. In between, I and Naresh had checked in to their desks and tried to solve some issues they faced. There were three apps that was produced finally – Tic Tac Toe game, a Calculator and a Photo Album – all Firefox OS apps – of which the first one had bagged the award.
At first thought, you might think that organizing a small scale hackathon or a coding challenge is going to get you no yield. I did too! But, this event had taught me otherwise. Small scale meetups are good – if you organize at the right place and if the right people come in. Thanks to the volunteers and organizers. You were amazing today! Community here in Chennai is finally gaining some momentum :-)