It is not often that one gets to see newbies to seasoned pro’s to the superstars of the technology industry under one roof gathered for the same purpose. At 10:30am on a Saturday morning, at the Intel office off the old airport road, Bangalore, the 18th BAUG meet up was a unique and novel event and I was glad to be a part of it.
What is the Bangalore Android User Group?
The Bangalore Android User Group is an online community of people who are interested about Google’s Android OS. Founded in 2009 by a few early adopters of the Android OS, this meet up group is now the largest Android group in the world, with over 2000 online members.
Every month, on a Saturday, the organizers arrange for meet ups at various corporate offices in Bangalore. A meet up typically has about 30 to 40 attendees. The first half of the meet up is a presentation session, where someone from the community presents about a programming concept and second half is an app demo session, where the attendees showcase their apps developed by the members of the community.
Strictly no Marketing!
This is possibly the only event that I’ve been to which doesn’t have a marketing angle to it. In fact people with the intention of marketing have been shunned so far! (Unless they want to share app marketing techniques).
As sceptical as I was about this meet up, there really was no marketing angle to it. This truly was an event centred on knowledge, sharing and community goodwill. The organizers are superstar engineers at reputed corporates and, as far as I could see, truly wanted to give back to the developer community to make it better.
Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers!
This meet up was the visual representation of Steve Ballmer’s ‘developers’ catchphrase; hosted by developers for the developers. It was hard to find any professional event management involved. The meet up started late and most of the sessions went over time.
Having said that, the sessions were top notch and the presenters knew what they were doing. The audience was very interactive which made the talk sessions very informative. Everyone who came to the meet up went back having learnt something new.
One of the organisers admitted “The worst thing about us is that we are unprofessional and the best thing about us is that we are unprofessional.”
In the spirit of free open source software, the meet ups are also free. There have been 18 meet up’s since 2009, and all of these have been free, allowing anyone, who wants to learn, to attend without having to worry about an entry fees. But this isn’t suggestive of the quality of the event. The event is hosted at posh corporate conference halls (usually accompanied by snacks). The people presenting and attending have been a part of android since its advent and the knowledge and the experience of this meet up, is truly priceless.
Furthermore, the community is known to have hosted hackathons and other coding events, with top notch facilities, which have also been open and free for the Android developer community.
Of the developer, by the developer, for the developer
I can’t stress enough on how developer centric this meet up is. It was truly wonderful to see so many people under one roof, who wanted to learn and share. Even the corporates can’t but recognize the noble purpose of this community. Take Intel for example, possibly one of the most closed companies amongst today’s corporates, lent their office space for a community meet up.
At the end of the meet up, I left the place with no evidence of an ulterior motive. I believe this meet up will result in better Android developers, making India a centre for coding excellence.
This country could really do with more such meet up’s in all the professional spheres.