Many thanks, best wishes and cheers on 10, HasGeek!
If there is one organization that comes to my mind whenever anyone talks about building, enabling and engaging with a community, it is HasGeek.
My journey with them, started with 2011’s Droidcon. Which Raghu and I eagerly registered for because they mentioned that there would be a “Cyanogenmod stall” where anyone could get the CM rom flashed onto their phones. Ironically, it was our first conference ever, as well. We had a ball of the time the first day and when we went to look for the CM stall, we didn’t find it. On asking Amrit and Diogo Ferreira about it, they said that they didn’t have the bandwidth for it. But they said 1 more thing after that – “Why don’t you guys try to do it?”. And that was it - we spent that entire night downloading various Cyanogenmod roms and testing things out. The next day, we setup a Google Forms link and got 18 people who wanted to get their phones flashed with the CM rom. What an experience that was! We almost bricked one person’s phone and got a mild threat from him that he’d take ours as a replacement if it got bricked. Thankfully, that didn’t happen 😁. Here are some pictures from that day (and the previous night)
Since then, I’ve attended almost every single one of their conferences till I left Bangalore in 2014. Many of them, weren’t even in my domain of work and expertise but I just enjoyed spending time at HasGeek conferences and events. They felt inclusive and I didn’t feel like the odd one out nerd that I usually felt because I liked geeking out about computers.
I still remember this one flash talk that Jaseem gave about the Emacs meetup (link) where he used
org-mode to do his slides and pitch Bangalore Emacs Group. I was a vimmer by then and was so inspired by the fact that an editor could do slides that I wrote my own hacky version of slides for VIM. Sure, there are better and more featured attempts at doing slides in VIM but this was one that I wrote (and incidentally used a lot too) and wouldn’t have been possible if I hadn’t heard the talk from him. Fun times.
The one thing that has always stood out for me with them - is that everyone there feels like they’re on the same plane. Zainab, Kiran, et al are very very approachable and they’re always ready for a conversation. I still remember something about the COBC being unclear to me and having a lengthy conversation with Zainab about this at Kilter and she took the time out to educate me about it. I also remember how open Kiran was to involving me on the Save the Internet movement despite the fact that we never “worked together” before that on any account. These are small but when I look back, I see more of these memories than anything else.
Its not a surprise to me that they’ve had 10 rocking years. They found a niche and have built a wonderful community around it. I wish that HasGeek grow even more while at the same time, being as grounded as they always have been. I will always be ready to extend support to them, simply because I feel safe doing so. Cheers, folks.