Table of contents
Hey everyone! If you are on Twitter or any other social media then you might have seen the images of HackCon India which was organized by MLH. It was truly a great event and experience and many memories were captured in those snaps. The thing that was not able to be captured was the learning and experiences gained during the entire HackCon. Meeting the leader of the communities tells you lot about the communities and I leaned a lot from these leaders which share different backgrounds and problems. So in this blog, I am going to share my learning and experiences (And lot of photos 😜).
Beginning of the story ⏱
Let's go a bit back on how I ended up attending HackCon India. When it was announced that HackCon will take place in India for the first time everyone was very excited and so was I. GitHub Education being the sponsor of the event and me being GitHub Campus Expert I got an amazing opportunity to represent at HackCon as a GitHub Campus Expert. And we were in charge of planning the activities, games, and some sessions at our booth. During these activities I found some common misconceptions and worries the community leaders, organisers and the community members had. So I would be diving these blog into several section and each section will have a learning that came with my experience.
Start of the HackCon 🎉
Being joined by around 200 hackers/organisers HackCon started around 8am with Keynote session from Mike Swift (CEO of MLH) followed by many other community leaders/builders and hackathon organisers.
During one of the session from Sagar Uprety he mentioned that how Nepal not having community or hackathon culture how he organised, inspired to organise hackathon and gave the meanings to hackathon way beyond just winning prizes. So there comes two learnings from this
Learning 1: Always have a bigger vision behind the activity you conduct 📈
While your vision can be getting people started with hackathons, open source and that's the reason you organise hackathon that's totally okay. You don't specifically need bigger and flashy prizes/ swags. Sagar during the later conversation also mentioned how he inspired one of his connection to organise a hackathon in their classroom with ~40+ students. So this explains that the vision and your passion to achieve the vision that matters when you organise any event. Now the incident from this gives me my second learning
Learning 2: Inspire your connections and help them leverage. ✨
You might have lot of connections on social media but are they really a connection if they are not collaborating and helping each other grow? Sagar in some chats mentioned that during his earlier events he connected with lot of people and when he was planning to organise first GitHub Field Day Nepal he reached out to these highly passionate connections and got them into the organising team giving them exposure and proper platform to utilize thier passion
Moving forward from the Sagar's talk I personally talked with many other aspiring community leaders and they mentioned that their college is not supportive and they don't know where to start. So this inspired me to help them with their situation as this has been exact case with lot of communities and following is the learning and the suggestions I gave them
Learning 3: Network - Inspire - Collaborate 🤝
So not being supported by your college might put you in tough spot. But you don't need to start big with extravigant fests and events you can just start by delivering session about the things you know. Deliver the sessions in your and other colleges/schools in your region and spread a word about your community. So this is networking - Spreading knowledge and awareness about your community. Next comes inspire, whereever you visit for session always inspire people in that college/school to do the same. Inspire them start community, teach others this way you are also helping your connections grow personally (As from learning 2). Now collaborate - Collaborate with these bunch of higly inspired and passionate people to spread the wings of your community. Sooner you will realise that you have walked long way in building your community and your community stands on strong foundation 'without college support'.
During my further conversations I found some members who had misconceptions about community building and I was asked "Then how do you earn through this?" and that brings me to my next learning and answer I told them.
Learning 4: Community Building is not about making money 🎗
Community building is a process where you represent a underrepresented or unpreviledged group of people which are facing same problems and you solve these problems together. If you look at community building from money making point of view then I would highly recommend you to reconsider the vision you have kept forward for you community. Of course community building and management will help you in you career but solving problems collectively should be your aim and not other way around.
The next amazing community person I had chat with was Kartikey Rawat and we discussed some problems while making the next leader for your community and the next two are learnings from it.
Learning 5: Your community aims can differ, they should differ 🦋
If you are building a community it's not mandatory to start your own from scratch. You can look for communities that share same vision, problem as you are trying to solve and you can directly get involved with the community and contribute. If you aims differ only then I would recommend you to start your own community.
Learning 6: There is no 'Politics' in 'Communities' 🚫
Imagine a scenario where there are two communities in the same college/school with same vision and instead of collaborating they do things like keeping sessions at the exact same time on the same topics and try to compete with each other. This is not what I call community. There should be collaboration between communities to share expeirence and help each other grow and solve their shared problems.
While attending the talks and sessions I interacted with lot of interesting community leaders and one of them mentioned how they are struggling in passing on their community leadership and many people pitched in and had great conversation the following learning demonstrates that
Learning 7: Leaders job is to create new leaders 💼
Leadership can't be cultivated in single night you have to give it proper time and attention. Creation of new leader starts from the moment the member joins the community. So as the community leader it's your role to deligate correct responsibilities and create enough opportunities for everyone to take up the stage and cultivate their leadership. Being given the opportunity from the start really helps them try new things, fail and learn.
And all the above learnings were my takeaways from the HackCon. Was it only all about talks and sessions? No. We at GitHub Education booth conducted some interesting activities and gave away some swags involving polaroid photos, stickers, pens, notepads, mugs, bags and exclusive yoga mats ❤️
Overall the experience was great and the organising team did a wonderful job managing the entire event. At the end I was glad that I didn't return back with just swags 😃
- All the images taken in this blog are present openly on social media
Thank you so much for reading 💖
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