Of dependencies, redundancy, plumbing, promise OR, what it took to create JSFoo Bangalore 2012

Dependency refers to the case when one piece of code or module depends on another piece of code in order for it to work. (noun, verb

 

I am not a geek. To answer the oft-asked question, which I find terribly irritating and irksome, “I am NOT a TECHNICAL person.” Many times, I feel out of place in gatherings when people are passionately talking about code, databases, technology frameworks and languages. I am still discovering and fathoming the process of individuality and freedom associated with being part of “geek communities”, “meetups”, and “discussion spaces”. It’s all interesting, and it is about dependencies. 😉

 

I find myself most unqualified to run a HasGeek event. I have no clue about tethering, throttles and all the complexities that go into making the internet connection work at conferences. I can’t determine the freaking difference between VGA cables, splitters, mixers and all that jazz that produces a reasonable conference video. I can figure out good food for participants, talk to the watchman at NIMHANS to ensure that the AC is turned off when it gets too cold inside the auditoriums, deal with the HR or marketing person from a sponsor’s company, and marry people with tasks that suit their abilities and personalities. Now, when I look back at JSFoo Bangalore 2012, an event that I think we successfully and lovingly delivered, I realize that it takes all kinds of dependencies to run an event, and to work towards the claim that we are creating “discussion spaces” around technologies. 

 

Dependencies are frightening to human beings, to most of our seemingly liberated selves, because society emphasises and values individuality (an erroneous concept when considered in absolute). But communities are really about this productive tension between individuality, consensus proceses and group decisions. I find it fascinating to observe and understand how “geek communities” function, the process of writing code as an individual and through “community” contributions, the disdain that folks like Vishal and Kiran have for “design by committee”, etc, and yet this keenness and interest that someone like Rakesh has in meetups, groups, local discussion forums and mentoring, and the drive for openness that leads Kiran to contest content decisions by jury.

 

Dependencies – I find them discomforting and disconcerting, and yet, I actively seek them when I run a HasGeek event. My strongest dependency for JSFoo 2012 was Sunil. I could never have dreamt of running such a successful event if I hadn’t had him by my side, shoulder to shoulder, at every moment in the three months leading to the event.

 

When Sunil walked into the office around the time of 5el for the first Skype call between Aditya, Rakesh and Kiran to plan JSFoo, he thought of himself as executing the website he had planned for JSFoo 2012. Over the next few weeks, it was evident to me that Sunil felt a great degree of ownership for the event, the vision of what a conference like JSFoo could be and do for JS developers, etc. I found him to be the most ardent and vocal guy in the programme committee, with Rakesh being the silent kinds whose excitement you can only figure out through his well-thought out emails, and Vishal chipping in with his strong opinions and zeal. And it also surprised me to find Sunil as organized as myself, calling me each morning asking, “Zee, what needs to get done today?” He has been a stabilising force for me through and through JSFoo. And above all, a friend I can treasure for the rest of my life!

 

Redundancy, refers to the inclusion of extra components that are not strictly necessary to functioning, in case of failure in other components. (noun)

 

I first heard about redundancy from a dev-ops guy who was describing how he had made three backup plans to ensure that the flowers and cake reach his girlfriend on her birthday.

I must admit that I am quite a redundancy person in the strictest sense of the term. My redundant strategies stem from my constant need to seek out dependencies and to be inclusive of as many wonderful people as possible when running a HasGeek event. 

I am pretty certain that Aditya will be amused when he reads about himself in this section – he was our most redundant component. Yet, JSFoo could not have been an event without him and without his free spirit, his opinionated opinions and his idiosyncrasies that go into making methods out of madness.   

 

Plumbing refers to installing and maintaining a system of pipes, tanks, fittings and other apparatus required for the water supply, heating, and sanitation in a building. (noun)

 

It takes a lot to build a solid system that enables you to perform an activity repeatedly – activity such as running events that can be detrimental to your health, to your desires to learn about something in-depth, and to your need for expertise. Running events is an asking job, and that too when you have to do it once every weekend. There are many tasks that are mundane, that require enormous amounts of patience and persuasion, tasks that seem too trivial for a thinking personality.

 

What do you need to build a system that will facilitate discussion spaces and communities? You need people, relationships, empathy, passion, tremendous spirit of initiative and tonnes of goodwill. At HasGeek, we are fortunate to have all of this, and a lot more. We had a rock solid programme committee for JSFoo 2012 that gave from their personal time, energies and projects to be part of the journey that made corridor.js and beer.js. We had the support of individuals such as Jon, Barbara, Ciju and Sreekanth whose beliefs, energy, enthusiasm and quirks led us all the way to JSFoo 2012.

 

I had a remarkable team of individuals at HasGeek working round the clock on the event – Ashwan, Sajjad, Krace, Radha, Haris, Praseetha and Kiran – each one of who I kept calling on to help me with tasks that interfered with their essential skills, interests and passions. Yes, each one of us made sacrifices in order to plumb a solid system. 

 

I cannot forget to mention all the folks who volunteered for JSFoo – Anenth, Sandeep, Kaustubh, Yuvi, Kashyap, Devin, QJ, Anand, Ashwin, Vipul, Yogandh, Nuthan and Ranga. It is most satisfying and fulfilling to meet new people who have a great sense of initiative and who are willing to put in hard work for the sheer joy of creating something together. This is the main reason why volunteers are such an integral part of HasGeek events – the personal growth they achieve through volunteering is what inspires and keeps the HasGeek juggernaut moving forward.  

 

Promise refers to an object that represents an operation that will complete in the future. (nounverb)

 

I have often rued about the fact that my PhD is on a hold because I have pushed myself to be part of creating something that has no immediate relationship with my interests and passion for research and writing. 

 

I do not understand geeks much, even though I am married to one and keep discovering different facets of him each day. It started off as a surprise to encounter software developers, engineers and what are referred to as “geeks” back in April 2011 when I began to understand HasGeek slowly and gradually. I did not understand the internet because it was a non-phenomenon in my life, except for writing and reading emails, or searching for research papers on scholar.google.com. I don’t understand the internet fully, yet, but it now fascinates me to watch group processes through mailing lists, “geek communities”, IRC, twitter, and what have you. More importantly, I am still trying to understand the relationship of these tools and interfaces with in-person meetings, conferences, gatherings, meetups and the overall process of learning.

 

For me, this is what HasGeek is about – understanding human interaction processes, and how these are evolving through technology, new regimes of regulation and governance, and how relationships survive or get fragmented over time.

 

In hopes, regrets, ruing, agitation, excitement, inspiration, initiative, and more … until JSFoo 2013 … … …

– Zainab 

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About writerruns

I am lost in life. I now run to lose myself and to lose the handles I have been holding on to.
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One Response to Of dependencies, redundancy, plumbing, promise OR, what it took to create JSFoo Bangalore 2012

  1. Muthu says:

    Ms. Write Runs.
    This is wonderful! You truly are my ‘social’ comrade – how can we not see the ‘social’ in everything! As I slave through my STS diss, your blog reads like pure STS….I am proud of you and the insights you bring to this world. And you sound happy! You ARE writing!
    Hugs, from far, far away through the fibre optic cables.

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