Pages from my diary – RubyCon
This is a very special account of my experience at Ruby Conference, 2019. Ruby Conference is a global event! From across the world, developers pool in to attend this session full of learning and fun. Speakers like Gautam Rege ( Founder of Josh Software) speak their minds and share beautiful insights from their valuable experience and vision. In this article, I would try to capture everything I learned in this phenomenal event and to share what it felt like to showcase my product to the best developers in India.
I am a Software Engineer, working for the last 3 years with Pepipost, where I am responsible for the complete backend infrastructure and core product development.
Last year, Dibya who is the Co-Founder of Pepipost started a group within the company called Developer Experience (DX) and that was the first step towards the development of one of the best Email Marketing Services knowns as Pepipost. I feel privileged to be a part of Pepipost’s Developer Experience (DX) team.
After getting into this role, the initial months were around building code libraries to smoothen the integration process and getting connected with the online developer communities to promote our product and what we are doing to help the community.
This was all new and continuously challenging my knowledge every day. But, the real challenge came, when I was finally asked to participate in RubyConf. Omg! It’s not even a year into this role and we are now going to sponsor RubyConf India. I was just thinking, what I am really going to do?
I was working closely with Dibya to ensure, we have the right plans ready to run the show.
This conference was like a mission for me, with all sorts of plans A, B, and C ready.
Hats up to Josh Software, the lead organizer of the conference who has been able to run this conference for the last 10 years in India. And, yes the Ruby community is becoming stronger and stronger every day in India and abroad.
Getting Charged for Conference
Though I am not a ruby developer I was super excited about this conference. Since this was my first conference and the location (Goa) was much happening turned out totally a new adventure. This was the perfect platform for me to expand my network and learn how exactly developer evangelist works!
Plan A failed, even before reaching the destination, Goa as a couple of our teammates who were supposed to join us were not coming due to some internal releases.
But I would love to share what was our Plan A; we called it Goa Vacation Hack- where developers can contribute to our open source projects and can win an opportunity to not only enjoy Pepipost sponsored vacation but also a grand party on the Cruise 🙂
As a company, Pepipost loves Open Source and always been eager to contribute to the growth of the community.
While the Plan A didn’t fly off, we moved to Plan B of running an on-the-spot contest where developers can win some of the cool Pepi goodies. You might be surprised to know, that every design was handcrafted by me on Canva. Oh! No is this what a developer evangelist should be doing. Not sure! Whatever it has been, it was great fun and learning for me.
We didn’t want to do simply do a giveaway, instead, it should be earned as part of a contest. We believe this makes more impact than just a simple giveaway.
Oh! Btw I forgot to tell you we were the Hoodies and mugs sponsor at this conference. What else can be more exciting and loving for a developer than a pair of hoodies and a coffee mug to enjoy drinks 🙂
Turning a 2-day conference to a 2-day mission
This was the 2-day conference primarily on 20th and 21st of Jan 2019. But, we booked our plan for 4 days, 1 day before the event for preparation and 1 day after the event so that we can connect and network with some of the awesome developers there post-event too.
Day 1 -Pre-Conference [19th Jan 2019] preparing for the mission
We arrived early morning at GOA airport and straight away booked the cab using GoaMiles. Everything was pre-planned, we were aware that we will not get Uber/Ola in Goa, as it is completely banned there.
After an hour and a half ride, we were at the hotel.
The next plan was to get connected with a few of the attendees prior to the event, but that plan didn’t fly well. After reaching Goa everyone was in a relaxing mood and hence most of the meetings got postponed.
Now, we were having enough time to prepare for the next day of the conference. As per our Plan B, we had to run a couple of contests where developers can win our limited goodies.
We started making our every possible effort to make our goodies more attractive and how we can get noticed by all attendees. We got a bike and started exploring Goa to collect a few items to complete our preparations for making our goodies appear even fancier!!
All banners and prints were up now!
Difficult to list down but you will not believe we went to at least 15 shops plus explored the local Saturday market also get a few of the items which we desperately needed.
But, yes this gave us the opportunity to explore lots of restaurants too for good food and finally, we got one with awesome Goan food and drinks, but was billed a boom 🙂
By this time, I was very much tired and took a 3hrs of cozy sleep, had a cup of strong coffee and started preparing for the next day twitter contest:
We were working till midnight and wooh! Finally, we were ready with a further detailed plan and way to execute everything.
Day 2 [20th Jan 2019] The mission day-1
Early morning we packed our bag with all standees, posters, books, T-shirts, stickers and were ready to rock for the conference.
We reached on time and our booth was already ready. It just took us another 15 mins to set up our goodies and yes we were ready to fire.
We found other exhibitors were still arriving and struggling to set up their booth. Our booth was really tempting. Not only the attendees but also the other exhibitors were appreciating our efforts. Wow! By this time I was feeling very happy and waiting for the first set of attendees to come to our booth.
Our booth at #rubyconfindia 2019
Plan B - And it was failing
Everything was good so far, but now the real challenge started. Booth was ready, people were also coming but no one was really participating in the contest. One the prime reason for that was, everyone was busy grabbing the breakfast/coffees and the majority of the others were rushing to listen to the keynote.
Now, what?? We really don’t have a Plan C or G 🙁
Instant Plan G - The Real Growth Hack
To gain the real attention of everyone on our contest and how easily one can win the goodies, we started distributing few of the goodies for free and took their pictures and started tweeting announcing them as the winner of one of the contest. This images went viral on Twitter with the event hashtag #RCI19.
Now, see the magic, the word of mouth started and attendees started coming to our booth to participate in the contest. We kept the first contest very easy- You have to just post some funny Ruby Memes! with hashtags #programmerhumor #pepipost #rci19 that’s it.
We started receiving great response from them and within the next couple of hours, the event hashtag itself started trending on Twitter. Yes! This is what we wanted.
Few ruby memes
Day 1: Mission accomplished. We were now trending at the event and online, and as promised we gave our premium goodies to top 5 winners.
Super #pepi Dibya Sahoo giving goodies to top 2 winners of day 1
Day 2 [21st Jan 2019] The mission day-2
After the successful mission on day 1, we didn’t want to just disappear the next day just like others as we were out of goodies this day same as others and we need to do something different which can create make an impact again.
So, why to just reply on physical goodies it’s a digital era. So, we just went online bought two $15 Amazon gift vouchers and yes we are ready to make it viral for day 2. No one really knows that we were having only 2 vouchers, that’s the hack here 🙂
Warmup for our brand was already done, so it was natural to get lots of people coming to the booth again on Day 2.
Now, the mission was not only to give $15 voucher but to register Pepipost’s name in everyone’s mind as one of the leading Email Service Provider and the fastest growing community of good emails senders.
So, yes we were on it...
Now, we were not only running our contest where people can win gift vouchers but also started interviewing the speakers to learn about their views on our contest topic:
Importance of developers in business growth.
The video interview kicked off with 'Matz', the creator of Ruby language followed by Gautam Rege co-founder of Josh software. Mudit, product engineer at GO-JEK. Jason Swett a programmer, consultant, and successful micropreneur.
And, yes all these started creating more branding for us and people started talking and learning more about us.
Pics were taken during the video interview
As we were taking interviews, attendees where actively getting connected with us. These interviews help us to create an impact in the event and the main part was now these guys know us personally and ready to partner for some of the future community and business developments.
Here’s the Interview with Matz: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QblvvbAITUQ
Others still in editing...
Twitter again got stormed with tweets on “Importance of developer in business growth” with hashtags #ProudDeveloper. Everyone started feeling really proud of work what they are doing at their workplace.
Developers there started tweeting and sharing about their importance in their own company. Wow!! I was just enjoying these moments.
Tweets showing the importance of developer
The end of Mission was great. We were not the platinum or gold or silver sponsor but still, we stole the show. Our tweets and contest details were appreciated on center stage too. Now, everyone was able to recognize us as The Email Guys who have the most sophisticated, AI-based email delivery platform.
We were successful in our MOTO, especially the one which comes under Developer Evangelism:
- Brand Evangelism: Getting recognized among all.
- Solving the developer's pain area: Providing solution to people on their email delivery problems.
- Evangelizing the tech stack: Clearing doubts on technology stack Pepipost uses and why.
- Product Evangelism: Last but not the least Why Pepipost? How easily it can be integrated, how it stands different from others.
It was really a great experience interacting with hundreds of developers and evangelizing about tech, showing them the real value of using Pepipost and talking about our new AI-based email delivery engine.
- Like Sales, you can’t really fool developers or sell product directly. They don’t just buy a product but really buy the thinking behind.
- In the new digital era, developers are becoming the key to business growth.
- Open source is loved more than a commercial piece of software. Not because of the cost factor, but because it grows in collaboration.
- Not every plan will work, you should be prepared for growth hack in such conferences.
- Cost cutting makes you, more creative 😝.
Today I am recalling and cherishing every moment of my conference days. Feeling privileged to be in this role.
Good Bye for now! Will be back soon with more such experiences. I am sure they're going to be a lot.