FOSS United Chennai August meetup

This forum thread contains information about the August 2023 meetup of FOSS United Chennai.

Date - 26 August,2023
Venue - Animaker, 8th Floor, TIDEL Park, Tharamani, Chennai, Tamil Nadu 600113
Google Maps

Timings - 10AM - 2PM
RSVPS, and CFPs will be opening soon. All info to be updated here.

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This time,we are planning to collaborate with WomenTechMakers Chennai.

The structure of the event will be:

Opening Keynote (10 minutes)

Panel Discussion(30 minutes) on “Women in Tech”, a discussion on the challenges faced by women in the tech community, celebrating their achievements and their contributions to the world of open source.

Two Tech Talks (30 minutes each)

Lunch and Networking (30 minutes)

Two technical workshops (50 minutes each)

Closing Note (10 minutes)

  1. Invites for the panel discussions have been sent, we are waiting for confirmations from the invited speakers.

  2. The meetup is to be announced on the forums and social media channels.

  3. CFPs and RSVPs will be opening by the next two days.

Please join us on telegram for more information about the meetup.

If you wish to speak at the meetup or participate in the panel,please go through the following before submitting your application

CFPs and RSVPs to the meetup are now open.

Apply as a speaker here,
CFP closes on 19 August

Register for our upcoming meetup

Registration for the meetup doesn’t guarantee a spot, a final RSVP mail will be sent to registered participants 2 days before the event.

The venue has been finalised at Animaker,Tidel Park Chennai.

We have received 100 RSVPs and 2 CFPs so far.
Because of the collaboration, we are expecting 400+ RSVPs this time.

A final RSVP mail will be sent to registered people 3 days before the event, 150 people to be selected on basis of first come first serve, the venue can accommodate 120.

Announcing the panelists for our upcoming meetup

290RSVPs and 7 CFPs as of today.
We have closed both forms, another RSVP mail will be sent to the registered participants to confirm their attendance which will be closed at 150 responses.

The venue capacity is 130, we are expecting 100+ to show up.

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CFPs have been sent for review.

  • CFPs were supposed to be closed on 19th, and we planned to announce the speakers selected on 22nd. However,since no updates were sent to the speakers regarding that some of them assumed that they were rejected, others had to follow up asking for updates. Should be kept in mind next time.

The FOSSU review team has finalised the following talks from the submissions

  1. Restarting my career with open source .
  2. In the beginning there was command line
  3. Code courage and community,

As part of the collaboration,the partner community will be making suggestions if any other talks can be added to the event since we have 45 minutes of buffer, if not we will be extending the panel discussion and plan some other activities for the participants.

Confirmation RSVP mails have been sent to those who registered for the meetup.

We will be closing the RSVP at 180, venue can accommodate 130 people.

We have closed the RSVP forms at 138. We are expecting around 80-90 people at the meetup. This is the agenda for the same:

10 - 10:20 Opening Keynote, WTM
10:20 - 10:40 Primer on FOSS United
10:40 - 11:10 In the beginning there was the command line
11:10 - 12:00 Snacks and Networking
12:00 - 12:30 Panel Discussion
12:30 - 1:00 Code, Courage and Community
1:00 - 1:30 How I restarted my career with open source
1:30 - 2:00 Closing
There’s a buffer of around 20-30 minutes for unexpected delays. We can use it up with open ended discussions, audience interaction etc.

RSVPs closed. We are expecting 100+ people at the meetup.

Post Mortem Report - FOSS United Chennai August meetup

Taking inspiration from @rahulporuri 's writeup on HydFOSS and @wisharya 's suggestions, We at FOSS United Chennai have decided to make detailed planning threads and post event reports for our monthly meetups as well.

Our August meetup, in collaboration with WomenTechMakers Chennai, took place at Pick Your trail office, Chennai. We had over 40 participants in the meetup which took place from 10AM - 2PM

Agenda decided for the meetup

10 - 10:20 Opening Keynote by WTM
10:20 - 10:40 Primer on FOSS United
10:40 - 11:10 In the beginning there was the command line
11:10 - 12:00 Snacks and Networking
12:00 - 12:30 Panel Discussion
12:30 - 1:00 Code, Courage and Community
1:00 - 1:30 How I restarted my career with open source
1:30 - 2:00 Closing

How it actually went through

10:35 - 10:45 Opening Keynote by WTM
10:45 - 10:55 Primer on FOSS United, by Hari Prasanth S
11 - 11:30 Code, Courage and Community, by @ansh
11:30- 12:00 How I restarted my career with open source, by Bowrna
12:00 - 12:15 Fun activities were arranged for the participants (due to a delay in food delivery)
12:15 - 1:00 Snacks and networking
1:00 - 1:30 In the beginning was the command line, by Syed Suhail Ikraam (cancelled, replaced by)
Linux Automation using Ansible, by Rishi Agarwal

1:30 - 2:10 - Panel Discussion on Women In Tech

Some other statistics

  • RSVP 1 - 290 registrations
  • RSVP 2 - 150 registrations
  • Final shortlist - 90
  • CFP Count - 7

The Good

  • We received some really great CFPs, and were able to go ahead with 2 of the 3 selected by the CFP reviewers team (one of the speakers fell sick)

  • One of the talks was especially good, Riya personally reached out to the speaker and invited them to submit a CFP for IndiaFOSS3.0

  • We got 290 registrations for our first form, which was way beyond our expectations. This had to be cut down to 90 however, for reasons explained later.

  • While we faced a lot of delays, we were eventually able to wrap up by the decided time.

  • @wisharya 's suggestion to order food directly on the day of the meetup helped us prevent a lot of wastage

  • The company was helpful enough to provide us a space on a very short notice of 1 day (more context provided later), did not ask us to disclose any data of the participants, and also had tea/coffee and some light snacks arranged for us at no cost.

  • Rishi Agarwal agreed to come give a talk only in 1 hour of notice and prepared for it at the venue itself.

  • The audience was really interactive and attentive, I noticed that most people were in fact not using their phones during some of the talks and the panel discussion (which went on from 30mins to 1hr) , which is rare to see. There was also a good ratio of students and professionals.

  • People came from Vellore, Trichy and other far away places. @mriya11 specially came from Bengaluru for the meetup.

  • We were able to livestream our panel discussion, and had around 4-5 people watching it live.

  • Both communities internally discussed whom to invite as panelists, and almost all the people we reached out to accepted the invitation. We had a remarkable panel featuring women from various spheres and domains.

    The Panel comprised of:

    1. @mriya11, Program Manager at FOSS United
    2. Swaathi K, Founder at Skcript
    3. Afra Banan Baig, Backend Developer at BNY Melon
    4. Hemapriya N, Data Engineer and WTM Ambassador
    5. Niya Shameer, Incoming technical student at CERN
    6. Bowrna P, Software Engineer at Unravel Data

The Bad

  • One of the speakers had to drop out since they got sick. they informed us early morning and we were able to replace the talk with someone else from the submitted CFPs.
  • The company has 2 offices nearby to each other, some folks went to the wrong location because they might have simply searched for the company name and went to the other location which showed up.
  • The event was ended abruptly after the panel discussion, without a closing note which felt off.This might have been a good time to encourage people to join our communication channels and to give us feedback live at the event.

The Ugly

  • The original venue cancelled on us one day before the event. On the morning of 25th, we were told that OTPs for check in will only be sent to 80 people(previously discussed number was 150) and we are to send a final list of these 80 within an hour. We requested more time so we could look for other venues since it won’t have been possible to decide on a list of 150 without randomly selecting 80 which was not viable.

    Some time later, we received another update that the venue can not accomodate 80 people either, and we are to give a list of maximum of 60 people. This meant selecting 50 out of 150, plus the volunteers,speakers and panelists. The WTM ambassador tried to talk about this to the team and a few minutes later we were told that maintenance work is going on, and nothing can be done since this is a government property, and now the venue won’t be available at all. We were asked to cancel/postpone the event. Fortunately, PickYourTrail was happy to help us and provided us with the space, with just one call from the team. They only had 55 chairs at the venue, so we shortlisted 90 people from the 150 and sent them confirmation emails, first selecting 40 people who had already confirmed that they will coming and rest of them randomly. 40+ people showed up eventually.

    This was a source of great stress for all the volunteers, who spent the entire day cold calling offices, colleges and other leads. We also had other tasks planned ( like writing thank you notes for the panelists etc.) which could not be done since the volunteers were exhausted by end of day. Hari evenutally found us a venue at PYT.

  • The volunteers and organisers had decided to arrive an hour early for the conference, but no one was able to reach at 9. @ansh reached around 9:30, and two people were already there. Hema from the WTM team arrived shortly after and we had over 15 people then.
    We eventually started at 10:35, which meant that the 10-15 people who arrived at 9:30 had now been waiting for over an hour.

  • Some people occupied a seperate small room at the office, maybe those from other communities who were catching up. But this created a lot of noise during the talks, and we received feedback from the attendees after the event that it was really distracting. We should have asked the folks to reduce the volume.

  • Multiple RSVPs and further shortlisting(because of the venue) created a lot of confusion among the participants.

Some thoughts and learnings

  • We should try not to go for venues located in tech parks, since it requires us not only to convince the company to give us a space, but the IT park to let the participants in too.They also ask for contact details of attendees etc.
  • Community collaborations are good once in a while to increase our reach,but shouldn’t be done for every meetup. If needed, we should check before hand that the visions of the community aligns with ours, and all aspects need to be discussed well in advance. We can probably work on a document outlining some guidelines if we plan to collaborate, so as to agree on terms beforehand and to avoid any conflicts later on.
  • There should be a well organised flow for registering people for the meetup. Sending multiple RSVP forms is not only an inconvenience but also creates a lot of confusion.

Thanks @ansh.

I’m really glad that you posted this. It’ll help others organizers too. @mriya11 @ansh we should request all the meetup/event organizers to post it as well. We aim quality events over quantity unlike most of community events out there and it’s only possible if we don’t repeat “The Bad and The Ugly section” part.

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