NitroDroid 2012 – A Report

NitroDroid 2012, Goa’s largest conference on Android was held this weekend on October 6. It was a full day event that brought together Android enthusiasts (primary the college youth) in and around Goa for a day full of Android goodness. There were tracks that covered various areas of Android right from programming basics, hardware interaction, marketing and Advertisement. I was present at NitroDroid 2012 as a presenter and also someone who was keen to gauge first hand the buzz that Android has created among the youth in India.

The event was held in the idyllic surroundings of the International Center, located in Dona Paula, Goa. You were greeted by a huge cutout of the Android logo at the center and then as you proceeded to the center, you went through cutouts of all the Android versions. Take a look:

If Android was a model, this would be the ramp that he/she would walk on. I can guarantee you that 🙂

Execution

With the advent of Social Media, it is easy to track what the organizers of NitroDroid were upto. You could not help but observe the sheer enthusiasm and will to execute the event to perfection and  take care of the smallest things. Normally they say that you must have a Plan B, in case Plan A does not get through. But I am quite certain that this team had a Plan C,D,E and whatever else. Multiple people were available to execute most tasks and I am not hesitant to state that they can beat the lights out of most Project Managers that I have come across. At such an early stage of their lives, they were dealing with so many ToDo’s to take care off and yet pulled it off. Given that most of them are still studying in Engineering, I tip my hat off to them and gladly state that these are the folks who I would entrust with any job because they refuse to look at “No” as an option. Speaking personally, all my arrangements were taken care off right to picking me up to and from the airport, to the conference location and repeated pings during the conference asking if anything else is needed, etc. Seriously .. the organizers (and you know who you are) deserve all the recognition for conducting this successfully.

Sessions

The sessions were a good mix of everything that is Android. I conducted a session of getting started with Android programming. I attended several other sessions on Marketing Android applications, Android Advertising, Mobile Design and much more. I learned a few key things from every single presentation, so those points were worth my every minute over there. What satisfied me the most was to see how NitroDroid helped a large number of folks to get going with basic Android development. I am sure that these small steps will lead to a great career in Mobile Development for most of them and the icing on the cake would be to meet some of them in the future versions of NitroDroid and attend their sessions.  Twitter was also set on fire by the attendees and NitroDroid was trending for most of the day.

Non-Android Observations

It would not be an understatement if I can say that the vast majority if not all of the attendees were students of various colleges in and around Goa. However that is not the point here. But before I come to that, I wanted to say that I have taught more than 200+ students who have paid me over the last year to learn Android as part of my 2-Day Android Workshop. In parallel, I have gone to several colleges in Mumbai where I have taken a similar session like the one I took at NitroDroid, where I go through the basics of Android programming. At NitroDroid, I found the student crowd among the most interested of all the places that I have gone to. Some of them were clearly determined to get the damn Android app working at any cost. That is a mandatory attitude that is required if you have to get anywhere in your programming career. Quite a few of them have even opened up email channels with me asking for some guidance and links for their projects. Even on Facebook they have asked for links for them to move forward in their environment setup and much more. I am extremely delighted to see this interest from them. I will do whatever is practical for me to help out these students and if they continue this interest in the years to come, they will be the leaders of tomorrow. Sadly I did not see even an inch of that enthusiasm in some of the top Engineering colleges in Mumbai!

Feedback for the next NitroDroid

I have this uncanny feeling that the organizers are already planning for the next NitroDroid. What better chance than to jot down some of my suggestions for the next NitroDroid. These are all debatable but something that can provide food for thought for the organizers. So here we go:

  • Since it is a conference on Android, there should be an Android application just for Nitrodroid. We could take inspiration from the Google I/O App and begin small. Put up all the source code so that attendees can check out the application themselves and even become contributors for it.
  • Setup a simple WordPress (or any other CMS) site for the conference. This site would have a live updates, possible video feeds, presentations can get put up at they are completed, Twitter Feed, Facebook Fan page … all integrated into it.
  • Ask the presenters to give their slides at least a day in advance, even if it is not the final version. Put them up as the sessions end. Also ask the presenters to hand over code so that participants could download it, go over it again.
  • Give NFC or maybe simple QR Code / Bar Code enabled cards at the entrance. Equip a volunteer at the entrance of each session rooms to simply scan the badges as people walk in. There is so much more one can do … once we can track the attendees 🙂
  • Encourage participants to come in early. Give a surprise gift to the first 10-20 participants to get them in early.
  • Create a one of its kind feedback system, wherein the participants can give instantaneous feedback once the session is over via the official NitroDroid conference app. The coolest thing would be to provide live feedback to the speaker while he/she is presenting. E.g. “Slow down”, “Speed it up”…. etc.
  • Break down the tracks into Beginner, Intermediate and Advanced …. only from the perspective of what is expected from the audience to understand the subject matter. Make the presenters state that clearly so that they do not have to adjust at the last moment.

Finally…

NitroDroid has made all the right moves in its first edition. It can only get stronger and better from here. It must aim to become one of the must attend events on the Calendar of every Android developer in India. Who can beat a potent combination of “Sun, Sand and Android”. I look forward to the next one …. till then …. “Do The Droid”.

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