If you thought the people who work at computer most of their
life time are no fun, you need to think again. Because the speakers, organizers and attendees at Friday’s BIPC Conference proved one more time that internet professionals are some of the most fun people to hang out with.
Now you may be thinking why am I opening this post with the fun part where many other outlets are writing the story the other way. Well, I like to break the orthodox way of writing about conferences — the way newspapers do it. Usually the word ‘conference’ renders a boring picture of an auditorium full of boring people talking about boring stuff. And news articles make it sound even more boring — focusing more on what the guests spoke and less about what actually went on at the event.
Luckily, at #Dhaka, we want to avoid the conventional way of writing about events (and we encourage you to do so too). Yesterday’s BIPC Conference is the perfect event to write about because despite this being a ‘conference’, the event was anything but boring.
As usual, the event opened with speeches from a few of the organizers, invited guests along with the State Minister of ICT as chief guest. I won’t go into the details about who were present as you could find those in a newspaper article quoted at the end of this post. Let’s just talk about what happened, and how we enjoyed it.
As internet professionals, one thing that we all have in common is that we spend most of our time in front of computers. The job or business — freelance or own company — is done on the internet. And that’s what makes people internet professionals. As anyone with a bit of knowledge in the country’s IT sector knows, there are thousands of such internet professionals working from Bangladesh. Some of them are just independent freelancers working with their clientele. Some others have formed business or agencies to work together.
The other thing these internet professionals have in common is that they almost never get to meet the people they know. It’s mostly because they are too busy working on their business. But BIPC Conference’s one of the main goals was to bring these people under the same roof. And if not anything, they have achieved that with great success. With over a thousand of attendees coming in from more than 50 districts across the country, BIPC Conference 2014 has become the first and largest gathering of internet professionals in Bangladesh.
Learning and Networking
How do you learn things? Well, anyone these days will refer you to Google. But the industry icons that we know of — consisting of amazing people like Hasin Hayder, Asif Anwar Pathik, Rasel Ahmed, etc — are the icons not just because they are highly talented and knowledgeable, but also because they help people learn. Of course, one cannot be a 24/7 teacher for the mass, but their attitude towards helping people have resulted in many, many successful internet professionals all over Bangladesh.
A session especially geared towards meeting these icons was held at the conference yesterday. The invited experts were asked questions relevant to their journey to this day and how they fought the challenges that they had faced. Without going into every little detail of what they spoke, the takeaway is that if you are passionate enough, have patience to learn, a goal and the tenacity to achieve it, you will meet success down the road. Nobody became successful overnight, nor did they get to where they are without some fight. There will always be complications, difficulties, and challenges along the way. If you have dream, a positive attitude towards achieving it, and work hard to learn and get there, you will get there.
A separate session was held for some of the women professionals in the industry where they shared their experiences, the obstacles they face in a working environment and suggested that freelancing can be a great alternative way for women to work from home.
Organizers said that due to shortage of time, it wasn’t entirely possible to hold longer discussions on specific topics. Each of the persons invited to Meet the Icons sessions have different experiences and can talk about different areas of the industry. Many attendees expressed their disappointment in the fact that they couldn’t hear more from the experts on the topics that they are interested in. But the organizers ensured that in the future, they will try to hold one-day conferences just with one expert from the industry so that people can extensively learn from his expertise, experience and suggestions.
In between coffee and lunch breaks, attendees were seen hanging out with their friends. A lot of people meet their friends from the community for the first time, especially because many of them came from other districts. Again, here, some people thought that with a different, larger venue, it could have been possible to hold panel discussions with specific groups so that people could get to know others from the community better. In a nutshell, the networking part of the event didn’t turn out quite as expected by the attendees. Plus, because of the event being so big (over a thousand attendees), many had a hard time figuring out where their friends from Facebook were unless they had the contact numbers.
In future events, a larger place with possibility to sit down into groups will definitely be appreciated by the attendees. Imagine people from Be Designer Facebook group sitting around in a specific place to discuss their topic. It’ll bring people from that group together and will further the networking aspect of the event.
The fun-part of the event as promised on its tagline made its appearances throughout the entire day. Starting with the speeches of chief guest and ending with the raffle draw gifts distributed to a lot of attendees, there was no lack of fun. Because majority of the people in this community are very friendly and fun-loving, tech-related events always have a habit of turning into a gathering where people not only learn and discuss tech, but also have a lot of fun. And at yesterday’s BIPC Conference, it spread into everyone in the auditorium.
At the end of the day, people learned from the experiences of today’s industry experts, spent a good day with their friends at the community, and even better, some of them returned home with gifts! There may have been some mismanagement throughout the event as it was so large and it took place for the first time ever, but they were nothing we can’t forget. We are internet professionals, after all. We seldom meet in person. 😉 And since BIPC has taken the initiative to get us together, it’s fair to believe that it will get better in the coming days.
Resources: BIPC official website; Official Facebook Group
Sponsors of the event: Elance-oDesk, Akhoni.com, Payoneer, JoomShaper, Crative IT Limited, AjkerDeal.com, xademy, DevsTeam, Web Code Institute, BASIS, ThemeXpert, and nijolcreative.
News coverage: bdnews24.com, Prothom Alo