Behind the scenes of organising a community-driven event - part 1

I'll be the first one to admit - I had absolutely no plans of writing anything about organizing community-driven events. After all, organizing one (and helping co-organize another, as a volunteer) didn't make me an expert.

Additionally, as far as I was concerned, there was nothing new I could add that my co-organizers, Saiyam, Rohit, Shivay, and I hadn't already said at the event or in our posts on social media

However, as I was sifting through the love we received on social media over the past week, I saw this tweet by Ramiro Berrelleza, founder of Okteto.

While we've all given thanks to the people who partnered with us and posted really nice photos, nobody had ever shone light on the blood, sweat, and tears that went behind putting together the event from scratch. And this was the moment a light bulb went off in my head.

I know, I know, this story is less fascinating than how a certain Mr. Archimedes discovered buoyancy.

Image by brgfx on Freepik

But, it honestly is how the post you're reading came to be. I intend for this BTS to be a series because there's way too much content to fit into a single post.

So, let's start with the basics, shall we?

The why

If you've ever heard me talk/present, I normally start by discussing why I chose to speak about the topic at hand. Nothing to do with Simon Sinek's bestselling book, of course. I'm just a rambler & a highly anxious person who LOVES to justify and that is exactly how we'll be starting off this series - by looking at the why behind KCD Mumbai.

So, for anyone who has heard about India or lived in India, you'd know that the hub for everything tech is Bengaluru. It is a lovely city with some very tasty food (Ghee roast & filter coffee at MTR, anybody?) and GREAT weather.

Other emerging tech hubs in India with a lot of startup action & MNC operations are the cities of Pune & Hyderabad.

Contrast these options with Mumbai, which is also a metropolitan city, has a humid climate, is crowded, and is not really renowned for its tech scene; and the  question arises, why Mumbai?

As advocates for cloud native technologies at our day jobs & outside of it, teaming up with KCD Bengaluru or KCD Chennai would have been our best bet. We would not need to compete for company sponsorships in these economic conditions & we'd also probably be able to reach our target audience better since they work in and around these cities.

However, if I could sum up our rationale behind hosting Kubernetes Community Days in Mumbai in a single word, it would be accessibility. As organizers, we wanted to host an event replete with international speakers, sponsors etc. that folks from other parts of the country, especially tier-2 & tier-3 cities, were able to attend.

Now Mumbai might not be endowed with great weather, but one thing that it does boast of is connectivity to almost all other Indian cities - by flight, road, or rail.

By hosting this event in Mumbai, not only did we want to encourage people from other parts of the country to attend such events, but we also hoped to encourage attendees to spin up local chapters in their respective cities by example. Of course, we wouldn't expect you to believe what we say without demonstrating it!

Make cloud native ubiquitous, amirite?

This is not to diss the efforts of any other Kubernetes Community Days being hosted in India. As a matter of fact, we hope that by attending events like these, more folks are inspired to come forth, engage with the cloud native & open source ecosystems, and spin up local tech scenes of their own.

Also, with this event, we wanted to reinstate the message that you've probably heard ever so often from different people, "Open source contributions aren't just about code." While I'm a documentation maintainer for the Kubernetes project and a CNCF ambassador, there were folks in the volunteering & organizing team who chose to (succesfully) engage with and contribute to the ecosystem in ways other than code & documentation.

Once we had narrowed down our "why" , it also helped us find our where and who (more on that later). With this GitHub issue , we took the first step toward formalizing our intent and get the ball rolling for further discussion. In the next post, I intend to delve into the juicy details of the areas we, as organisers, had to focus on to put together this event from scratch - sponsorship,volunteers, swag, et al.

But before I end this post, if you or anyone you know was inspired by KCD Mumbai/any other CNCF event and you'd like to host one locally, please do check out the CNCF Community Groups page. There are a bunch of fantastic resources for you to get started and help with making cloud native (and open source) ubiquitous.