Gaurav Mantri's Personal Blog.

C# Corner Annual Developer Conference 2014 – Saluting the Spirit of Community Power

Over this weekend (April 11 – 13th 2014), I had the honor and privilege of attending and presenting at C# Corner Annual Developer Conference. This blog post talks about my experience there. In my opinion (and is shared by all who attended), the event was a huge success with over 800+ people participating and learning (me included on the learning part) from some of the great folks from the industry.

What is C# Corner?

C# Corner is a free online social community for IT Developers and Professionals to exchange their knowledge and experience by teaching and learning from one another by using various interactive online methods such as contributing articles, discussion forums, blogs, and videos. It was started by Mahesh Chand primarily to share the code he wrote. Over a period of time, it has grown leaps and bounds and now boasts of thousands of members worldwide. Now they have chapters (or in other words local user groups) in many cities spread across India and also in some other countries as well. Recently we opened up a chapter in my hometown (Udaipur) as well.

What is C# Corner Annual Developer Conference?

As the name suggests, it is a FREE conference organized by C# Corner. This year was their 4th conference. One really good thing about this conference is that it is free for participants. Speakers include some really prominent names from the industry (and I feel blessed and honored to be a considered that).

One of the neat thing about this event is that it is organized completely by C# Corner community members. There is no hidden agenda other than spreading the knowledge!!!

This year this conference was held in Noida/Gaziabad, UP and was attended by over 800 people. There were about 10 – 12 speakers speaking on a variety of technical topics ranging from C# internals to SQL Server to Cloud. I was told that when they held their first conference a few years ago, there was only one speaker and few very participants. From there to today, they have certainly came a long way.

C# Corner Annual Developer Conference 2014

This was the first time I had the opportunity to participate in the event and I was thoroughly impressed by the arrangements. I have to thank Dhananjay Kumar for thinking about me and considering me for this event. The team planned the event very meticulously (crossed their “T”s and dotted their “I”s as we normally say) and executed flawlessly. Right from the get go till the very end, the event was just perfect.

Day 1

Day 1 of the event was a private event opened only for guest speakers, C# Corner MVPs, and C# Corner volunteers. There were a few sessions in the evening and I would like to highlight 2 of them: One was from Pinal Dave (a person I greatly admire) and other one was from Prabhjot Singh Bakshi.

I have been told many times that I needed to attend Pinal’s session and this was the 1st time I heard him. Boy-o-boy …. I was not disappointed. In fact my only regret was that why I’m hearing him now:). I should have done it long time back. But better late than never I guess!!! Pinal spoke about “Being a Great Speaker” and one key takeaway from Pinal’s session was in order to be a successful speaker, you just have to make the topic you’re speaking about your own. It really doesn’t matter what you’re speaking about, as long as you make that topic your own or in other words empathize with the topic. Another takeaway from Pinal’s session was that the best joke is the one you made on yourself. As Pinal would say about himself – I’m not fat, I’m just zoomed out!!!

Prabhjot spoke about his journey as a corporate trainer and how he saw and handled ups and downs in his life. A key takeaway from his session for me was “If life gives you lemon, you make lemonade”. You just have to make the best of the situation you’re in currently and keep on moving. Very, very inspiring!!!

Day 2

Day 2 was the main event day. Over 2000 people registered for the event and about 800+ participants showed up. Not bad for attending an event on a Saturday! Not bad at all!!! There were some keynote sessions.

One keynote session that really stood out for me was from Shradha Sharma who’s the founder of YourStory.com. Shradha shared the story of her early days in St. Stephen’s college in Delhi. The key takeaway from her session for me (and for everybody else) was “Rejoice in what’s not given to you”.

After the keynote session, there were technical sessions spread across 3 tracks. With suitably placed tea and lunch breaks, the event continued till 5:00 PM in the evening. After that there was a prize distribution ceremony where some lucky participants won prizes from sponsors. It was followed by an after event party.

Other Takeaways

The two days I spent in the conference, I learned so many things. Some of the other things I took away from this conference:

Want To v/s Have To

Everybody who attended the event agreed that the event was massively successful. One thing I think that made this event successful was the organizer’s “Want To” attitude rather than “Have To” attitude. Nobody forced them to do this event (in fact at one point of time Mahesh Chand, founder of C# Corner even suggested that they scrap the event this year). They did not do this event because they “Have To” do this event but because they “Want To” do this event. Each and every volunteer and organizer I spoke with shared this sentiment – This is our event. I sincerely believe that our lives will be much-much better both professionally and personally if we follow this practice of wanting to do things instead of having to do them.

There’s no “I” In The Team

Though it sound very clichéd, this was another important takeaway for me. While everybody said that it was their event, nobody said it was just their event only. It was everybody’s event. While each organizer and volunteer was assigned some tasks (like picking up guests from the airport for example), nobody restricted themselves to the tasks assigned to them. All of the organizers and volunteers collectively owned the event. This truly showed the power of community. I will share a story here from the event – I was looking for a ride back to the airport from the hotel and I got hold of one of the organizers during the party organized after the event and asked him about the same. He was quite drunk:) yet sensible enough to tell me this: You need not worry about it. I will arrange a taxi for you but since I’m drunk, let me share this with other volunteers so that in case I forget somebody else will take care of it. Needless to say, they took care of it. I had a taxi waiting for me at my hotel the next day at the stipulated time to take me to the airport.

Summary

All in all, I had a really great time attending this event. Apart from learning a lot of new things, I met a lots of people and made many new friends. I’m already looking forward to the next year’s conference. I would to thank everybody who was involved in this event for having me there and allowing me to be a part of their lives for these two days and also would like to congratulate each and everybody for a job very well done. Go on, pat your backs and take a bow. You guys have totally earned it.

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