Visiting India. Part 5. The conference.

Continuing my travel notes from India…

Organization of the Great Indian Developer Summit is great. I see it as a speaker and as a vendor (Farata Systems had a booth in the vendors area too). Transportation, hotel, food, parties ndash; all are good. I “d say it “s the most speaker-friendly conference I “ve been so far and I usually speak at four conferences a year.

I “m not selling anything, but my main goal is meeting people, giving away brochures, demoing some of our applications, making the name of our company well known around the world. Basically, I “m making some noise or as they say, doing PR.

And I did meet people from a Paris software company called DreamFace ndash; they created an application that allows end users create portals with Flex and AJAX widgets. The product supports easy communication between the widgets on the screen.

After a quick but heavy tropical rain the roads became flooded in some spots. Because of that I “ve got locked in a cab with Greg Murray, a very intelligent guy from Sun Microsystems. We “ve been talking all the way on various subjects. Greg “s created jMaki. I “m not using this product, but will try to attend his technical session. It “s not important what are you being taught ndash; who is teaching is important.

Venkat Subramaniam is an excellent speaker. I met him in the US, but this time had a chance to talk about life and programming. Here “s Venkat, Greg, and myself (on the right).

We “ve had useful discussions with Adobe India Flex evangelists ndash; they are friendly people who really like their software. Here “s the photo of Raghu, me (in the middle), and Harish.

They gave me an Adobe mug and a nice little wooden pyramid with quartz clock that show Indian time only. I wonder how many different version of such clock-pyramid exist? Is this a collectible series? Collect three pyramids showing the time in Bangalore, NYC and SF and you ‘ll get a free license of Flex Builder?

During lunch, I introduced myself to Jesse James Garrett and said, “I was attending your presentation two years ago. But I like today “s one a lot better. rdquo; I was planning to make a compliment, but I have a feeling that it did not sound like one, did it?

The conference parties are as important as technical sessions. Upon my arrival, I was invited to .Net Champaign party. Good food, nice bar (I “ve enjoyed a couple of glasses of good wine). The band was playing covers of all familiar songs including one of my favorites, “Wish you were here rdquo;.

In the beginning of the party, presenters were invited to the stage, which made me thinking about the culture. Please take a look at this photo of the speakers. Especially, notice number two and number four from the left.

I “m sure they are great software engineers, but why wearing these outfits in a party? Is this just a way to look cool or they never thought that people do not dress like this for a party? Are they from California? It “s a West Coast style. And then Americans complain for not being welcomed in Europe. This is BS. Visitors who respect the hosts are treated well anywhere, but that “s a different story. BTW, I know that India is not a European country.

To encourage attendee-vendor communications, every attendee was expected to visit vendors and get their stamp in the Expo Passport – sort of a proof “I “ve been there rdquo;.

While sitting in our vendor “s booth, I “ve got to face an unusual behavioral pattern. About thirty percent of the people were polite and they at least asked me to stamp their paper let alone asking what our company is about. But majority of attendees just slapped the brochure on the table without saying a word ndash; neither hello, nor thank you. Some people did not even stop talking over the cell phone while receiving a stamp from me. Not too kosher. If you are one of such stampers, read the section about the conferences in my e-book “Enterprise Software without the BS rdquo; (it “s free download).

I “ve had many conversations with local software developers. The word local may not be exactly right, because a number of people moved to Bangalore just because the IT jobs are here. The other IT hubs are Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune, Mumbai. People complain about the cost of living getting higher and higher in Bangalore. Rent of a two bedroom apartment in a good area costs about $1000 USD. Morning commute is a problem ndash; driving 10 miles during rush hour takes 1.5 hours. The food is more expensive too. No wonder people are demanding higher salaries.

Here ‘s what I ‘ve I “ve learned from them:

1. About 10% of local software developers enjoy programming. Ninety percent are just making a better living. I wonder what would be the numbers among American developers? I “d guess 20/80.

2. People working remotely for American companies want more control, “Just give me the task, and I “ll complete it rdquo;. I explained, that it “s possible only after the trust between American and Indian parties is established.

3. Life in Bangalore is more simple than life in the Northern areas of the country. People in the North like to show off. They purchase lots of expensive dresses, spend a lot of money on their daughter “s wedding (which reminds me of this stupid tradition in America to spend up to 20% of your yearly salary for an engagement ring). It “s hard to imagine rich closes given the poverty I “ve seen on the streets of Delhi, Agra and Jaipur. I “m sure there are rich people too hellip;

4. Software developers working in consulting companies mainly resign because of poor management. They work from 10AM to 10PM on a regular basis. And people do not mind, they just expect some tokens of appreciation like free food after hours. If you are managing a team in a consulting firm and want your project to be successful, please buy some basmati rice at 7PM (it “s the most tasty dish I “ve eaten while in India). In product companies people leave for better paycheck.

5. A guy stopped by asking for a career advice. He “s an experienced programmer but is asking what “s the best way to switch to project management. I went,

“Do you like programming? rdquo;

“Yes, I really do rdquo;

“So why do you want to switch? rdquo;

“I am 35 years old, and when relatives ask me what do I do at work, and since I “m not a manager yet, they think that I “m underachiever rdquo;. I can “t imagine that in the USA a person would want to become a manager just to please family members and neighbors.

Here comes yet another party. This one is called Java Teenage Party. It does not mean that it “s a party for teenagers. Java turns 13 this year. This was a large-scale party with awards, solid rock band and a birthday cake.

To celebrate my departure, Bangalore authorities delayed opening of the new international airport. OK, I “ll be an early adopter again.

Yours truly,


P.S. I got it.

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