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Naresh Jain's Random Thoughts on Software Development and Adventure Sports
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Lack of Indian Speakers @ Agile India 2013

At least 3-4 people I respect in the Indian software community have asked me:

Why are there so few Indian speakers at the upcoming Agile India 2013 Conference?

My question to them:

Should we pick speakers based on their nationality?

I strongly disagree. We pick speakers purely based on the quality.

I care a damn which country they belong to, what is the color of their skin, who they worship, which sports they like, which beer they drink, etc. These things should not and won’t matter.

Would I like more speakers from India, bloody yes. Which is why, we run tons of other smaller, local conferences in India. First we want them to speak at these local events, get good at it and then present at an international conference.

Also to give some more context around what went into making of the program this year:

Poor quality speakers at Agile India 2012 Conference was the biggest complain we got last year. Personally, I believe we had an issue with the speaker quality. Open submissions and open review, somehow just does not work that well.

To fix that issue, this year we identified some exceptional speakers with a proven track record. We asked them for proposals, picked the best proposals from them and created a program with many open slots in it. Then we opened the submission system like last year and invited speakers to submit proposals that best fitted those slots. Best proposals were picked and the program was created. This process went on for 3+ months.

Our single, most important driving goal during this process was to create a conference program that the best of the conferences will struggle to match. I hope you will support us in this mission.

  • Naresh – You are spot on, and having been on the speaker circuit for a while now, my anecdotal data continues to be alarming. I often ask the audience during my talks how many people deliver talks, or write blogs, or even as much as tweet (even RT?) something, and the data suggests over 90-95% don’t engage themselves in any meaningful sharing of knowledge, or even ideas – whatever field they come from. So, it’s not a surprise that we have a serious lack of quality speakers for community events, such as Agile conferences. People need to take initiative – start small, maybe within their project teams, or their groups, or organize some interest groups within their companies, and take up every opportunity to talk. And gradually hone their pitch at local agile events. There can’t be a shortcut to it…

  • Karthik Sirasanagandla

    In one of the recent discussions we had on this, here is what I had to say to my friends, “In an attempt to favour an **Indian Speaker** let us not do injustice to the hundreds of others who come to the conference for some take away or the other.” And guess what, it ringed the bell 🙂

  • gnuyoga

    Perhaps we should highlight “**International** Conference” this time 😉

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