On GDG DevFest Kota Kinabalu 2013 and building a community

I’m super-excited for GDG DevFest KK 2013! Not only is this my first time establishing a community, but this also marks my first time organising a big event. Of course, I’m not doing this alone, both in terms of the community and the event itself. Thank God all the GDG KK team members and GSA volunteers share my enthusiasm.

Amy Quispe’s post on how Carnegie Mellon Created a More Inclusive Hackathon was what have been playing in my mind ever since the first GDG KK meetup on 16 August. There is a tendency that often happen within ICT and tech communities and associations which — either purposely or otherwise — fosters an elitist attitude, of thinking that only “techies” can have access to knowledge to build and develop apps. That, in turn, only adds to the grandeur illusion of thinking “I’m better than everyone else and you don’t belong here.” I know I did.

What I initially imagined GDG Kota Kinabalu to be was a community of developers, by developers and ONLY for developers. I thought, who has the time to teach n00bs? It’s the Internet age, where information is at your fingertips and all you need to do is search for it and learn. I learned programming mostly on my own, so why can’t others do the same?

And I realized that I was looking at this all wrong.

The vastly growing trend of citizen developers are one of the things we should foster. Through proper planning and recognising the user base, I don’t see why Google Developer Group can’t cater to everyone of every level. Specifically, inclusion and interaction are key in making sure that any special interest group can bring an impact to the community. We need members of every level and every experience to share (interaction), be it students, experienced developer, entrepreneurs, non-profit communities, arts and cultural, specially-abled groups, or more (inclusion).

Newspaper clip of meeting between the Creative Industry players in Sabah and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah.

Newspaper clip of meeting between the Creative Industry players in Sabah and the Institute for Development Studies (IDS) Sabah.

The recent Creative Industry meetup attended by script writers, movie/TV producers, dance and performing arts groups and many more, was one of those instances where my mind quietly exploded with ideas on how GDG KK and the IT community can contribute to the Sabah community. Imagine getting ideas on creating an open-source/freeware box office app (growing the Automattic way comes to mind) and webcasting specifically for them (YouTube comes to mind). Oh the things we can do! These things deserve a hackathon by themselves!

But I digress.

I hope GDGKK can cater to developers like myself, yet still allow other non-developers to experience the same kind of excitement developers feel when building new apps or innovating existing ones. I foresee hackathons / code jams to be catalysts in achieving breakthroughs. Hopefully GDGKK gets to do lots of meetups so that we can learn about the rules then break ’em!

Unrelatedly, I’m glad to find myself progressingly contemplative of my decisions and directions in life amongst the hecticness. Must be my old age catching up 🙂