Having seen the end of yet another successful Refresh Colombo, incidentally the last for 2010, I think it’s high time for me to do an aftermath piece like I did once earlier. It is also a good time to look back at the road we’ve come so far, evaluate what we’ve done and talk a little about the lessons leant to define the shape of ‘Refresh Colombo’ for 2011.
So, let me start with ‘Refresh Colombo’ December edition. It is again a significant milestone for us at Refresh Colombo due to a several good reasons.
- We had our first female speaker! (kudos to Indu for that heartwarming session and sharing her experiences)
- Isura presented on Sarvodaya Fusion which is a good eye opener on the work carried out at the grass root level by them.
- We managed to live stream the event for the benefit of all those who are residing far away or abroad, nonetheless very much in sync with RC.
I believe having Indu present at RC December Edition is a somewhat of a paradigm shift. It’s not always that members of the fairer sex get the limelight at tech events in Sri Lanka but I think Indu challenged the status quo with a perfect balance of knowhow, wit, experience and most importantly a drive to push the envelope. If her example inspires other ladies to present at Refresh Colombo, It would be a delight and a positive sign in many ways.
Isura delivered a nice speech on what they do to increase the IT literacy of what I think the most important group in Sri Lanka; youth. Fusion is carrying out a commendable job while facing many a problem. (More information at www.fusion.lk) While congratulating them on their great service done, I invite the Refresh Colombo audience to attend the Fusion Education Awards Ceremony which will be held on the 12th of February 2011 at Sarvodaya Headquarters. No 98, Rawatawatta Road, Moratuwa.
The third good reason, our attempt to live stream the event would have been a huge success if not for the fact that we ran out of juice on the laptop we hooked up for it. But the team is quite happy with this first attempt because we were going ahead with virtually no resources to do a decent live streaming. But on the other hand, it was quite a novel experience to have people interacting with the speakers over the phone, over SMS and over Twitter. So at this rate, we might as well buy a hotline and a dedicated SMS handle for Refresh Colombo!
Looking at the bigger picture, I think we have to pay attention to several areas. Let me list them down as they pop into my mind.
This had been one of the biggest negatives. We had to cancel out a session once because it was almost 9.00 PM when three sessions ended.
- Limit sessions for a specific time period
I believe each session should be no more than 30 minutes long including a Q & A session. This can save us a heap of trouble in the long run.
- Better interaction within the community
We quite often find ourselves at our wits end when trying to finalize on speakers. So it would be a good idea if we can get the community to interact with us more when getting in speakers. We are thinking of a speaker registration process. So it might actually be the solution we are looking for.
- Finalize the dates really, really early
This is already sorted since we’ve worked out all the RC dates for 2011.
- Encourage guest blogging
I believe offering a speaker a blog post on the official site is something that we have to look at in earnest. There are some things that you can’t really discuss in 30 minutes. So we need to put this into practice quite soon.
- Sharing presentation slide decks on the site
This is quite a sticky issue since some of the presentations are confidential in nature. So we might have to share a toned down version on the site with consultation from respective speakers.
- Have the ‘Lightning Speech’ session
We are yet to have the ‘Lightning Speech’ session due to time constraints. We better do that starting from January edition of Refresh Colombo.
So this is quite a long list of resolutions for us to keep pace with. What we have to do now is put our best foot forward and get things running. We are going to need the help of all of you to get these things straight. So we are looking forward for more interaction.
Oh and I almost forgot. We’ve got the Refresh Colombo T-Shirt coming up and there’s some serious talk on having a day out during the first quarter of 2011. Await more news on that as well.
Since this is going to be the last blog post on www.refreshcolombo.org for 2010, I think I should mention several people who made Refresh Colombo happen. Refresh Colombo is a brain child of Samir Husain, whom I have the privilege of calling ‘boss’. You don’t always get CEOs who spend a considerable time, energy and motivate the employees to engage in giving something back to the community. Samir is one of those rare people.
Refresh Colombo’s beacon of light is Sukanti. She gives the event its shape and form and in many ways than one, makes those slight adjustments which give Refresh Colombo its unique dynamism.
The grand master of getting things done is Nazly. He’s one of those really passionate people who connect with everybody to achieve something brilliant and cohesive. He is basically the oil that makes Refresh Colombo mechanism run smoothly.
Milad is the quarter master. He’s the guy who coordinates the $$$ aspects along with other stuff that needs to happen. He’s really resourceful in getting things fall in to place.
Live wire of Refresh Colombo is Indu. She is the kick ass social networker that you wish you were. She responds to most of the tweets while live tweeting at the event.
The silent maverick is Malinthe. He’s the guy who captures Refresh Colombo at its best and one thing you can be sure of is seeing those lively images first thing the next morning after Refresh Colombo on Facebook.
Then there are the guys behind the scene who make Refresh happen each month; Afzal, Amila, Eranga, Isurika, Anuja, Sampath and Himas. Afzal, Isurika and Anuja are some of the most creative people I have ever seen and they give color and life to Refresh Colombo with their creative ways. Eranga is the in-house Mac expert and the all-purpose guy. Amila is a brilliant code maker and is known for his quick wit that keeps everybody in check. Sampth and Himas are new additions to the team and we are expecting a lot of good things to come from their way.
This post is meaningless if I fail to thank the speakers we’ve had so far. If it wasn’t for their commitment, Refresh Colombo wouldn’t have been such a success. I thank them all for taking their time off to share experience and expertise with the community. We are also thinking of having a separate page with speakers’ bios on the Refresh Colombo website.
Last but by no means the least; I thank you all for being a part of Refresh Colombo. It is a great pleasure to see people using Refresh Colombo as a platform to springboard their ambitions, dreams and careers. It is also a pleasure to see that our effort is fruitful in various ways.
This post is turning out to be longer than I intended. So I better cap it now. One final note though: Have a cracking year ahead and don’t forget to be a part of Refresh Colombo during 2011!