by Charles Freeborn
How I brought the excitement of Google I/O 2018 to 115 people in Warri, Nigeria
A tale of Google Developer Group Warri’s first I/O Extended event
Google I/O is one of the largest developer festivals in the tech ecosystem. I am the lead organizer for the Google Developer Group in Warri. In a bid to encourage the youth of the city of Warri to embrace technology and become developers, we brought the Google I/O excitement to Warri by hosting our first I/O Extended 2018 here in early June.
What I didn’t discuss, however, was that at the same time as I was trying to get the first set of members to join the GDG in Warri, another institution, the Petroleum Training Institute (PTI) in Effurun, Delta State, was in the middle of first semester exams. So, naturally, I had to abandon my plans of speaking to the computer science students there so they could focus on their exams. I knew there would be another time to address them.
Well, that time came as we were planning for our first I/O extended 2018.
But first of all, what is this Google I/O?
The Google I/O is Google’s annual developers festival — that brings together developers from around the world for tech talks, demos, codelabs, and major product announcements from Google. — Google IO
Through the developer groups, Google’s vast distributed developer communities across the world can experience the awesome moments of the main Google I/O gathering held in Mountain View, California, even if they do not attend the festival.
How can this be, even for someone like me who didn’t attend the I/O festival in 2018? This is where Google I/O Extended comes into the picture. The extended events bring together software developers, aspiring software developers, code-newbies, and tech enthusiasts from all over.
What is Google I/O extended?
I/O extended events help developers from the world take part in the I/O experience — Google IO Extended Website
Basically, the extended events can take different forms. A GDG chapter can, for example, host a live viewing party, like the one hosted by the GDG in Lagos where the members watched the live keynotes.
As the lead organizer for the GDG Warri, I opted to host the extended event after I/O 2018. I planned to hold it on June 2, 2018 at the PTI Conference Centre, in Effurun-Warri, Delta State, Nigeria.
And to appeal to the diverse interests of our evolving developer community, I decided to make the event a multifaceted one. In the line-up we had flutter (Google’s SDk for building mobile apps for Android and iOS platforms), recorded sessions, live speaker sessions, codelabs, and a fireside chat.
Publicity for the participants: aiming for 100 attendees
With the success of our first meetup (which you can read about here), I decided to take it one step further: having 100 people attend the I/O extended 2018 Warri events.
Now that the Petroleum Training Institute was done with their exams, and had resumed for a new semester, it was easy to get an appointment to introduce the GDG Warri to the students and invite them to join us at I/O extended.
I also went to the CCT Warri study centre (a computer training institute) and visited the facility we had used for our first meetup. They also gave me an opportunity to address and invite their students to the event. For this I am grateful to the management of the institution.
Well, in the end, my campaign efforts paid off: I had 115 people turn up at I/O extended 2018 Warri. And it was our first I/O event as a GDG chapter! We even capped the event meetup RSVP page at 100.
Relevance of I/O to the GDG Warri developer community
I didn’t just want to host an event without having a major an impact on the attendees. I made the basic assumption that not everyone who attended would want to be a web developer. So I had to line up an agenda that would suit the needs of the greatest number of attendees and budding developers.
To cater to the needs of those who might want to get into mobile app development, introducing them to Flutter seemed the natural option to get them started on that path.
To encourage the participation of women in technology, I reached out to Perrie Fidelis, who is a UI/UX designer. Perrie gave a talk on the importance of good design. Well, Perrie enters the record books as the GDG Warri’s first female speaker!
We got started with Flutter, and I handled the live speaker session. My session was meant to help developers lay the foundation to build apps using Flutter while leveraging on the codelabs.
But we faced a challenge with the internet service provider, and didn’t have the opportunity to proceed with the codelabs. And for that I am truly sorry. We will host a meetup for Flutter as a make-up for the challenge.
The road ahead
These are exciting times for Warri and Delta State. Sometimes, you don’t realize how much of an impact you’ve made in the lives of people until you get to see the smiles on their faces when they greet you.
Going forward, we will do more for the evolving developer community in Warri and see where this takes us .
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