Sharing our story at Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka
By: Mahesh De Andrado
It was a day like any other. No scratch that. It wasn’t a day. It was actually a night. It is 8PM on Wednesday the 18th of May 2016. Anyone venturing towards Galle face along the 101 bus route would have borne witness to a rather long and winding queue beginning from around the lakehouse area ending (or beginning) at SLECC. Clad in white t-shirts bearing an abstract lion, these people had gathered for one reason, and one reason alone: Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka.
Held annually in San Fransisco, Google I/O is the quintessential event for everything related to Google. For those who find San Fransisco a bit too far to travel, well that’s why you have the Google I/O Extended programme. Held annually for the last 4 years, this year, Google I/O Extended Sri Lanka was organized by Dialog and they indeed went out of their way to make it bigger and better. After braving the long lines and registering, participants were given their traditional Google I/O Extended T-shirt and meal token.
Once you walk in, the first thing you saw was a massive demo area with some of the coolest tech you’ll find in Sri Lanka. On the side you had a stall by Arimac showing off their latest games. On the other side, you had Bhasha and Zone 24×7 showing off the cool stuff they’re working on. Then in the middle, you had the ReadMe team next to LetMeKnow.lk’s drone airport stall.
If that wasn’t enough to get your geek on, how about a fully-fledged cosplay competition? Yes, this year there was a whole bunch of people dressed up as well-known characters from comics, manga and everything in-between. As always, the Sri Lankan cosplay community never fails to impress.
As the day, or night progressed, we saw speeches and presentations from some of the biggest names in the Sri Lankan Tech industry. The key moment though, as always, was the keynote speech by the CEO of Google himself, Sundar Pichai who demonstrated some of the innovative and awesome new products offered by Google such as Google Home, Allo and Duo (an instant messaging app and a one-to-one video calling app) etc, all of which will be launched during the summer of 2016). The key points of the speeches, presentations, and the keynote speech are available on our live blog. If you missed it, you can check it out here: http://readme.lk/google-io-extended-2016-live-blog/
Adding the icing to the proverbial cake at this year’s Google I/O was a presentation by the current editor and bosslette (a term coined by one Vinusha Paulraj who is the office Unicorn), of our very own ReadMe, Mazin Hussain. This was possibly the pinnacle of the event as Mazin, dressed in the classic ReadMe t-shirt, walked up on stage and walked the audience (ourselves included) through the history of ReadMe and its iconic moments.
These included the initial founders meeting, the hiring or sacrificial offering of the soul of its first writer, Yudhanjaya Wijeratne who was the previous editor, an epic group photo of the ReadMe family (where for once, both Enosh and Andrew – the founders, were present) and how exactly the hiring process of ReadMe works.
The hiring process as he shared, is relatively simple. Basically, if you have good grammar skills, a flair for stringing words together in a coherent manner and also have a sense of humor (all three traits which have been displayed in the sentence you just read), then, with a little bit of tweaking and a few cups of coffee, you can become a writer for ReadMe. Yet, to this day not even a great dane and a group of curious teenagers can solve the mystery of 95% of our applicants failing this simple test.
Mazin then shared with the audience as to what exactly we do at ReadMe to make ourselves different. Some of these points would be:
- Dig into tech stories, find the details and then simplify everything
- Keep all reviews unbiased
- Give local innovators the recognition they deserve
- Embrace and experiment with social media.
He also spoke about the plans that ReadMe has for the future such as a print magazine that is set to launch in June and also the partnership with EFM to bring you the latest and greatest in the tech industry in Sri Lanka and around the world. Another piece in our expansion plan would be Aramuna, which is our CSR project to build IT labs for underprivileged schools. Last but certainly not least would be our YouTube channel which will soon have many more videos on it.
Mazin ended his presentation with a flair; ReadMe inspired badges and stickers were issued to all those participating in making the level of interaction just right.
Despite the lateness, or early-ness (after all, it was 4AM in the morning) of the hour, Mazin’s presentation and speech were well applauded and we at ReadMe too were and are very proud of him, ourselves and the ReadMe family.
Viva La ReadMe!