Although I have attended WWDC several times in the past, I have never attended Google I/O. I wanted to, but I didn’t manage to. This is about to change.
After a couple of years of becoming more and more involved in the Wellington Android community (by organising both the Android Meetup and GDG Wellington) I have finally been able to register for Google I/O.
I am a lot more excited than I thought I would be. The advent of Material Design and the relase of better and better Android devices (it’s no secret I’m a fan of the Nexus 5X), have contributed to making me more deeply involved in the Android ecosystem.
If you are around San Francisco between May 15th and May 21st, and you are keen to catch up and talk mobile stuff, get in touch.
I can’t wait to attend I/O and to come back home to share my expeirence with the rest of the Google and Android community here in Wellington, New Zealand.
The 6th instalment of the Wellington Android Meetup took place today. I decided not to write about the content (I wouldn’t do justice to the presenters, and the audience contributed so much content, that I’d surely forget to mention something important), instead I wish to write about just how “fragmented” Android is … in Wellington, New Zealand.
We had four speakers. Two men: Matt and Lucas; and two women: Jayna and Leonie. That was not planned, it just happened.
We had two fairly technical presentations that encouraged us to improve our technical chops and solve problems in more beautiful ways, and two that challenged us to think about what we like, what brings us joy, and what we are prepared to do from the goodness of our hearts.
People in the room
I glanced around the room and I was so happy to see how diverse it was. So many skin colours, genders, ethnicities, and ages!
In the room we had students, unemployed folks, business owners, developers, designers, testers, and even Windows Phone developers! There were people working for startups and people working for organisations with 500+ employees!
There were women. Not just sitting on chairs but engaging in the discussions. Driving them and asking the tough questions. Challenging the speakers and the audience. Recommending better ways to do things. As it should be!
I bring this up because I think back of where we started. I looked at some old photos I took and I struggle to find the women. I looked at the GDG Wellington reports I sent, and I blush seeing a mere two women attending one of the early sessions! Today, almost 20% of the audience were women!
But we are not stopping here. Tonight Lucas announced that we are planning a GDG Dev Fest W. The plan is to create a safe place for an evening, a day, or a weekend, where women can come and learn about technology without fearing that they may get laughed at, looked at in a condescending way, interrupted or ignored. Get in touch with Lucas or with myself if you want to help.
The Android community in Wellington is fragmented in the best possible way. This diversity makes the meetings more interesting, the points of view more diverse and more relevant.
I was the proud host of tonight’s gathering. It this kind of fragmentation that keeps me going, that motivates me to try harder, that makes me proud to be a small part of this incredible community. Our group now has more than 200 members, so I am hopeful that we have not seen the best of what this incredible bunch of people have to offer!
It’s true. The Android developer community in Wellington is strong and mature, if tonight’s first Android Meetup is anything to go by.
Android Meetup Attendees
Just over 30 people took part in the first (of hopefully many more to come) Meetup that I was proud to facilitate and host together with the rest of the Trade Me Mobile team at our Market Lane office. We will try to make sure this becomes a regular event, especially now that the GDG Wellington was created.
The turn out was fantastic (we had to supplement the available slots at the last-minute). The show of hands confirmed that the majority of attendees were developers but we also had designers, testers and business folk. This diversity definitely helped during the Q&A sessions…
The theme of the evening was Material Design and the agenda was simple. I gave a quick intro, then we kicked off properly with a presentation by Matthew Shearer (our Lead Android developer) about the challenges that we face at Trade Me when tacking Material Design in our app, followed by an interesting Q&A, then the spotlight was given to Glenn Parker (Xero) who showed off a few ideas/early mocks for their product. Other people in the room mentioned that Material Design was high up on their TODO list but they just haven’t gotten around to it.
The evening continued with food and drinks followed by an open discussion around the future of this group.
Where to from here?
We are very keen for this event to not be owned by one organisation. Instead, we’ll aim to put in place a roster so that other teams around town can host it and offer more diversity not just in terms of venues but also in terms of hours. We even floated the idea of doing it over lunch sometime to cater for those with young kids or who have engagements in the evenings…
As expected, the attendees behaved really well and communicated freely. There was no awkward job/hiring talk, nor any immature comments of any kind.
Toward the end of the event we brainstormed a few ideas for future sessions. We’ll vote on the group and we will decide what we will talk about next time (late January or early February). As this picture shows, people found the event valuable for the time they invested (2 hours) so I will call it a success!