Hackference India 2018

Hackference India 2018

I learned a lot attending Hackference India 2018, the spelling of Hackference being the stand out thing…lol. I’m kind of new to the DevRel space and seeing as I’m in India, I jumped at the opportunity when a friend told me we'd be having our first DevRel Conference in Bangalore.

I know, at this point you’re probably thinking… DevRel? Yup, same!

Definitions vary really, you might have heard of titles like Developer Advocate, Community Manager, and Evangelist, they’re all basically Developer Relations with minute differences. Back to what it is, Emily Freeman defined it pretty well here.

… someone in developer relations serves as an advocate for the tech community within their company. use the product and give feedback, we help product teams prioritize, we develop tools to help you use the product, we write tutorials, we make connections between people and departments. We write, we speak, we code, we do a little bit of everything. And we work with engineering, marketing and product departments β€” helping them all communicate with each other

It’s that and so much more β€” something I discover every day as I fulfill my role as a Developer Advocate Intern at Hasura. Hopefully, you have more context into why I was so excited about attending this event.

The Setting

I had previously never been to Bangalore the β€œSilicon Valley ” of India, I plan on returning as much as I can now. I spent about four days there, of which I spent two attending the conference and the rest exploring the city. I’ve been to over 10 cities in India and Bangalore is slowly becoming one of my favorites β€” the hunger to innovate is inspiring. The venue, Kstart Capital, a fitting place to host such an event is filled with beautiful paintings and artistic vibes. You can’t help but ooze creativity in that space, it demands it! They got everything right from the sound, to the snacks to the bins and waste disposal to the bathrooms, it was all just fantastic! Makes me want to build my own co-working space…haha (not joking).


Hackference tagged their DevRelConf as β€œ An event aiming at the assimilation of developers advocates of multiple organizations, sharing their knowledge and experiences, ” and damn did they deliver!

At first, I felt like I bit off more than I couldn’t chew with all these awesome talks scheduled one after the other.

Julia Aslamova delivered such an amazing keynote on The Power of Developer Communities! She gave amazing examples of how developer communities have helped out different individuals and how they built their careers around them! I really love that she touched on finding your value addition, be it passing on technical expertise, connecting people or advocating with neither holding more significance over the other. This helped me think about where I fit and what I should do about it.

She dished on amazing advice on how your community should function:

Karthik Padmanabhan delivered a very informative session on Why a brand needs a Developer Advocate. This was important, I always struggled to see how I was adding value in what I was doing. He pointed out different angles and strategies a Developer Advocates use. He went on to give certain characteristics companies look for in developer advocates β€” great for beginners.

Karan from Digital Ocean(who I finally met in person) talked about Building strategy around Developer Communities. It’s like this was made for me! I used to obsess about how my community engaged and what different platforms they used. I found out, every community is unique and rather the focus should be on the actual reason your community exists β€” your common struggle and how to go about dealing with that while growing your community.

The fireside chat with Felipe Aragao rekindled my love for analytics, Filipe is the VP of Analytics at AB inBev, a company I surprisingly hadn't heard of previously. He shared how analytics has changed so much of what goes on at AB inBev leading to visible growth and how they are helping other companies make similar changes.

Props to Atul Khekade co-founder of XinFin, he talked about The Blockchain Ecosystem in India and made a lot of valid points. my favorite being him mentioning that blockchain as a technology was ahead of its time.

Subhendu Panigrah gave some insight into the UX of Developer Advocacy. He shed more light on the goals of Developer Advocacy and how to go about it. I found out that Developer Advocacy and Evangelism are two different things! Mind-blowing!

A week before the event, I tweeted out if anyone knows how to turn a pet project to an open source one. Seemingly, Aravind Putrevu had that answer when he shared the story of Elastic as an Open Source project build by its community successfully.

Fireside Chat

Image from Hackference India TwitterImage from Hackference India Twitter

This panel discussion was great, so much insightful advice was given as they talked about problems with the Indian Tech Ecosystem. They really emphasized the damage β€œherd mentality” has on the people, where people go about doing things everyone is doing because at that moment its the cool thing to do rather than identify actual problems in society and tackle those by learning new skills. It made me smile when they basically told engineers to be less like engineers and more creative in their approach to problems. Great panel!


I learned so much about communities, engaging developers and the value folks in DevRel add in a company. Most importantly, I feel like I’m coming to terms with taking up something in Developer Relations full time when I graduate in May.

At the time, having just seen the impact the folks in Developer Relations have a Developer Ecosystems, I was curious to see why more companies aren't training and giving more people experience to work in Developer Relations. Now, I’m glad to see more positions opening up for those less experienced but willing to learn and give it everything they have.

I also discovered some amazing companies like GMetri which is doing amazing things in the AR/VR space, I genuinely wowed! Ended p meeting some amazing people too, when done right, conferences can be fun.

My time in Bangalore also taught me that remote work can be very deceiving when it comes to gauging the impact of your work, I found out I work for such a trailblazer of a company. Needless to say, it’s a crowd favorite.


I was live tweeting most of what was going on so you can follow this thread on Twitter! Hopefully, it’ll help you as much as I did meπŸ’–

πŸ‘€See you next year? πŸ™