Here’s another blog post from our community development intern, Alex Moses, as we returned back to OSCON for the 7th time.
I’m back again with another post about another conference! Just two days after I returned home from LinuxFest Northwest, I was boarding a Boeing 737 destined for Austin, Texas. I was heading down to the Lone Star State for OSCON (Open Source Convention).
When I arrived in Austin, I was finally introduced to our President/CEO, Ed Cable. Ed and I ran a booth in the Expo Hall, which was located at the Austin Convention Center. Now I would say that OSCON is like LinuxFest Northwest but on a greater scale, but that wouldn’t do it justice. The Convention Center is enormous and there were times I feared getting lost!
Ed and I were joined at the booth by two great colleagues, Isaac Kamga and Nikhil Pawar. Isaac lives in Cameroon where he works for Sky.labase, one of our outstanding partner organizations. Nikhil is currently a student that has previously worked with Mifos during Google Summer of Code, and he is working with Apache Fineract this summer.
At the booth, Ed and I met many curious individuals seeking more information about Mifos and the work we do. Located in the non-profit section of the Expo Hall, we were met by many individuals impressed by our social mission. Through our papers and presentations, we were able to spread information on the Mifos Initiative and Financial Inclusion. Additionally, we gathered the contact information of those interested in volunteering, and we plan on finding a project for them to contribute.
OSCON also has sessions where a single topic is explored deeply. I attended Peter Degen-Portnoy’s “Live on Mars” class. Peter is a stage three candidate for the Mars One mission. Mars One is a non-profit in the Netherlands that has a goal to send a one-way permanent mission to settle Mars. Peter used Mars One as an example on how to successfully run a software project. He identified the need for positions such as an executive owner, a product manager, an engineering lead, and key stakeholders. Only 25% of software projects are considered successful, but Peter has not had a project fail in 15 years. Peter notes that in order to be successful, you need to want to work with the team, praise publicly, acknowledge contributions, remove egos, and find a CEO who is 100% committed to the project. Overall the session was very informative and I walked out with a greater understanding of how to form a successful project.
My experience at OSCON was wonderful. There were extravagant booths and admirable attendees. We met others who may become involved with the Mifos Initiative in the future and contribute significantly.