The Mifos Initiative had the honor of being at OSCON hosting a booth in the non-profit pavilion of the Expo Hall for the ninth year this past month in Portland, OR. We also were able to continue telling our transformative story around Open Source Core Banking through a talk on the Business Summit given by Edward Cable, on Democratizing Financial Services and how Open Source Core Banking is enabling a multiplier effect. As we’ve done in the past, we like to share the firsthand experience of our Business Development intern at their first OSCON – read on below for a glimpse into Jackson Reed’s first time at OSCON.
A couple weeks ago, I attended my first ever OSCON. At first I was overwhelmed by the giant displays companies like AWS, Salesforce and IBM had to offer. I was also intrigued by how these companies are involved in the Open Source Community.
My role at the convention centered on building awareness of our initiative at our booth in the Exposition Hall with companies small to large and profit and non-profit companies. Throughout the morning and into the afternoon, there were speakers from all the organizations present. Even Mifos’ very own President/ CEO Ed Cable gave a talk on how to Democratize Fintech and Enable Financial Services through Open Source Banking.
As just an incoming Junior at the University of Washington, some of the keynotes and talks really grew my understanding of Open Source and what individuals are doing within the space. I vividly remember Brad Topol and Pedro Cruz speaking about how IBM is using Open Source to mitigate Natural Disasters. By using AI through drones, they are able to help detect visuals that may be people drawing SOS signals on the ground, and the drones find those when flying over disaster areas.
Or, Russell Rutledge from Nike spoke on how to grow an organization into an Open Collaboration Model in order to scale it. By working more openly and together, a company is able to grow more and be successful. This is something I can take into my daily life as well, collaboration is key to success.
One of the most interesting talks I attended was how to use Planning Poker to make business decisions. The Concept allows individuals to make private estimations on how long a project will take, then using collaboration to define those estimations to more precise estimates. Laura Janusek from Modern Teacher made the talk hands-on and collaborative as we participated in live estimations. This concept of private estimations that lead to collaboration and more precise estimates is a very valuable tool.
Aside from the talks, it was great to interact at various booths on the convention floor. Whether it be interacting with their software, just learning about their company, getting free swag, and yes signing up for giveaways (Ed and I, both left OSCON winners of Giveaways). Additionally, interacting with individuals at Mifos’ booth was great. We were able to spread the word and mission about the initiative. Many people had never heard before how Financial Inclusivity and Banking could be in the Open Source community. We were able to garner a lot of interest about the Initiative and hopefully brought more people into the Mifos Community.
Overall, OSCON was a great experience. By interacting with professionals in the Open Source community, I grew professionally. By attending countless talks and keynotes, I learned how Open Source impacts various people all over the world, and how to resource as best as possible.