This blog post is written by Vaidik Kapoor, Systems Engineer at Wingify.
The Fifth Elephant is a popular conference around the Big Data ecosystem in India. It happened last week in Bangalore. And we were proud to sponsor the conference. To represent Wingify at the
event, Ankit, Varun and I attended the event. This blog post is an account of what we did at the event and what we learned by sponsoring, attending and being present at the conference as an organization.
The organizers reported that there were 960 registrations for the
conference – quite a big number for a conference around something like
Big Data. It seems most of the attendees were from Bangalore and not
many had come from Delhi. There were talks around infrastructure for big
data systems, machine learning, data mining, etc. A few talks out of
the ones we attended were really good. There were a few that we wanted
to attend but couldn’t because we were busy talking to people who wanted
to talk to us and know more about us. Well that’s what conferences are about – attend a few good talks and meet a lot of people. Fortunately, HasGeek will put out the recorded videos of those sessions
soon. Some talks were around interesting topics and some not so much. Shailesh’s talk on The Art of Data Mining was certainly the best talk out of all the talks that I managed to attend (personal opinion).
There were poster sessions for talks that the editorial
panel found interesting but not interesting enough to select them for
sessions. My proposal for Using Elasticsearch for Analytics (presentation slides) was
selected for a poster session, which I presented on the 2nd day of the
conference. It was interesting to see that multiple teams within
Flipkart, Red Hat, a couple of other product startups and services
companies were interested in doing the same. So we ended up having long
discussions about how are using Elasticsearch for analytics it at
Wingify and how they can use Elasticsearch to solve similar problems.
Our presence at the conference
We had a desk/booth which we managed to prepare nicely to catch
everyone’s attention. We got a display next to our desk on which we
played our super cool video that we put on vwo.com
(a few people expressed that they really liked the video). I think that
caught a lot of people’s attention. We also strategically placed our
standees at places where it was clearly visible. Looking at other
standees, I think ours was one of the best in design if not the best. We
distributed our t-shirts and stickers, which seemed to attract a lot of
people (more than once for the free t-shirt). A few people gave us
compliments for the A-4 insert we distributed to all the participants at
the time of registration. Thanks to Paras for helping out with the
content and the design.
On the first day, an overwhelming number of people walked
up to our booth. They were mostly unaware of our and our product’s
existence. Many were blown away by the idea. Some not so much. But after
talking to so many people, we figured that we were not absolutely
correct about ignoring this conference as a place to promote the product
and get prospective clients. Other than engineers, there were people
from other important roles from larger companies like VP of Strategy at
Citibank and a few others from companies like Amazon, Ebay and Lenovo
who Ankit got a chance to speak with. These people were interested in
We were primarily at this conference for the purpose of
hiring and establishing the Wingify engineering brand. I think we
succeeded in doing that – although my statement is not conclusive enough
and we will have to wait for some data that I’m trying to get from the
organizers. A lot of people were interested in understanding what kind
of roles we are hiring for. These people were interested in data science
and software engineering. Fingers crossed – we might get some applications soon and opportunity to work with some amazing people. People
found our product cool – they did not know that something of this sort
existed. I think this is what got them interested. However, some were sad
to know that we are based out of Delhi instead of Bangalore, as I
initially said that it seemed like most of the attendees were from
Bangalore. That just says that the community in Delhi needs to work together to make Delhi more exciting for engineers.
We engaged with the community through our booth and at other moments
like lunch during the conference. We got the opportunity to make
connections with different startups and individuals like Jabong,
BloomReach, SupportBee, Inmobi, Flipkart, GlusterFS (and Red Hat),
Qubole, Myntra, Aerospike and Slideshare. I might have missed some unintentionally. We got to learn about what they are doing and we shared what
we are doing. Discussions were usually about the product, engineering,
our tech stack, the team, work culture, community in Delhi, etc. People
were exited to know our stack and what we are doing with it. We realized that our tech stack is not the conventional stack for processing big data and is very cool for the same reason.
In the process, we had good some good discussions and
connected with good people who we think may help us with solving some problems –
making friends of Wingify 🙂
We learned about new things
One of the
expected outcomes of attending a conference is learning about new
things. Aerospike NoSQL Database, Cachebox, Imobi’s Grill project are a
few things that we got introduced to and we may explore them in the
future for our varied use-cases. Other than these systems, there were some learning
around building big data infrastructure, real-time data pipelines and data mining.
To sum up…
It was a great experience being at this conference. It was for the
first time we attended a Big Data conference. This ecosystem in India
seems to be big and growing and hopefully there will be better content
at conferences like these in the future. Thanks to HasGeek for taking the initiative. We hope that the conference will continue to happen in the years to come.
If you were present at the conference and met us there, please do not hesitate to connect with us. If you have any questions to ask regarding our experiences, go ahead and leave comments and we will get back to you. If you like what we do at Wingify and want to join the force, we will be happy to work with you. We are hiring!