I would like to take you on a journey, a journey of how the power of manifestation, team efforts, and hard work can result in reaching any goal. Something similar happened for TribeQonf – our first-ever offline conference.
It all started as usual, with the team focusing on finding speakers, setting up goals, and preparing what the conference would be like. But still, it wasn’t like our usual preparations because we all knew that this was our first offline conference with the target of bringing 300+ testers under one roof with a ticket price that high and still maintaining the experience for an attendee that we are known for would be a challenge. So, we started like any superhero team with a goal of our own.
We started by calling people and telling them about TribeQonf and what it has to offer. After several calls and many rejections, the first ray of sunshine came through, and one of our community members bought the ticket for TribeQonf, and then a few more joined the boat. Till then, our other growth channels were just getting set up, so this was a considerable boost to ramp everything up and take all our ammunition to the war field.
The two months of ticket selling showed us all that if we don’t give up, we can do anything. There were highs when we were selling 30 tickets in a day and lows when not even one ticket would be sold. But we kept experimenting, from calling people to running email campaigns to capturing interest to running WhatsApp campaigns, we innovated and adapted fast. And now that I think about it, this was the only thing that helped us reach the targets we had set for ourselves.
Time flew fast, and we never knew when there was only one month left for the conference. To be honest, we weren’t quite close to our goals one month before the conference, but we kept going and thought that all this hard work and smart work would lead to something good. This was a time when we had started thinking about the second challenge of TribeQonf, and that was to bring the same attendee experience from virtual conferences to an offline conference.
And that started our long calls with vendors with jargon and dimensions that felt worse than Trigonometry in 10th class. But the vendor team was supportive, and they helped us understand everything and visualize what we had in our mind for our conference on their laptops and then onto the venue, which became a beautiful and exciting memory for us.
As we always say, any event needs a lot of support from different people. This one needed even more support, and we would like to thank our premier sponsor, BrowserStack, our platinum sponsor, Co.meta Rocks, and our supporting sponsor, TestSigma, for all their help in making this event come true.
With the last 15 days of constant work and sleepless nights, all the team members on 12th June travelled to Bangalore at an Airbnb we had booked, which became our headquarters for the next 4 days.
The first day was a bit relaxed as we gathered our energies for the battlefield on the 14th and 15th of June. We gathered in the evening and discussed our roles and responsibilities for D-Day with tea and lots of inside jokes. A side note, the team at The Test Tribe can make an apocalypse feel funny with the number of jokes everyone cracks.
On 13th June, our team got divided into three halves to complete the work that was left. We were yet to receive the ID cards, welcome bags, and trophies, so we were a bit on edge about how it would look and also because we had to sort 450 ID cards and make 450 welcome kits at night when the conference was in the morning. But it all worked out in the end, we sorted the ID cards and created welcome kits by 3 am on 14th July. It was a tiring task but somehow fun hanging out with all like this, preparing for something big.
Till now, all of us had that feeling that something big was going to happen tomorrow, and all of us were a little nervous and a lot more excited about meeting the community that we know so well, virtually.
The next day came quickly, and before we knew it, all of us were at our dedicated places, ready for the next two days.
We reached the venue at 7:45 AM so that we get enough time for registration desk setting, to our surprise we saw people coming from that time itself and people just kept pouring in. In fact such was the rush at Registration Desk that between 8:30 AM to 9:26 AM we checked in close to 300 people. In our memories, the adrenaline rush of that hour is unforgettable.
We started the first day with lamp lighting by Robert Sabourin, Ashok T, Monika Vijaykumar (the community member who bought the first ticket), and Vanshikha Sharma (Events and Community Lead at The Test Tribe). After lamp lighting, we kickstarted the conference with a welcome address by Mahesh Chikane, Founder of The Test Tribe, and then our conferences started with the power-packed talks.
The first session by Robert Sabourin on “The Long Game” was an eye-opener and a power-packed session, followed by some new age sessions by Anuj Magazine, Pooja Subramanian & Kumar Iyer on “Staying Relevant in the ChatGPT Era” and “Unconventional Approaches for Testing in Fast-Paced, Business-Critical Environments” – both very important topics in today’s world of fast-paced, changing technology.
This was followed by a small networking session/tea break where we saw the magic of the community happen. There were so many people from 2-3 years of experience to 30+ years of experience, and all shared experiences, questions, and apprehensions.
This was also the time for the attendees to visit our sponsor’s booths to learn more about them and their offerings. The attendees visited the sponsor booths to learn something new, play games, and talk to some great people from some amazing companies. The networking hall during the break was filled with meaningful conversations.
We also got to interact closely with the community. We met so many members that we had only interacted virtually and were great friends; not only that, but we made new friends along the way in the community.
After that, the day was followed by sessions by Thiruvengadam Ashok, Prashant Hegde, and Santhosh Tuppad on topics – “Testing Intelligently,” “Bug Bashing,” “Let’s (Ethically) Hack.”
The last session ended with a great story and left everyone laughing for the lunch break. The attendees enjoyed food from Radisson Blu, but the highlight for the team was Jalebi and Rabdi for us. Inside news: The team has been much-awaited since the menu was created.
The lunch was again filled with chatter between the attendees. When tickets were being sold, we remember saying to many people that the magic of offline conferences is in the conversations, networking, and making friends in your industry for life. Seeing it happen in front of us felt quite good.
Soon, the lunch break got over, and we continued the day with some fantastic sessions by Vikas Mittal, Sundaresan Krishnaswami, Rahul Parwal on “Test Automation,” “Is Playwright the Right Automation Tool for You?” and “Software Testing Career Development Strategies That Work.” The attendees loved these sessions, and soon we went for a pretty needed tea break
While the sessions were going on, Our team outside was trying to talk to and take feedback and learnings from as many speakers and testers.
This gave us a lot of insights into what was something that we need to improve on and what is something that the testers are loving
The tea break was followed by our last sessions of the day by Madhumita Gupta, Nagabhushan Ramappa on “The Art of Testing User Experience,” “Beyond Boundaries: Unveiling the Journey from QE to SDET to Product Reliability.“
The relief when the sessions of Day 1 were over was immense. All of us had finally done something none of us had ever done. From Mahesh Morya, who handles SEO in our team being the guy behind the console, to Ashutosh Garg, Shashank R, and Jhinal Porwal, who handle marketing and social media at The Test Tribe handling the registration desk like a pro, all of us did something new that day, and we came out victorious.
After the first day got over, only one thought was in all of our minds, and that was that we only had one more day to make this whole experience a great one for all the attendees, and we were ready to take over the next day. We just crashed and put together our energies for the next and final day.
The night went in a jiffy, and the second day came. We were much more prepared today. The attendees started coming in at 8:30 am in the morning, and soon we were on the road again for the second day’s show.
The second day started with some fantastic speakers, Anand Subbaraman, Shilpa Balagopalan, and Anagha Joshi, who spoke on “Testing – the past, the present, and the future, the art behind being a tester”, “golden data set and its importance in testing“.
We had our break as usual after doing three sessions. The break ended soon, and then we played a fun game with the attendees with a chance to win chocolates. Attendees told us how many people they have networked with to how much experience they hold. You won’t believe there was a person with 6 months of experience there, and the maximum experience was 40 years.
After this fun activity, we invited Pradeep Soundararajan, Kiran Rayachoti, and Soumya Mukherjee on the stage who spoke on the topics, “What happened to all the testers who started with me 20 years ago?“, “State of Digital Quality,” and “Internals of No / Low Code Test Automation Tools.“
Once Soumya ended this half on a high note, Paras announced that the lunch break was on with a small note to try ‘Moong Dal Halwa’ and tell him after the break how it was. You can imagine which food stall had the most people.
Other than networking, a fun thing happened during this lunch break. Our premier sponsor BrowserStack started a game in their booth, which the people loved. The whole area was blocked by the people playing the game and trying to win the goodies. It was great seeing the attendees interact and enjoy so much.
After the lunch break, we had a session by Peter Thomas on the “Test Automation Capability Map“, and then the most awaited section of the conference came – Panel Discussion.
Robert Sabourin, Nagabhushan Ramappa, Raju Kandaswamy, and Pradeep Soundararajan were the panelists answering questions on the topic “Being AI Ready Tester in 2024.” This panel discussion had everything, there were eye-opening answers, myths being busted, technical answers to the questions, and a lot of learning.
This was the segment with the loudest claps, cheers, and laughs from the audience. After taking a short break from the panel, we were back with our last two sessions by Raju Kandaswamy and Ajay Balamurugadas on “Adapting to the Next Generation of AI – Generative Models and Quality Assurance” and “Get Greedy with Test Coverage.”
The feeling when Ajay said his last word and the applause from the audience is indescribable, even 20 days after the conference. It was a mix of relief, excitement, happiness, pride, and sadness that everything was over – combined at once.
Once the sessions were over, Paras called the team members to the stage, and that moment was filled with pure energy. We were so happy that we could bring smiles to the attendees’ faces, and we wanted to capture that moment. So, that is what we did. We took a selfie with all the attendees. Trust me, this selfie with 450 people who were almost strangers two days back was the best selfie that could be taken.
What did we do after the event was over? Well, you can probably guess. We slept till we couldn’t sleep and enjoyed ourselves with our families to whom we couldn’t give time in those last 15 days. This whole event could be summarized by one line for us, and that is “If you dream big, you can achieve great things,” and that is what happened at TribeQonf.