Speak Up!

I have been in software development industry for quite some time now and one thing that has always amazed me is the lack of South Asian speakers in the tech industry. The south asian community forms the backbone of the Silicon Valley but during conferences it perceives itself as a spineless community.

When I attended Apple Tech Talks couple of years back I was quite amazed to see that 95% of the attendees were white. During the conference I felt like a himalayan snow leopard, rare and going extinct. Some might argue that south asian do not like to spend money on these things. That argument will fail quickly since most of these conferences are open to public at no cost. 

Take a look at the CocoaConf speakers. Take a look at 360iDev speakers. See the pattern! Not even a single south asian speaker... none.. nada.. ZERO. This reminds me of a RubyConf a while back which got cancelled due to all white speaker list. I contacted RubyConf organizers and told them the reason you don't have any non white speaker is because none of those people ever applied.

Some people might have a wrong idea that even if they apply they will not get selected but I disagree with them completely. Couple of years back I applied for 360iDev and I was selected and it was one of the best conference I ever attended. I have been speaking at Houston Tech Fest for almost 5 years now. I have given sessions at .NET user groups and iPhone user groups multiple times. 

Presently, I applied for mdevcon 2014 in Amsterdam. Due to the quantity and quality of sessions my chances of being selected are very low but it is still better than not applying at all.

My message to all the south asians is to stop being a 9-5 person and wake up and try to change the world. Don't give excuses of not having enough time. I have wife and two kids and I still find time to work on my side projects, create screencasts, play cricket, swim etc. Stop living in a cave and come out and explore. Let your voice be heard.. Speak up!!