Slash n, as we call it!
The event is a manifestation of our thought that all knowledge is meant to be shared. And we have gained quite a bit of knowledge worth sharing, in the past 5+ years of our existence… specifically in the e-commerce space.
So, the sessions are centered around use of data in the e-commerce business, scalability in technology, messaging as a platform, private clouds, online marketing, website security when customer trust is at stake and a lot more relevant themes!
Do these themes interest you? Take a look at the event microsite for the agenda, speakers and venue details.
Given that this is the first edition of Slash n, it is invite-only. But we’re opening up a few invites. Invites (selectively) will be sent only to those who request it via the online form in the microsite.
Visit the Slash n microsite for more!
Not that we are old today – we are just 5 years young, having started our journey in October 2007! But, here are some pictures (click on the smaller screenshots to see larger images) from our childhood (relatively short journey!) to where we are, today!
First things first… let us wish you a wonderful new year!
Now, on to the post!
A lot of our people were planning their holidays for 2013 as early as November-December 2012. We are like that anyway… planning well in advance and sticking to the plan.
So, the collective demand for a 2013 list of holidays grew louder around end of November 2012. The HR team at Flipkart had an easy way out – make a list based on internal discussions and share it quickly.
But we are Flipkart. And we do things differently here. Even for something as simple as a list of holidays!
What we did was a fairly simple crowdsourcing exercise – a survey sent to all employees where they can vote for their 12 official holidays from a master-list of holidays. The ones with most votes get to be the final list of 12 official holidays for 2013.
The participation was fantastic, as expected. More than 1,900 employees took part and within a few minutes we had as many as 500+ votes! Someone said the other day that this process reminded her of Enid Blyton’s Naughtiest Girl series where the kids at Whyteleafe School are empowered to take their own decisions through a democratic and participative process!
Our TV advertisements may have had the ’No Kidding. No Worries’ line, but this is no kids affair anyway. Most employees were really glad to see the collaborative way this list was handled… something that is usually pushed top-down. We even heard many canvassing with friends and colleagues to vote more for Mondays and Fridays so that they can take advantage of 3-days breaks and plan holiday travel better!
But again, this is not new. When we had a new office to move into, in Koramangala 1st Block (in Bangalore), we did a similar crowdsourcing exercise for naming the conference rooms. The sheer range of ideas we got was mindboggling.
We finally had people vote for their favourites and landed on three broad themes, for 3 floors – Hindi cinema villains, Indian comic book characters and Rock bands! So, don’t be surprised if you are ushered into a room called Kancha Cheena, Mogambo or Gabbar, when you visit our office!
How on earth are these two experiences similar?
Hear it from our very own Rajesh Radhakrishnan who works in the Digital team at Flipkart. He has a very cool story to share.
Recently, I had the pleasure of attending a concert by the stalwarts of Indian Rock – Indus Creed at the Hard Rock Cafe – Mumbai.
They played a host of songs from their newer albums and a few of their older tunes. Their encore set included their all time hit classic “Pretty Child” followed by their first ever hit “Top Of The Rock” (from their Rock Machine days). The keyboards, the guitars, the drums, the vocals were all in perfect sync. All in all a memorable show for any rock lover.
But that was not the highlight of the show for me. There were two moments that made my evening.
The first moment was the opportunity to talk to Uday Benegal (their lead singer).
When Uday walked in, I went up to him and spoke to him. First I congratulated him on their new album. Then I mentioned what a big fan I was and also slipped in that I work for Flipkart. (I was also wearing the Flipkart t-shirt.)
This got his attention and he mentioned how he loved Flipkart and ordered books for his family from there. He was amazed by the speed of delivery.
Then I told him I work for the Digital vertical. And his first question was “Great, how is Flyte doing?“. I was pleasantly surprised that he used the word “Flyte”
He went on to endorse his support of what Flyte is doing for the Indian Music scene. In his words “It’s about F$@#ing time someone did something”
Moment #2 : The BIG Moment
Midway through the concert Uday announced that people who have not brought their latest album should buy it.
On being asked “where?”, he pointed towards the crowd and said “There is a man here who is wearing a blue shirt with a big F on the front.”. As I waved back to him from the crowd, he continued “There he is. He is from Flipkart.com. They are really friendly people and have excellent service. I buy from there all the time”.
Someone from the audience also cried out that they loved Flipkart’s service.
Someone else suggested that Flipkart had given him some incentive to talk about Flipkart. To this he immediately quipped that he was not getting anything from them (Flipkart) and continued to say “You can buy the physical album or can opt for the digital download. They are priced very reasonably too”.
That was a very proud moment for me.
Felt really good to be working for a company which
a) People recognize and
b) Speak good things about
Keep Rocking Fellow Flipkartians
We continue with part 2 of our Hack Day post – penned by Devashish Bhattacharjee
Hackday was kick-started by Atul Chitnis (FOSS.in guru) with an inspiring talk about his life and work.
Post that everyone just got cracking on their designs/code at their respsective spots/places/desks.
The Demos, that followed the 24 hours of hacking, were a launch pad for the Hackers/Creators to present their creations (Hacks) to the audiences and request for their votes. Pretty much like entrepreneurs vying for VC funding by putting their good stuff on display.
How? Well, the Demos were organized in a fair-type format with stalls and pods set up for parallel Demoing, and the audience went around the place taking turns to view the Hacks and vote for their favourite ones using plastic coins. It was an awesome, crazy sight! Filled with energy and excitement.
The top 10 hacks were then selected by audience votes and judges votes and they got to present once again on a big screen . There were various awards including crazy ones like “Most Helpful Hackers”, “Laziest Hack”, the “Hackiest Hack”, the “Coolest Hack”, the “Out of the Box Hack” and the “Most Popular Hack”!
The prizes themselves were a lot of fun too! The laziest hack guy got a bean-bag and the most helpful hacker got a swiss-knife; the Out of the Box Idea guys got a Lego box and the Coolest Hack guys got rapper gear/costume/accessories… !!
The winners of the Best Hack awards and the most Popular Hack award got to dress up like kings – with capes, a crown and scepter to boot!!
Needless to say, it was great fun…and we can hardly wait for the next installment!
(All the pics are the Copyright of Flipkart. Please provide a citation and a back-link to this blog post if you are using them elsewhere).
It’s been a fortnight since Flipkart organized it’s very own Hack Day – and we have Devashish Bhattacharjee from Flipkart pen down some lines on what was easily the coolest do of the year:
It was that time of the year again. On June 7th & 8th, Flipkart HackDay was back with a bang – a wacky, crazy, cool version, in its third avatar.
Wondering why it’s Hack Day and not days? That’s ‘coz the event officially starts at 4 pm on the first day (June 7) and ends at 4 pm on the next day (June 8, 2012)… making it a 24 hour extravaganza… That’s 24 hours to convert caffeine into code (a phrase coined by one of the organizers and has stuck on just like that!) or in other words 24 hours to create something new of your own.
Readers please note that the meaning of the term Hack or Hacking here is: creating something new, something different, changing the status quo of things around oneself and improving things from how/what they are.
Geeks, hackers, programmers, coders, developers (I know the last three are pretty much the same!), designers, creators, dreamers, thinkers, technologists, basically anyone with any interest in technology was encouraged to create cool hacks. The joy of creation reigned supreme!
Overall, it was basically an almost two-day long party – filled with festivities and celebrations – with technology at the center. Having fun was the motto of the day. Nevertheless, innumerable useful ideas and awesome hacks saw the light of day as they got implemented at break neck speeds, de novo. A virtually unending stream of yummy food (read Subway sandwiches, biriyani, pav bhaaji, chhole bhature, rolls, hakka noodles, momos, chicken tikka, aloo parantha, and more) made its way to our office and got consumed like crazy.
Packed with bean-bags (for some cozy coding), red bull (for self-energizing), music and coffee (for keeping awake), the office atmosphere was energized enough to keep everyone’s spirits high through the night, causing the creative sparks to fly on! And the ‘crazy diamonds’ shone on… Till they became ‘comfortably numb’!
The fervent energy, the feverish enthusiasm, the mounting euphoria, was, as they say in Hindi, “Dekhte hi banta tha!!”. (You have to see it to believe it!).
We know we’ve been missing for a couple of days. But fret not – we have kept the best for the last.
Things have been rather hectic for us here – but a happy-hectic. Meeting our customers face-to-face, getting to hear some of the great ideas they have shared with us, running those contests – and of course, the meet-and-greets continue. Phew!
It’s been a rather inspirational two days as well. Guess who visited us? The eminent Shiv Khera (of ‘You Can Win’ fame) and Bimal Jalan! We kept all our work aside just to hear them talk and so did the rest of the crowd. Must say it totally made our day!
So now the World Book Fair is wrapping up. Two more days to go and it will be back to the same ol’ routine. Already feeling the Monday morning blues.
But – we do have a rather exciting weekend before that! Here’s the line-up*
Sunday March 4 we have the charismatic William Dalrymple at 3 pm
Isn’t that a drool-worthy list? Everyone is totally hopping around with excitement over here. Pretty sure you’re hopping around on the other side of this screen too.
As far as we’re concerned tomorrow couldn’t get here fast enough!
*may have teeny-tiny changes – will be sure to let you know though.
We’re back again – with some more tidbits from the World Book Fair.
So yesterday was absolute mayhem! Our stall actually witnessed a mini-stampede. And no, it’s not because Flipkart is the coolest thing since sliced bread (though we like to think we are…). Nope – it wasn’t a question of what made the crowd go crazy but who? With Javed Akhtar there to launch his book Lava – everyone went into a frenzy. In fact, we had to abandon our day jobs of giving gyaan about books and morph into temporary bouncers to get everyone pacified and happy. The ever gracious Mr. Akhtar helped no end by being super patient – smilingly posing for pics and signing books for everyone.
We are expecting another wave of craziness today – with the gorgeous Gul Panag in the house at 3 pm to launch Sachin Garg’s latest.
We have donned our superhero slash bouncer outfits in preparation. By the power of the universe and all that.
Also have a super new addition to our stall – and they are….books! Gasp!
Yes yes, we know what you are thinking. ‘Duh! It’s a book fair!’ Right you are – but this is a bit different. We still ain’t selling – but what you can do is grab your favourite title of the shelves in our reading zone, plonk yourself down on one of the beanbags and read to your heart’s content. No hurry, you can stay as long as you like. Kind of a free lending library only you can’t take the books home.
Ok gotta go. Only one beanbag free – want to put in some reading time before duty beckons.
So end of day two – and what a day two it was.
We had Rashmi Bansal release her book Sach Hue Sapnay (the Hindi translation of her popular I Have A Dream). Preeti Shenoy followed with a book reading of her own and also signed some books for her happy fans – which included us of course (the perks of working amongst books we tell you…)
And now…*drumrolls*…time for some news to take those Monday blues away. Want to know what we have lined up for tomorrow (Feb 27th)?
First up, a book-reading at 1 pm by our very own Flipkart employee Sudhanshu Gupta, who has co-authored a book called The Lost Story. We could tell you we are super thrilled and pleased as punch – but that would be an understatement.
And to top it all off, the mesmerizing Javed Akhtar will be there at 4pm. Quite a coup that one eh?
Oh oh…we also have some snazzy plans up our sleeve to make our stall even more of a chill-out zone. So guess what we are going to do? We are thinking of setting up a…
…haha gotcha! Not spilling the beans now. Come back tomorrow and maybe…