Designing our way to new friendships!

The story of Bangalore Dribbble Meetup 2017

Having been to multiple conferences and meet-ups in and outside India, my only motivation of attending such events is to network with smart folks who are in the same domain as I am. Peer learning is the best form of learning and so I like to flock (shameless vocabulary plug-in for our sponsors :D) around people who are smarter than me, and from whom I can learn and become a better professional. While a conventional conference or event has its own benefits — one can learn a ton from speakers and finally get to meet them. However, the concise learning stuffed in an hour or half’s slot has never been able to do justice to the topic.

We, the Zeta design & product team, love to attend meet-ups & conferences. However, we also feel that such events are not always structured for what attendees look forward to the most — networking! Hence, we decided to change the design of such meetups.

Let me share the story of how we went about this year’s edition of Bangalore Dribbble Meet-up, what was the inspiration behind, what was the model, and how our meet-up’s design almost forced people to network, become friends, and collaborate on projects.

The meet-up started with the attendees checking-in with our custom designed passports, our first endeavour to get people to network.

L: The passports R: Kushagra Agarwal and me checking folks in

Each passport had a borderline ‘insane’ team name on it and everybody with that same team name were… erm, part of, one team! We did our best to keep all passports in random; so much that even if you came in a group of upto 20 people, the probability of you teaming up with one of your acquaintances or friends was reduced to zero. Here’s how our passports looked like:

My brain farted looking at these. But do I care? No, I don’t. Ok, enough drama done.

See the funny team names up there? There were 20 of those! And each team had 10 to 12 participants. As soon as it was announced that all teams needed to team up, we could hear people shouting things such as, “All brain farts come here please!” and “Everybody who is late or early please come to me”. In a moment, chaos ensued; and everyone thoroughly enjoyed it! Life became even more difficult for those who came in late. They had to go to each table and ask, “We don’t care team, I am here, please care!” :D and the “We don’t care” team really didn’t give a (the word your mom told you not to use)!

P.S. Brain Farts, Late or Early, and We Don’t Care were few of our team names. :D

This was our first step to break the ice. No formal introductions, no awkward ‘hi’s and ‘hello’s, no introverts hiding in corners, just some uber talented designers running all across our office shouting out weird team names.

That said, you maybe wondering what’s a passport without a few proud stamps?!

Well, we had tens of mini competitions and games during the event, which made attendees eligible to win a stamp on their passports. Maximum number of stamps on their passports in turn made them eligible to win a big surprise towards the end of the event. Folks seemed to thoroughly enjoy this gig of ours. <My stamp was also stolen. Twice.>

I am looking at you, boy.

And while everyone was busy, weirding it out, stealing stamps, and more, I caught this shot for myself! :D

lolmaxing it out! :D

This year’s theme

Zeta is a part of the Directi umbrella. And an amazing product blooming in our gardens is Kapow — a gaming app that you can enjoy with your friends. On top of that, all of us in the organising team are gaming fans. Hence, we decided that this year’s theme could be, GAMES!

The main event of the meet-up was for all teams to design a board game. There were 20 teams and towards the end of the meet-up, we got to witness 20 brilliantly designed & conceptualised board games.

Once the teams were divided, we didn’t stop there. All of us in the organizing team went to each table to do small fun games for even further ice breaking between teams to help them know each other and collaborate better. Yes, they could win stamps on their passports in these games.

Some of the games we tried were:

  • After the first half an hour, we went on each table and challenged people to tell names of everyone in their team. Out of the 6 tables I went to, 4 failed gloriously. And the moment I turned, I could hear them laughing and discussing each other’s names. :)
  • We did a game where everyone in the team had to count one after the other, except for the times it was a multiple of 3 & 5, when they had to say a “No” instead. This was to help them listen to each other better, be better heard, and be alert of everyone’s opinions in the team.
  • We also did a pictionary. Where people’s quirks came out and everyone in the groups had fun. The evil organizer Ramakrishna Venkatesan gave words such as fart, sour, and swarm. Wonder where his obsessions come from?!
  • Another activity towards the end of the day was that each team had to tell interesting facts about each other in their teams. During this activity, we discovered that one guy was air-lifted, another dated a stripper, a girl had worked in a pizza shop before finding her real calling, and yet another who could flap both her ears together. Wow!

In the passports, there was also a section to doodle away. And we witnessed some fantastic doodles there. Here are some of them:

Doodle, doodle everywhere

There was also a section to solve a Sudoku game and a designer being himself, turned it into a tic-tac-toe!

Sudoku or Tic-tac-toe? Tic-tac-toe or Sudoku?

Our sponsors

Last year, we spent 3 whopping lakhs on Bangalore Dribbble Meetup! Zeta, our current company, sponsored it FULLY! No questions asked. :)
Since it’s a social event, this time, we didn’t want to put the burden on our company alone, and we decided to become self sustainable (though our sweetheart CTO Ramki Gaddipati gave us a green light for this year as well)! After all, Zeta is a start-up and we didn’t want to put the pressure of 3 whopping lakhs again on it!

Hence, we came up with two ideas to fund this year’s meet-up — sponsors, and the crowd i.e. you!

To make this community self-sustainable and grow even bigger, instead of relying at one source for funds, we made it crowd-funded! We ran a campaign on Ketto and urged all product, design, and startup folks to contribute their part in building, motivating, and appreciating the community of designers who are making our lives better, every day. We weren’t able to raise the entire money from this campaign itself as we started it late, but we still managed to get a decent amount from the crowd. Hence, it was decided that the principal sponsors in this year’s meet-up would be the crowd, and YOU!

All the sponsors. :) Go spot yourself!

Also, a heartfelt thanks to various companies which made this year’s event a huge success.

  • Flock — a team chat and collaboration platform
  • IndieFolio — a marketplace for creative professionals
  • DesignBoat — a UI/UX studio
  • Iconscout — India’s first icon marketplace

How we built the designers community this year

Flock, a team chat and collaboration platform, was our primary sponsor. Thanks to Flock, we were able to kick-start our meet-up, much before the day of the meet-up. :) We created a team on Flock and ran multiple games, quizzes, and contests to help people know each other better and keep the momentum on before the D-day. Presently, we have close to 500 design enthusiasts on our Flock team. <If you wish to join us on Flock, please use this link>

Our Flock team

Keeping up with the spirit of this year’s theme, we had multiple games to enjoy within our office premises. Apart from Foosball, and TT, courtesy our Zeta office; we also hand made a few games such as Ring Toss, and Can Throw.

Home made Can Throw game

When everyone was done with designing their board games, we all gathered for a quick breather (or not) and did some squat and push up challenges organized by our in-house fitness maniac, Kshitij Pandey.

Push-up and squats challenge

The main event — Game Design Competition

Much to everyone’s awe, towards the end of the day, we saw some amazingly designed games. From reimagining Mahabharata’s board game, to a beer game, to a space game, to — you couldn’t have guessed it — a startup game! We saw almost everything gamified on boards in front of us.

Here are some shots of games, people busying it out while designing & making them, and final presentations.

Designing, making, and presenting GAMES

Towards the end

The day ended with Saptarshi Prakash taking the stage to announce the winners and thanking everyone. Winners got Zeta Platinum Cards with digital cash pre-loaded in them.

No, we didn’t end the day without the customary meet-up swag! Here’s what you missed in case you didn’t attend the Bangalore Dribbble Meetup 2017

Swag, swag and more swag!

The organizing team had some serious fun putting together this year’s meet-up for all you folks. If you have any feedback, comments, words of appreciation, please share them with us in the comments section below.

Till next year,

Practice safe design, and use a concept! :D

Practice Safe Design. Use a Concept.

Much love! ❤

L: After the meet-up R: At 2AM, one night before the meet-up