Things had been going on smoothly so far: banners, posters and booklets had arrived, wireless routers had arrived, the guys in charge of adding power outlets to the venue were going to arrive on time.
Jared Smith, Joerg Simon and Robert Scheck were already in Pune that day and we hosted them at the Red Hat office after lunch.
However, with just one day left for the conference, a little amount of panic set in.
We had planned to go to COEP and register the volunteers to minimise the rush on the registration counters on the first day, and also to have a brief chat with the volunteers on how the event would proceed. However, we were informed the students had classes till 1730 that day. Also, the t-shirts would have to be kept on the other side of the campus (across the road) on the 3rd floor of the building (which doesn’t have an elevator). Lugging the huge T-shirt boxes isn’t something we wanted to burden anyone with, so we decided not to do the distribution / registration that day, but call the students earlier on the 1st day. We decided on meeting at 0730 hours to register the volunteers on day 1. Satya, who was in contact with the volunteers, conveyed all these messages across.
However, I sensed a bit of agitation in Satya’s voice. Looks like she had been in touch with all the speakers landing in, and they were landing all through the night. She was then also co-ordinating with the cabs to get them to Pune (for those coming in from Mumbai). Some speakers missed their flights, some chose to hang around in Mumbai and shop around. Getting in touch with these folks became difficult, and with the cab drivers asking for details from Satya, it was clear to see what she had gone through: no sleep, and working overtime to figure out if everyone is safe and sound and coming in properly.
She wasn’t complaining, but definitely there was something wrong. She had too much to do on her plate. I’m not sure how that happened; we had delegated most of the stuff to people, but Satya somehow got caught up with volunteers, registration desk and hospitality. And all of these things got pretty active in the final days. We’ll have to keep that in mind for the next time. Satya’s been a great sport, though, and she’s ensured people got in and out of Pune on time.
A note to speakers and those whom we approved travel sponsorship for: please help us help you. Keep a phone handy and call us immediately in case of any change of plans (or delays). Please respond to all emails we send out asking for information and call us the moment something unexpected happens. Helps maintain everyone’s sanity!
Back to the action: while Prasad (PJP), Shreyank and Kashyap went ahead to the venue to set up banners, power outlets and wireless routers, the rest of us stayed back at the office, started the registration session for Red Hat speakers and attendees, handing out their badges. Things weren’t too smooth for the folks who went to the venue, either. Power had failed and they couldn’t test the wireless capabilities. The electricians adding power outlets could go on doing their work using mobile phone flash lights, though. It took a good hour and a half for the power to be restored. We worried if the event could go on without glitches…