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Wednesday, 5 November 2014

My INKLive experience

Blogadda announced the contest 'beyond boundaries' and selected our post 'technology and life' as one of the winners. Actually, my blogger friend Swati was supposed to attend the INKLive conference but she had to go to Chennai. I hadn’t even heard about INK prior to this. So, when I was offered the pass, the first thing I did was check what the INK conference was all about.

This is what I found: "The INK Conference is an annual conference that aims to fuel innovation and foster knowledge by bringing together the world's most fascinating thinkers and doers on a global stage."

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Big, impressive words, but I wasn't much impressed.The reason was I hate to sit and listen to lectures for hours. I attend conferences, mostly dental and sometimes literary, to meet friends. Besides, I wasn't supposed to attend INK conference but the INKLive conference. INKLive is the live web cast of the INK Conference hosted at a venue close to the main conference venue. This added to my lingering doubts.

After attending the conference, I was surprised that this was one conference, I focused on listening to the speakers rather than meeting people. The attendees were cool, the INKLive hospitality and team was friendly and helpful, but I was engrossed in the sessions.The sessions were mesmerizing. I know mesmerizing sounds a bit too much, but it’s the truth. Have you ever got up to witness the sunrise? The warm sun rays infuse an enthusiasm and positivity which brightens your day. Listening to the achievers is like that; you realize the there are no limitations except the ones you put on yourself. So, I’ll describe more of the sessions than other things.

The sessions

Due to my busy schedule, I could only attend the second day of the conference which was on 2nd November. The INKLive conference was in American School of Bombay, Kohinoor City. Since, I stay in Mumbai I couldn't hope for a better location than Mumbai itself. The two morning sessions for the day were traveller's tales and Future Billions. I settled for some supposedly funny anecdotes on travel and a lecture on economics. I was in for a surprise.

This was no ordinary traveler's tale. It wasn’t a travel where you move across regions and geographical boundaries. True to the spirit of the year’s theme, ‘beyond boundaries’, these were the people who traveled beyond our time, beyond the limitations of our systems and technology. Be it Leonard Pauli’s quest for more freedom (which led him to start a website for fellow students), Neeraj Kakkar’s thoughts of food migration, scope of the Internet by other speakers or changing the face of conservative travel as in case of Phanindra Sama. These speakers were the travelers who followed a dream, and made it to their destination.

Same was the case of ‘Future Billions’. It wasn’t a talk of how to increase your monetary investment, but about the real future of society in terms of education, environment and social growth. The same session presented different perspectives on the same topic. For e.g. Shashwat Ratan believes in making learning technology fun, Ben Nelson feels our education system is completely outdated and should be replaced, whereas William Florence feels it needs transformation rather than a substitute.

It was heartening to see females strive for their own empowerment, and I was awestruck by the sheer determination of two Balinese kids to save their environment. You can check their website, ‘Bye,bye plastic bags’ and help their cause by signing the petition. The best thing was that the sessions ended with some light-hearted entertainment like stand-up comedy and music.

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INKLive provided some speaker interactions too. In that morning session,we got to interact with Arunima Sinha and Kenneth Sebastian. I had missed Arunima's talk the previous day so was glad of the interaction. In the age where people make a fuss about every single problem, Arunima is a real role model. Even her loss of legs couldn't dampen her spirit. My experience about INKLive can not be complete without mentioning the piece of advise Kenny gave. Most of the artists and writers are afraid to showcase their work before they feel it’s complete for fear of mockery. He gave an example of Google, who put out Google Earth incomplete with only maps of North America. If Google can do it without fear of losing reputation, so can you. Sometimes, we need other’s advice to polish our work. If you hide your work, you’re missing on it.
Daniel Leithinger’s idea fascinated me the most. I’ve always felt that computers and electronics are cramping our style. Somehow, all we do is typing on the keyboard which isn’t much of an interaction. Daniel Leithinger not only believes that there should be more interactions between humans and the computers, but is striving towards achieving it. He feels that hands should be the center of activity rather than the computer screen. He is working towards computer interfaces which can render physical forms, which he calls ‘shape displays’, we can touch, interact and communicate.
Besides, there were some interesting workshops, but there wasn’t any seat available. You have to attend the first day to get seats for the workshops. (*sigh) There were also other fun-filled activities and contests at INKLive.

There were some things which disheartened me. First was that the attendee guide said, that photographing in the premise wasn't allowed so I didn't carry my D-SLR with me.It seems it was okay to take photos in the conference rooms. Second was that Laxmi kept on mentioning that spa massages were available for those attending INK conference during lunch. I was attending INKLive and we had no such pampering. I really wished I'd got the INK pass instead.

After the inspiring morning, I was sorry not to be able to attend the rest of the conference. But then, life doesn’t wait, not even for your dose of motivation. After all, motivation is necessary for you to take actions towards your dreams, not spend all time marveling at someone else’s achievement.

Why should you attend INKLive?



Before attending, I’d read the reason to attend INK conferences: if you couldn’t make it as the INK fellow but still have an idea to pitch. I don’t agree with this. Of course, you can attend the conference for that reason too.

I think, you should attend INK or INKLive for motivation. Motivation is something which goes beyond boundaries. It doesn’t matter if the speaker is right in front of you on the stage, or on a screen. When you have a dream you should be focused on it constantly. Obstacles on the way tend to create a distraction. It is helpful to understand that the achiever’s had to go through it too.

Secondly, when the thinkers and doers are all together, the atmosphere is charged with ideas. Different perspectives broaden your horizons and there’s a chance that you might stumble upon a concept which was hovering at the very back of your mind, kept at bay by your busy work schedule and the stress of it. This conference is conducive to shed the lethargy of your brain and induce it to think differently.



  1. Lovely that you got a chance to attend the conference, Kiran!
    I'd love to attend too. Will plan to attend in the future for sure.
    Most events are held in Mumbai & I wish I hadn't left Mumbai...

    Nice to read your post :)

    1. Thanks Anita. I didn't know you used to stay in Mumbai. I wish you were still here too.
      Have a great day!

  2. A different kind of event, good to read your experience on this.


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