This is a guest post by Akshay Vikas, a close friend of mine and core contributors of E-Dorado.
To gauge the success of Dorado in terms of the close to 1,050 odd registrations it received from within the country and abroad, would not only be immensely myopic, but also very unfair to the efforts of those 1,050 people, and to their stories.
But first, does it all even matter?
After all, the event involves no real skill. No prior knowledge. No chemical reactions, no deep understanding of the stars, no work on circuitry and no calculations. Hell, it doesn’t even generate any revenue for the festival. Come to think of it, it’s just 3 or 4 images put together to point to a particular person or occurrence. Why all this fuss then?
Perhaps the impact of Dorado can be seen in the form of the Romanian who beat his head up for 16 days trying to figure out why people like Mithun Chakraborty, Kamaal Rashid Khan and Chunky Pandey were given so much importance. Or the junior who rushed out of an evaluative lab to check up on a recent brainwave about the revolting Ali G of Borat fame. Or maybe, the working professional who spent 17 hours in his office cabin looking into details of Rajiv Gandhi’s assassination, only to come back to his cabin the next day and find himself wondering ‘How she could slap him?’ Maybe it was the group from Singapore who were introduced to the magic of Kolaveri as they decoded the meaning of ‘soup boy.’
If that wasn’t enough, the BITS Fat Cow database crashed one afternoon as close to 300 people were attempting to figure out the answer to certain particularly disturbing questions, taking with it all of the Waves, Quark and SPREE content. The event perhaps for the first time brought about a sense of rivalry amongst the BITS campuses, and might just be the only occasion when all of the IIT campuses in the country were competing against each other. Questions which took an hour to construct were being taken apart in less than 16 seconds and BITS, probably, for the first time we live in the times of excessive social media marketing and publicity, of door to door campaigning and large all-encompassing banners. A week or so ahead of the scheduled beginning of the event, which only incidentally happened to fall on the auspicious occasion of Friday the 13th, the four EMs had a combined total of Rs. 30 in their wallets, and were confronted with the task of the always tricky on-campus publicity. A total of 30 black-and-white A4 sheets were printed and put up in the hostels, containing only 3 images related to the Quark theme and a date, and almost instantly, anyone who came across it was left wondering. Perhaps, and this may seem radical to a lot of event managers and conference organizers, it’s the event that sells itself.
The Reasons for the success?
Was it in fact exceptional social media marketing? The Stunning visual interface? The huge prize money? “The interest in questions- It’s like when u start reading up on the question, there’s so much to know, and when you get that urge to know more, it does the trick and keeps u going” is one amongst the many things that participants enumerated as a reason for their persistence in this 16 day long marathon.
Perhaps the whole mantra for success is to keep things simple, and, occasionally, toss in a Washing Powder jingle reference.