2020 will always be a memorable year for Synapse QA Family. When we started Synapse QA back in March’20, we never expected such a warm welcome & encouragement from the community. It eventually gave us the courage to think big and have bigger dreams that resulted in #superreads @ 12.12 which was something new for us and everyone.
This is a long story short of our journey in a few words and laughs. A story of learnings, executions, challenges, and rising up 😉. I would like to share the evolution of superreads with you all.
It was all about making a dream come true, and we are still receiving support and love from the testing community.
As I shared in this video, superreads was something that started as a random thought! Will you believe the idea popped up in my mind by seeing a notification on 11.11 sales from a shopping site on 10th Nov? But yeah it is, that was the beginning of #superreads thought.
Now you might be thinking, how the notification and this event is linked, right? Well, I would say that it was the spark to think about something similar and all the innovative ideas started from that crazy thought. When shopping sites give amazing offers on a specific day, why can’t we give something special to our community? Something like a unique reading experience to the readers and a unique writing experience to the writers which never happened before.
The next step was to present this idea to the Synapse QA team in which two of them are question bombers(I am not mentioning you guys Amala & Ram 😉). I dared to spill it out to them, which led to questions as I expected. But to be honest, the answers gave superreads its initial structure.
- What if people are not interested to participate?
- What if the event is not reaching the right audience?
- What if we don’t get 12 articles to be published?
- What if we can’t manage the timelines?
- What if we get more? (At that time, this was having very low priority)
- What if we fail? (As this is something we have never done before)
Let the answers we discussed be in our minds I leave it to you guys to imagine!
There were a lot more than these, but since those questions became irrelevant in the initial days itself let’s move on!
Even after the lengthy discussions, we didn’t have the courage to launch this event to a wider audience, and we moved on with our daily work. But the curiosity was still there and it led me to randomly search in google about 1212 which finally ended up on this page, the game changer!!
I never knew there was something special with the number 1212, and it got something to do with the Angels Number . And a single paragraph from that actually inspired me.
Well, somehow it helped to overcome the mindset we had during the discussion and gave me the courage to share with my team again and reiterate!
And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it
– Paulo Coelho
It is true right??
The angels number changed our thoughts and we decided to launch the event which I like to refer to as the beginning! Huraayyyy!!!
We announced the event on 12th November at 12.12 AM with the courage to take the risk (initially, it was indeed a risk) .
We started sharing with our network and other communities, hold on… did I mention that superreads was not having any prizes at all during the first announcement? Yes you heard it right, initially there were no prizes lined up. We only had to offer the global reach we planned for the participants initially. A discussion with Enrique and Benjie led to the thought of having prizes for our participants, which needed support from sponsors.
Then we had to think about prize structure and sponsorship tiers which were not in the picture till then. And it was something new to me to work on how to approach for sponsorship and how to give them a clear picture on superreads. After working it out in detail, I reached out to Meital Matsafi(TestProject) and Pradeep(Testvox) detailing the event and structure. To surprise me, without a second thought they said YES!!!! I would like to especially thank both of them, for trusting us and supporting us for our very first event.
So we had our initial prize structure Yeah, I intentionally said initial because that too evolved later.
The entire idea of superreads kept polishing throughout the 50 days period and it evolved day by day, which is clearly visible from our event logo. We had 5 different logos designed from time to time and the final one which was featured is the 5th one.
We wanted a fresh look to all our designs which took a different path from what we used to see before. So, it was a great challenge to design the creatives for superreads but I would appreciate Amala for wonderfully managing that. The effort she took to create the amazing and stand apart creatives is commendable.
The next part was to reach out to community partners(a few were our friends and some were completely new). Ram, Enrique, and I started reaching out to them and we were getting more and more support. This is one good thing that happened during these uncertain times, to support each other. We are glad that this event gave us a chance to interact with the fantastic people behind those.
Another big thing was to reach out and onboard our main reviewers. Knowing the fact that all of them are quite busy made me nervous to approach them. But the way they responded was encouraging. Without them we couldn’t have done this so well. Kristin Jackvony, Brijesh Deb, Marie Drake, Antonella Scaravilli, Prashant Hegde you guys are amazing and words can’t express how grateful I am. They deserve a standing ovation for the tremendous effort they did for this event.
As the event was getting a better shape day by day, our confidence also increased and we started paying attention to more details. We trusted and backed up each other continuously. During the initial days, the number of registrations was very less, which totally let us down. But somewhere along the way we still had hope and were able to see the light which kept us moving.
And then it was time when the magic started happening.
We started to get more and more registrations, and the numbers kept increasing every day. WOW!!!
Alongside the background work, planning, interactions, coordination, and our to-do list started piling up. And we ended up with 90+ registrations from 18 countries .
We were overwhelmed with the responses so we started to think of making the event better. First off it was to give our participants digital certificates. But how and whom should we approach were still a question. And then we approached Certifyme.Online with a sponsorship request and again to my surprise they were so happy to support us. Special thanks to Harsha Jain, for supporting our event.
And the next surprise came from Tristan Lombard and Testim Community, which helped us to revise the prize structure and add on contests (another evolution). Special thanks to Tristan for supporting us throughout the event and motivating us to have bigger plans.
With all this sorted out, next we had to create a seamless experience for the review process. Since none of us were working full time on this and considering that our main reviewers are having tight schedules, we started exploring different platforms for automating the review flow.
As we were getting fed up trying out different platforms, Amala impressed us by creating an automated workflow with her company product(Nintex Workflow Automation) itself . We used it as our review tool and gave a flawless experience to manage the review process easily.
While approaching the deadline to receive articles, there were moments of anxiety wondering how many we will get. Eventually, we ended up with 37 entries for superreads, which was way beyond our expectations.
The days between the deadline and the article’s launch were too short, so we had to work late nights to consolidate the review comments, reaching out to participants for updates, coordinate with main reviewers, designs, social media engagement, and final structure of the launch, etc.
Special thanks to Ryan Howard who volunteered to be part of superreads team and helped us speeding up with screening.
I would say everything went well as we were doing it together as a Team! The entire team worked collaboratively and round the clock almost(yeah it’s right) to get everything ready for the launch. 11 minds were working as 1 mind trying to deliver the best of us. When one stops others will start from there and the chain went on like that. There were times we felt tiring, but the awesome responses and encouragement we received from our participants gave us the inspiration and encouragement to push ourselves more than what we planned initially.
Then we reached the final stage, after compiling all the approvals and receiving updates from participants we had 15 articles shortlisted with a mere difference in final scores (Sorry, I am not revealing the secret recipe of superreads review & calibrations we did). We had to call upon the entire super reads team and do voting to choose the final 12 while we were just 24hrs away from the launch. But it was fun…
To make it even tougher, the initial voting gave 11 shortlisted articles and there was a tie between 3 articles which led us to do one more round of voting. And finally, we got our super 12 articles.
Creating a unique reading experience & launch
The whole event was conceived in a way to offer a unique experience to everyone. So we thought about something cinematic for the launch and final prize announcement. There was a lot of creative thinking and efforts behind those two unique videos we created for Super Writers Intro and Final prize announcement.
The launch day was crazier than we expected. I was fully immersed in drafting the articles for launch with a distant vision on the final structure, Enrique was creating questions for the quiz and follow up post wordings, Ram was busy working on the contest items and creating quiz form on the fly, Amala was super busy letting her creative juices flow for the final header, footer, super writer announcement video designs based on the crazy requirements I explained.
By 10 PM, we finished drafting the articles but the lounge was still under construction along with the contest form which made all of us tensed ! Magically, we were able to do 3x things during the final 2hrs. Thanks to Amir and Benjie to test the entire flow, feedback process at the very last moment without any hiccups.
And Tada We managed it on time… The Super Reads lounge was up by 12.12 AM on 12th Dec’20. We were all excited with the responses and sometimes even felt goosebumps on seeing how our event shaped up in due course. We were so happy to hear the responses from the community and readers.
After the launch, it was about monitoring the contest, article views, audience ratings, and deciding the top 3 winners by new year’s day. Something which we believed was an easy-going thing until became spicy with a spam attack on our quiz contest form.
Conquering a spam attack ♟️
Well, the whole event was new learning for us! And this was something shocking and never expected. While monitoring the quiz entries we figured out that there were spam entries to our super quiz form which made it difficult to sort out real entries. A risk we never expected and were clueless. We couldn’t restrict the form available only for logged in users as it would impact the easiness for our readers.
Realizing that “there is a whole new world out there” we started thinking of new ways as well without impacting the reader’s experience.
On the second day, we launched new version of the super quiz form updating the links in all pages while keeping the old form intact. The old form continued to be spammed by the spammer/bot without knowing the fact that we released a new form . To make it more interesting, we kept on changing the fields and options in the old form thereby making it difficult to automate and finally gave up It felt like a chess game played with an unknown person, and eventually we won.CHECKMATE
Super Thanks Everyone
Having fun, learnings, new experiences, finally on the new year eve we were ready with the top 3 and contest winners. We wanted it to resemble a big award ceremony, so the designs were created in a way to meet those requirements.
I would like to thank all of you for making it a huge success than we expected and showing your love and support throughout these 50 days. We couldn’t have made it awesome without you all.
Few stats on Super Reads
If you wonder whether #superreads is over? No, your love and support inspired and gave us the confidence to bring a second edition with more surprises in 2021.
Starting tomorrow, we will be sharing the rest of the articles by superreads participants. So we encourage you to stay tuned to our space for more amazing things in 2021.
#superreads is something that made us believe that true magic happens when we begin something and the best things in life are often found outside your comfort zone. The way the event shaped up helped us to understand the true “Why” of Synapse QA as well.
We believe that there are many rich voices, ideas & experiences among the community but they are usually lost somewhere. We aim to provide that platform for FREE, where people from the community will be providing feedback on how you could improve your writing skills, exchange ideas, and grow together! We would like to encourage the writers in the community to express and share their thoughts in the best ways possible and be a bridge that connects them to the global community.
We will thrive our best to continue the magic happen in this new year, with new ideas, innovations, and new experiences. If it sounds to be interesting and you wish to be part of Synapse QA Family, please feel free to reach out to us via firstname.lastname@example.org or DM me.
Don’t wait, be the change, and embrace the change.
Cheers and Signing off with lots of love,
Wish you all a Happy New Year. May this year be the best!