The company I work for, Fifth Tribe, teamed up with General Assembly and hosted a new initiative called Tek Feuds which is an event that uses the Oxford style of debating to create an environment that is fun and exciting but also educational on technical subjects.
The first event was iOS vs Android held at the 1776 office space in Washington D.C. The event was sold out and I was lucky enough to be given the important job of time keeper, which allowed me to sit in the front next to the judges.
The debate wasn't an official Oxford style, but it mimicked it with adjustments to make it fun and easier. One of the adjustments was that the debaters knew the topic for a month whereas in a real Oxford style debate the debaters wouldn't know the topic until 10 minutes before the debate started.
Anyways back to the event, it was great and I enjoyed listening to both sides. SPOILER ALERT! Team Android won! The team prize was a $1,000 cash and the best debater who was also on Team Android won a drone.
I was slightly disappointed in the way team iOS debated and countered the points of team Android. One of the main points the Android debaters mentioned was how expensive the iPhone is. My counter would be that it brings value to the product and that it is an investment similar to buying a car, house or even education. Their argument was that Android phones were cheaper thus accessible to many more users. While that may be true, it does not mean it is the better operating system just because it is cheap. Walmart is cheap, but it doesn't necessarily mean Walmart sells the best products.
Overall though it was a great event and the victory did belong to team Android. They were the better debaters and their statements and counter statements won over the judges, the audience (based on their applause) and even my own judgement. As an avid Apple user with a a MacBook Pro and an iPhone, I have to admit that team Android did win.
The feedback for the Tek Feuds event from everyone I spoke to were all positive. Everyone is excited for this new way of discussing and learning about technologies. It may have sounded as a cheesy fanboy event, but it was far from it. There were leading technologists from Capital One, Canvas, Xapp Media, Fifth Tribe, and government officials all interested in the debate.
I hope future Tek Feuds events include such themes as, "The Battle of the JS Frameworks" or "SQL vs noSQL" or "Node JS backend vs Rails/Python/.NET backend". The debatable topics are endless but the end result is to have positive competition to grow and learn together.
Videos and photos from the event here.