Hackathons for Fun and Profit


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by Marianne Bellotti, @bellmar

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Hackathons for Fun and Profit

  1. 1. Hackathons for Fun and Profit Marianne Bellotti, @bellmar
  2. 2. Profit? Hackathonsnot just about prizes
  3. 3. Who am I?- No CS degree- Self Taught- Jack of All Trades
  4. 4. Who am I? Precocious Kid + Computers =Stressed-Out Dad
  5. 5. Who am I?- Discovery security vulnerability in AOL at 14- Hacked into my HS system at 16 (to play Tetris)
  6. 6. Who am I? ← Where Ive hackedStuff Ive won →
  7. 7. Who am I?
  8. 8. HackathonsTheres so much to gain from hackathonsBut few women attend
  9. 9. Myths About Hackathons- Its about being the best hacker- Beginners are not welcome- Not enough time- My hack should be a business
  10. 10. The TruthHackathons are networking events for technical people
  11. 11. Why Hack?- Build connections- Meet influencers- Play with new technology- Learn
  12. 12. Where to Hack?Okay sure, but which event to attend?
  13. 13. Where to Hack: Large Events - Too many people to meet - Intense competition (aggression) - Pre-formed teams - Hours of demos
  14. 14. Where to Hack: Large Events - Large events = more name recognition - More stress, less bonding
  15. 15. Where to Hack: Small Events - Better caliber of people - Welcoming/Mentorship - Inter-team mingling
  16. 16. Where to Hack: API Hack Day - On paper: Worst Hackathon Ever - In Reality: Most Profitable
  17. 17. Where to Hack: API Hack Day - Tiny; Less than 30 hackers - Wifi down all day - Conference room of law office - Top prize $500
  18. 18. Where to Hack: API Hack Day But the people I met there (still) invest in me as a person
  19. 19. API Hack Day: Rob Spectre - Python Developer - BoxeeBut hes since moved on to become Developer Evangelist for Twilio
  20. 20. API Hack Day: David Bloom - Entrepreneur - OrdrinA few months later, Ordrin became a TechStars company
  21. 21. Social Capital- Tech is very small- The best opportunities are unadvertised- Who you know is still more important
  22. 22. Building Skills- Techies are like sharks- Leadership, presentation, teamwork
  23. 23. Winning- What do you need to convey concept?- Do something unique/creative- Core + Expansion
  24. 24. Winning- Be strategic (sponsor prizes)- Dont be afraid to fly solo- Funny -versus- Great Demo
  25. 25. Teams Fail When...- Come to launch a startup, not hack- More than 20 mins of planning- Core not compelling
  26. 26. Mariannes Greatest HitsSome Hacks Ive Done
  27. 27. Startup WeekendIdea: Analytics + creative writingWhat it won: VCs ChoiceWhy it won: Only team with a workingdemo. Unique concept.
  28. 28. Hackday.tvIdea: Order food through your TVWhat it won: Best Use of APIWhy it won: Sponsor loved the idea
  29. 29. API Hack Day I&IIIdea I: Sports updates via GrowlIdea II: Reward meals for workoutsWhat they won: 1st Overall (I) Best Use ofAPI (I & II) 2nd place overall (II)Why they won: Fully demo-able
  30. 30. Im Still Growing- Learning to be an expert- Battling Impostor Syndrome
  31. 31. Thank you!@bellmar