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Hackathon survival guide


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Our best advice for how to participate for a Hackathon - and win! Check it ou and check us out at

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Hackathon survival guide

  1. 1. Hackathon Prep and Survey Guide REVISED GUIDE - Oct 2012 – After we made it to the finals! From a HackathonLoser! Winner!– Lessons Learned Francisco Guerrero Founder ShopInterest @Guerrero_FJ @ShopInterest
  2. 2. So you want to join a Hackathon… Why? Pick one based on your needsWhat are you trying to do? Learn something new? Look for a Job? Start a new business? Win an Ipad? Meet angels? Test your idea? Make sure you pick the right Hackathon
  3. 3. Get Social (part I) Start by searching Twitter, Eventbriteand Blogs about the Hackathon you plan toattend, look for names, follow people, Check linked-In, check the participants out, even ping them before you arrive. You will save TONS of time and save yourself some stress bythinking in advance people you want to work with
  4. 4. Get SmartBring two or three ideas (web app, mobile app and game idea)Most hackathons will also list attending people, so see what the majority of people are strong at (mobile?Gaming?)• Research the Hackathon’s sponsors, see previous winners, check out what APIs and What prizes are being offered.• Check the Judges, what do they do, what do they invest, watch video of their presos and conferences• Sponsors are important – Does your idea involve them in any way, shape or form?
  5. 5. Get Ready! Gear Hardware Dev Kit Food Giveaways• Your survival Kit should include – Sleeping bag, a change of clothes, comb, mouthwash and eye drops• Your Tech Kit – Laptop, extra battery, extra power strips, extra phone chargers, external monitor, keyboard mouse, projector, extra laptop, devices you need to develop• Software – GitHub account, Amazon Services, Graphic Widgets, Wireframes, Photoshop, Hosting, subdomains, APIs you need that are not provided• Giveaways – if you have an idea and a domain ready, give stickers, pens, tshirts. Share your beer!• Food – Most places will have it, so just bring snacks, red bulls, extra beer will make you everyone’s friend if you find a fridge to keep it cold
  6. 6. Get Going Fast• Pitch your idea but listen to others• Look for team members from the moment you arrive• Be in touch, get a # to text, commit early• Be flexible – OK to change from Ruby to PHP based on your team• Split the workload soon – work in parallel• Establish milestone deadlines – Priorities might shift depending on team, time, etc…
  7. 7. Get Political on your API selection• Here is the secret to help you win: – Use as many APIs as you can from the sponsors – Integrate them to your app somewhere – The more, the merrier, the likelier to get selected for the next round – Add their logos to your home page somewhere – they love that
  8. 8. Get Tough• The 3 temptations:- Go outside for a drink - stay in- Go home to sleep – sleep in, or set a fixed comeback time if going home is inevitable- Obsess about the competition – Worry about your ideas Don’t do this!
  9. 9. Get Social (Part II)• Get your twitter, FB, Posterous, Tumblr, Turntable.fmgoing all night• Join the hashtags for your event• Don’t be selfish, give props, be funny• Take tons of pictures – share in facebook• Keeps you in the eyes of the judges and organizers
  10. 10. Get Slick• Don’t wait for the last minute for a deck• Rehearse your pitch and have a 5-6 page deck• Record a decent demo video – get a digital camera – add music, tell a story• Have a ‘bulletproof’ nonfunctional demo, (e.g. screenshots of pages)• Have an account with data ready – avoid ghost-town syndrome• Share your project with the Tech Blogs – A bit of luck will carry you a long way
  11. 11. If you face the Judges – Be confident• Get the basic answers – what/for who/what’s the pain?/what’s the gain?• Mention the whole vision of your solution first. Then show what you built (NOT the other way around)• Always have an idea on how to make money, doesn’t matter if its accurate, but shows value• Talk to the judges after the judging – Get more feedback, be ready for the next one
  12. 12. Good Luck!Go check - The best way to sell on Pinterest