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Hilton Hackathon FAQs

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Answers to Frequently asked questions regarding the hackathon.

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Hilton Hackathon FAQs

  1. 1. Cornell University – Entrepreneurship at Cornell Hospitality Hackathon FAQ What is a Hackathon? A hackathon celebrates hacking in its most positive context - using minimal resources and maximum brain power to create outside-the-box solutions ("hacks") in a constrained time frame. Hack + Marathon = Hackathon. For our hackathon, students will form teams to develop business ideas and solutions related to hospitality over the course of a weekend, and compete for cash prizes. Who will participate? We will admit 125 students. Teams must have a minimum of 4 members and a maximum of 6 members. (This is strictly enforced. Prizes are based on a maximum of 6 team members.) Participating students will include Cornell students from Engineering, CiS, Hotel, Johnson, Dyson, AAP, ILR, A&S, CALs, HumEc, etc. This will ensure that teams have members with a spectrum of skills including hotel, business, design, information technology, engineering, and beyond. Do I need a team in advance to participate/sign up? No. Most students (~85%) do not have a team prior to signing up. Some students sign up with a friend(s). We will upload participants into an app 3 wks prior to the hackathon. The app allows students to post ideas, contribute feedback on ideas, and helps participants to find ideas they like and ultimately form teams. (Mentors, sponsors, partners are also on the app providing feedback & coaching). There is a segment on Friday evening when students who have an idea can ‘pitch’ their idea to the audience of participants in an effort to attract students to join their team/help to fill a skills gap they may have on their team. Do I need to have an idea to participate? No. Many students (70%) do not have an idea prior to the weekend. [See the reference to an app for early ideation in the above question]. Friday’s conference is all about education and inspiration. It is very likely that something you hear on Friday will spark an idea. It is then on you to pitch this idea on Friday evening. If on Friday evening you do not have an idea that is OK. You should be prepared to join with others who do have an idea that you like and want to work on over the weekend. What is the time commitment? Friday’s programming is 2pm – approximately 10pm. Saturday’s programming starts at 8am with Yoga, 9am breakfast, 10am is when “hacking” starts. If you have a good game plan in place, milestones and goals laid out, and a team with diverse skill sets to handle the work load, you may very well finish between 10pm/Saturday-1am on Sunday. Different skill sets are needed at different times in the process. Developers are most needed in the late afternoon through Sunday morning. The person creating the presentation and doing the pitch is needed sporadically on Saturday, and early on Sunday morning. It is most common that team members are wearing “multiple hats,” utilizing more than one core skill (research, analysis, programming, presentation, due diligence, etc…). More details on the schedule are at the Hackathon web site.
  2. 2. I don’t think I know enough, or have enough experience to be of value to a team. Everyone has value, skills, and a perspective that is valuable. As an example- the Grand Prize at the Fintech Hackathon in November was awarded to a team of 4 freshmen and 1 MBA. January’s Animal Health Hackathon had a winning team of 3 Freshmen & 1 Soph, This weekend event is meant to be an experiential learning environment that is open to everyone and meant for everyone. It is about deep diving into a subject and coming up with innovative solutions that are sustainable, viable, and impactful. Psychological safety is a very high priority. We foster an environment of respect, curiosity, collaboration, and fun. Does Cornell own the ideas generated at the hackathon? No, Cornell does not have ownership rights to ideas at the hackathon nor do sponsors. It should be stressed that the focus of the hackathon is to provide an experiential learning opportunity. Ideas generated are generally in their very early stages, for which limited, if any, intellectual property is developed. In rare occasions when an idea brought into the hackathon is more fully developed, the idea could be the property of the originator, and possibly members of the team which further significantly develop the idea. In these instances, a team would need to reach an understanding of the appropriate approach. How do I sign up? Go to the registration page at Hackathon website.

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