I’ve attended quite a few hackathons in the past month. This happened as a combination of my personal interest, opportunities coming along my way, and immersion in the hacker culture at Facebook during my internship. Here are my views about hackathons:
- You sacrifice on sleep to create something really cool that interests you with an incredibly limited amount of time and resources.
- Along the way, you run into issues that you could not have foreseen. Sometimes this leads to a pivot or a restart to a completely different idea. Other times, you can alleviate the issue through a clever hack.
- You have to fully leverage your team and make sure every cylinder is firing.
- You have to create a product / prototype that everyone will find creative, innovative, useful, and technically challenging.
- If you’re solely in it for money / prizes, you’re unlikely to succeed or remain motivated. The whole point is to program and collaborate in a playful and exploratory manner. The biggest win is the knowledge and experience you gain coming out of the hackathon.