Index - Pre-Hackathon - Day 1- Day 2 - Day 3 - Post-Hackathon

Day 1 was a lot of fun, most of the night was split into presentations and then meeting and greeting people to learn about their skills and project ideas.

I ended up looking for people and projects that had the following criteria:

  • Nice people to work with
  • Web developers
  • Project with a contained scope
  • More details under the cut!

Let me explain…

Nice People: A first impression won’t tell you everything, of course, but it’s the only shot you have at making a decision about people to work with. Fortunately, everyone was really nice, so this wasn’t a problem. Beyond that, something more important is the demeanor of the people, do they seem like people that would have compatible working styles, people that can talk out a decision instead of try to force their view? Did they seem to take ownership of ideas (and, perhaps, even too much ownership)?

Web developers: I’m a web developer, so I need to find other people to complement my skill set. Not only that, but I want to find more people I can talk about development with and perhaps be friends with after the event ends.

Contained Scope: I don’t want to focus on winning the hackathon, but I also don’t want to work on a project that, even from the beginning, feels like it’s too big to accomplish (it’s a bit demotivating and does not help group morale).

Other notes…

The people with developer experience tended to be more conservative with their project ideas, people without developer experience (and more business-related backgrounds) tended to have ideas much grander in scale and broader in scope. This can probably be attributed to developers having a better sense of what the technology “can and cannot” do, having personally worked on it. In the context of a hackathon, I much prefer the idea from developers because it avoids the problem of scope mentioned above.

In this particular hackathon, there’s a shortage of designers, so there’s a fair enough chance that I end up getting pulled into more design related work…. (cue the “but I’m not a designer” thing here.) I might as well though, since my other usable skills are just HTML and CSS. My JavaScript and PHP aren’t developed to be usable at this point in time…. :/ I haven’t confirmed a group yet, so I’ll see where I end up tomorrow after team meetings.