Hakathon (written by Jason Huang from ShopNow)

South Africa Summer 2013 Blog

Written by: Elli Suzuki

July 8, 2013

My first hackathon was a fun and memorable experience, though I wouldn't say I'm keen for another one any time soon (or ever). It was one of those experiences where it was hell going through it, but not so hell-ish looking back. I exaggerate of course, with the choice of 'hell' as the main adjective. I just really don't like losing too much sleep. I had a pretty good idea what the hackathon involved so what transpired wasn't exactly a shock to me. I was prepared to program, eat, bang my head, program, bang my head some more, nap, program and eat. As it turns out, that was a pretty good summary of events with much more eating.

The ShopNow team set out with the apparently unrealistic goal of having an end-to-end functioning prototype. I'd like to say we did a reasonable job of trying to live up to those expectations - big thank you to the team for all the hard work.  We achieved our first goal of obtaining end-to-end communication. Thereafter, we split up to build the front-end and the back-end separately. The result was an end-to-end product with unfinished ends (missing some functionality on both sides), which is a pretty good result. On behalf of the team, I'd like to thank the mentors who helped make this possible with our lack of back-end services knowledge and our inexperience in Android development.

Aside from the programming, eating was a pretty big theme for the night and sleeping wasn't. With four pizza deliveries from Debonairs and a bunny chow delivery (thanks Dips for introducing the concept of variety), I can safely say I've had enough pizza for the year. By the third meal of pizza (Sunday morning), I could barely bring myself to eat another slice. On top of that, we had a couple of birthdays and lots of birthday cakes. It was quite a struggle to be productive with lack of sleep and postprandial hyperglycemia.

Overall, I'd say the hackathon was a success for team ShopNow (and hopefully for the other teams) in both product development and gaining weight. I'd like to thank everyone who made this hackathon possible. Much love!