Written by: Elli Suzuki
July 17, 2013
“I am not attending another hackathon in the next six months,” I said to myself after the long overnight hackathon that started the morning of 6 July and ended late the following day.
Either I was completely crazy (there’s a possibility I might have been high on the pizza and cake we had eaten during that hackathon) or that was the quickest six months of my life because I found myself agreeing to attend another hackathon the following weekend. This hackathon was being hosted by Seed Engine and the groups from the AITI class were invited. I honestly did not want to go initially but after hearing of the R5000 prize money, I thought of the pizza we could buy as a group and decided to go. Just to make things clear, our group, KYAAMI, was not motivated by money. We were motivated by the idea of the project. It was just a coincidence that there was a R5000 prize to be offered when we were planning to buy pizza that weekend.
Two members of our group arrived early on Saturday morning and began to research on the work that had to be done. They got a lot of entrepreneurial and technical help from the mentors present and got an idea on how to go forward with the project. The other two group members, me included, came late on Saturday due to other commitments and the last group member unfortunately could not make it. Mustafa kindly accommodated us for the night at his place where he had an enjoyable social evening with other groups. I just honestly went there hoping that there would be pizza. The social evening was a bonus, a bonus that I really enjoyed. There was no pizza but the food offered was great nonetheless.
We went to Seed Engine the following morning to resume the hackathon session. Not too much progress was spent coding unfortunately. This was due to some difficulties in the technical department that I will not bore you with. The competition (yes the one with the R5000 for pizza) started at 5pm. From a group level, we believed that our pitch was exceptional. We also did a demo of our product. The judges liked the group’s idea but thought that our revenue model could have been better. The prize money was awarded to the winning group, some group from Seed Engine (yes, we also believe this competition was rigged). On a serious note, well done to the winning group. We learnt a lot from other groups’ pitches and the judges’ feedback as well. It was also inspiring to see other groups from the AITI class present. A big well done to your efforts during the hackathon as well.
Hackathons can be painful but the output is worth it. I personally believe you achieve a lot during these sessions and encourage other groups to attend hackathon sessions, or at least dedicate a day, for their product development. You cover quite a lot of ground. You might not always get the R5000 for pizza, but at least you’ll have a working demo.