Side Hustles & Hackathons

Hackathons, they've been around for quite some time, but it's not just about coding, it's about problem-solving.  Now, I understand that being in a windowless hotel room for 14 hours with a group of complete strangers and surrounded by many whiteboards on the first and hottest early summer day of the year may not be everybody's favourite way to spend time, but I can't recommend it highly enough. 

Here's what I learned:

  1. work from a general set of problems to solve - but come up with specific solutions
  2. set the context with current data for teams to consider overnight (this is critical for influencing solutions)
  3. you can accomplish so much when it's the one thing you focus on all day long
  4. teamwork - even with complete strangers - is so powerful
  5. interdisciplinary team members truly are greater than the sum of their parts
  6. design sprints are a thing - we had a product mocked and designed in hours
  7. financial modelling can be done under pressure 
  8. images are everything when it comes to presentations

Our hackathon was guided by a skilled - but chill - facilitator and powered by a room full of enthusiastic and energetic strangers. As we left the hotel, the sun had dipped below the horizon, but it was an excellent day, well spent.   So if you have the occasion to do a hackathon, say YES!

Lisa Purdy