Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Hackathon - Fintechathon

A hackathon is a hacking marathon wherein many people are invited to attack problems around a theme.

I recently attended a hackathon over the valentines weekend.  Organised by StartupBootCamp Fintech, it was attended by about 100 people. Many ideas, many teams, some partners i.e. corporates with their own challenges.

I was initially team less, but then found some others who were in in my situation.  We formed a team,  around my favourite topic, data analytics.  We had two business development guys, Adam and Oksana, two java programmers, Nelson and Nick, and a mobile app developer Vlad.  

Hackathon teams are formed around ideas, wherein someone with an idea takes on the ownership, and the collects the team around it.  Things are focussed from moment one, and the march forward is fairly disciplined and fast, thats why the name hackathon... keep hacking, for long, long days and nights.

We, had the other way round.. all of us were teamless and therefore put together as a team. We had no idea to start with.  As a result of that, we spent better part of the friday evening and saturday zeroing on the problem to attack.  

Finally we decided to go ahead with an data analytics piece. I won't chalk out the details here, but its something that the marketing guys always love and like.  To know when their customers are off to a life event, and therefore could be offered some product.

By Sunday morning, we had lost two team members, one to a different idea and one to sleep. Vlad hadn't slept in 4 nights, so he kept sleeping much of Sunday.

As a result, we ended up a team without anyone who could do any UI design, and therefore only some backend API calls, some analytics pieces and nothing to show off.

The result was that, we couldn't show any working model in our pitch presentation and had to contend with a presentation only, which tried to describe our idea to the judges.

Of course we lost, but then it was a very nicely spent weekend, met some very nice people, made some contacts, and possibly a future for the idea.

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