This past weekend I participated in my first hackathon. And, it turned out to be an awesome experience and I’m so glad I went.

I went into it with a lot of hesitations. A friend and I wanted to get started on an idea we had. But, we (or mainly me) were a bit worried about putting the idea out there, in case others may take it and run with it, since we’re also interested in pursuing it as a possible business (more about that in a future post). We wanted to go climbing – and friends were heading out at 1, so if we left early enough we could join them. We both have lots of research related work that needs to get done. And so, we debated back and forth whether it was or wasn’t a good idea to go. And in the end, we went with the plan we’d stick around for the morning, work on a business document we needed to get done, and then eat the provided lunch before probably disappearing.

Instead, we stuck around all day on Saturday, and all day Sunday, putting in what were probably more productive days then we ever manage to have during the week. But, that’s what progress and excitement and having fun does (and my research doesn’t seem to provide much of any of those lately). And in the end, we walked out with a demo that would’ve taken the two of us at least ten times longer to put together on our own. our idea involves building a web application, something neither of us have worked on much since the days of simple html. And so we dived into javascript and css for the front end and python and api’s like Flask and SQLAlchemy. Lots of new concepts (for us) were floating around as we desperately tried to hold on to as much as possible.

We worked with two really great guys who were super patient and willing to teach us all of this. And, not only that, but totally willing to devote their free time to helping us instead of working on their own projects. And while these two will likely be great contacts as we move forwards with our big plans, we also met lots of others at the event to keep in touch with. People who we’re interested in following to see how well their own ideas come together. A lot of cool ideas came together in what was really not much time at all.

I will definitely consider doing another hackathon again in the future. The only downside to the event, was that I felt very mentally drained at the end of each day. And so it’s going to be a bit of a struggle getting to work today, as I feel like I really need a weekend.


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