Believe me, they are so much fun!
How often do you get the opportunity to spend time working with 50-1000+ like-minded people on common projects for a full day or two, or even a week? At hackathons, the connections you build are really strong, regardless of whether they’re built over an early breakfast after a night of work, over a leisurely lunch, or over dinner when winners are celebrated. Some of the most meaningful discussions I’ve ever had happened during hackathons.
FINDING YOUR NEXT CO-FOUNDER
It’s okay to come to a hackathon without a team and it’s okay to come without even having an idea. You will find everything there! Even if you think you already have it all, you can still get great members and ideas from other places. It rarely goes as planned – you may come up with a completely new idea or decide to join a different project just by listening to someone pitch a proposal or joining a discussion over pizza and beer.
Having said that, you will go through a lot of storms in a very short time. You will probably change your mind several times and some team members will drop out. The beauty of a hackathon is that you can let them go: you haven’t had time to invest resources in a certain idea or team yet, but the people who stay and the ideas that remain will turn out to be the right ones.
NAILING THE MVP
Hackathons have strict time limits and really make you decide on the MVP you intend to present. It is usually impossible to have everything ready by the end of the event, so it is important to know the main features of your trick and how to capture the attention of the audience.
Hackathons are like marathons, hence the name. During a hackathon, just like a marathon, you constantly prove to yourself, “I can do this!” You work all night or even two nights in a row with little or no sleep. You get a second wind during the final launch and at the end of a hackathon, when you receive your prize, you feel exhausted but really satisfied, like a true marathon winner.
DISCOVERING YOUR HIDDEN ABILITIES
There are different roles in hackathons, so it’s good to know if you want to participate as a developer, ideator, or designer. However, you might end up doing something different than what you had initially planned. In the end, it really helps you become aware of how you work in different areas and discover a new hobby or area of focus for yourself.
GETTING YOUR HANDS ON NEW TECHNOLOGY
This is my personal favorite – you often get the exclusive opportunity to explore new innovations and try out technologies that are not yet publicly accessible. Plus, you can play games with them, hack for them, and provide helpful feedback directly to the companies in charge. You might even get access to cool APIs, tools, and resources that make turning your ideas into reality much easier.
BEING ABLE TO REALIZE YOUR CRAZIEST IDEAS
Speaking of ideas, you really can do anything! You’re creating a hack, not starting a company (although hacks could become products one day), so you’re free to choose what interests you and your team the most and go for it! Nobody will judge you. I’ve seen tricks that let you create music by juggling balls, choose whether you prefer puppies or kittens, or analyze your personality and predict your buying habits by recording your speech. The sky is the limit
LEARNING – A LOT
There aren’t many places where you can learn something new for free in just a day or two with the help of some amazing mentors and peers. Fortunately, hackathons are made for this. He also learns from other hackers when they try to solve a common problem together and when they are challenged to do something they have never done before, like give a speech for example.
Once you’ve been to a hackathon, it’s hard to stop!