Four

Image credit: Musaic Team

Four "Pro-tips" for Hackathons

Outside Hacks & MUSAIC

Outside Lands music festival teamed up with CodeMarkrs to put together a music festival hackathon called Outside Hacks this past weekend. My buddies Jeff, Rob and I decided to check out.

In 24 hours we pulled together that technology to create realtime mosaic art that engages attendees and let’s artists and sponsors connect with fans directly in the festival. We called it MUSAIC. Some People seemed to like it and we were selected as one of the finalists.

This was my first time at a hackathon but between my experiences and watching others who seemed more in-tune here are some “Pro Tips” to help you have fun at hackathons.

Product: This is not you daily product development.

This is demo development. Focus on key use cases and develop it fully and spit shined with excellent hi-fidelity visuals. Don’t waste time on corner cases and commercialization issues.

Presentation: Engage your audience.

This means have a clean design, crisp UX and leveraging APIs to get rich visuals for consumer apps. Or If you’re hacking some low level robotic code have it do something that makes the audience go wow.

Personal: Manage your energy.

This is an endurance event. Get decent sleep the night before. Eat Like you would in a marathon - a lot, in small meals, all day long.

Caffeine is necessary and sometimes beer is good for the team morale but water and staying hydrated is your best bet.

This was not one that i had thought about but the more experienced folks came with a change of clothes. After 18 hours of work a toothbrush and fresh clothes could be the Edge that you need.

People: Pick for the complementary and overlapping skills.

Some teams had devs who were waiting for the designers a chunk of the time and designers who were bored in the second half. For us, with all three us being able to code, design and present to varying levels - We could jump between dev, design and dev-ops to make sure everything was progressing on schedule. I am definitely grateful to have such talented friends.

Anyway, We’re off to the finals today.. wish us luck!

PS - Here is a instagram video from our first live gig at the Outside Hacks Concert. WARNING: LOUD SOUND

Follow me on twitter to find out what happens with Musaic.

UPDATE - Musaic wins OSL Night Prize!!! at Outside Hacks