I recently got into hackathons and I feel like I can’t stop. Angelhack was the best excuse for me to leave Exeter for a week-end and join the people that accepted the AngelHack challenge in London. Just finished a day-long week-end, got some sleep. Must say it was the first time for me when I just wanted to work and not care about sleep at all, but I am strange that way..
Just being accepted as participant is a nice story by itself.
I met amazing people from all social circles, tech or non-tech, but all of them willing to collaborate and discuss tech.
Joining the hackathon - story
I just got home from NASA Apps Challenge determined to find a new challenge. Decided to follow the lead on the angelhack from hackaton.io but it was fully booked.
That doesn’t stop me usually so I wrote an email to the organizers.
After about 2 weeks Christina replied and asked if I would like to help as a volunteer. I was hyped at the thought so replied in no-time with an affirmative answer.
Joining a team and working on a project
After helping the ambassadors set up I was allowed to join a team, I had a hard time choosing an idea to follow as most of the “interesting kids” worked almost in closed teams.
Some were still pitching and I decided for an idea that might help me at work as well. An idea about individual service reviews, which seemed pretty random and broad at the beginning. The team made it cool somehow, not cool enough it seems as we did not grab any prize .
We shortly did a mind mapping of an MVP (the meeting was a complete disaster by the way). The team was receptive and always discussed the ideas while working on them.
“Integrity” - was picked up by a thoughtful Daniel, a name which should have made reviews seem less mundane.
I was fascinated by my plan of back-end work, got to work with (react, redux) package for the first time.
Doing development on that once you get the architecture is so pleasant, the unit-tests ran just after saving, code review by the linters, browsersync live reloading… plenty of reasons not to sleep. I had to do the project all by myself in the end, but the front-end part with react and material ui was the easiest piece I have had done since I started programming (ever) and it was the best code I felt I ever wrote as well.
Other Teams and interaction
Heaven On Demand Api was the best bit of discovery I have done this week-end. They just have so many cool things you can use, provided you need any sort of analysis on your data.
Most of the teams concentrated on using the Apis and some ideas made me feel so small at times. I love that feeling, it’s a sign that you are in the right place and you need to step up your game, no matter what your game is.
Most of the teams that coded worked overnight which was really encouraging.
The Heidi team (they won the HPE prize) was composed of 2 enthusiastic programmers from Switzerland, they looked particular busy while having fun at the same time.
“Awesome Speech Analytics Dashboard” was another pair challenger, a nice young couple whom used d3.js and the heaven api for a speech recognition app.
There was such a high amount of ideas being worked on.. I certainly see that as one of the part-bad pieces and would love to see people willing to merge teams in the future hackathons.
The tech stack each one used was around nodejs which made it easier for the teams that actually used node to interact overnight.
I certainly missed some of the people there, but the main reason was that there were too many for just one week-end and I am still just one.
Final Day and AfterParty
I didn’t win any prize, but I felt like a winner nevertheless. Just making it alive through the night with a working, presentable project filled my energy levels.
I was fortunate enough to join the ambassadors (great bunch of young guys) , the winning team and the judges for a drink after the event. Being the first time with them and having no sleep I must have been particularly quiet, but I enjoyed the company and the vibe of their thinking on startups, people and tech.