Summit Teaser – Lessons from the Hackathon
- 2014 Developer Summit
The AT&T Developer Program hosts over 20 mobile app hackathons a year. At a hackathon, attendees must form teams, brainstorm, design, code, and present their mobile application, ALL WITHIN 24 HOURS. What can we learn from these events that helps professional software developers in their day to day? As it turns out, a lot!
At the AT&T Developer Summit on January 6th 2014, our session on Lessons from the Hackathon: Rapid Prototyping for Mobile Apps covers advice from our hackathon attendee survey, and includes a live panel of hackathon veterans who share their joy and pain of these intense events. What are you likely to hear about?
We won’t be spilling the beans here (ok, just a few), but here are the topics that come up frequently. We are not focusing on how to win a coding competition, but rather how to move quickly on an idea.
No Barriers to Communication. There is no substitute for immediate collaboration. No emails, texting, telepresence, or phone calls between the team members. It’s in person, all around one desk or area, for continuous and open discussion and sharing of app components.
Make a Beeline for the MVP. The Minimum Viable Product (MVP) in a hackathon is using all the components required to demonstrate your idea effectively, and nothing more. Being laser-focused is what’s needed for a strong end-to-end demo and that keeps the frill or “nice to have” features out of your objectives.
Fail Fast and Don’t Rathole. Not every path you take will work. Recognize a rathole and quickly find another approach rather than investing more time into a dead end.
The Hot Sauce. Often similar ideas appear in a hackathon. What is the secret sauce that makes your idea stand out? The same approach applies from startup to corporate presentations. Ideas that lack a grabber or edge will be lost in the mindset of your audience. Find an angle that will surprise and energize your employers and investors. Often it’s an unexpected twist – even a small one – on a common idea.
The Presentation. I, personally, have seen teams with a great app who never practiced or spent time thinking through their presentation. This is the often forgotten component of a successful 24-hour run – where the weekend’s work is lost because of a rambling and disorganized presenter that bores the judges and runs out of time before completing the presentation. Poorly prepared presentations dampen the hard work that went before it. The best teams identify the presenter early on, and structure their three minutes of demo time to make sure everything is covered.
There is more we will cover in the AT&T Developer Summit presentation, including advice from our live panel. Hope you can make it!