Planning, Startups, Stories


Tim Berry on business planning, starting and growing your business, and having a life in the meantime.

Hackathon Weekend Magic 0

Have you been to a hackathon? Do you know what that is? People get together to play with programming and in a single weekend create something real. It’s an amazing phenomenon.

MIT hackathon hackmit.orgTomorrow and Sunday an MIT group is sponsoring one of these (Hack MIT) that’s open to college students from anywhere. And free. Most work in groups of no more than four, some do it alone. They start Saturday morning, work through Saturday night if they want (many do), and by Sunday evening they have something real. It’s an amazing celebration of the magic that is programming.

What do they do? What do they make? The organizers say:

Anything goes! Web, desktop, mobile, and hardware projects are all welcome. (All hacks should be computer-related, though.) Projects will be judged based on creativity, technical difficulty, polish, and usefulness.

I was lucky enough to see the finals of one on these in New York a couple of years ago (HackNY.org). What a kick! They had real stuff to show, as in mobile apps in that case, done in a single weekend, but done well. The prize ceremony was great entertainment.

I love the name “hackathon” as a reminder that “hacking” when I first heard the term was a good thing, that meant making things and solving problems on computers. This is a reminder, what a kick it is to build something that actually is something, and in a single weekend.

As Arthur C. Clarke said:

Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

Have a great weekend.