All together now
Note: I’ve initially written this for Porto Summer of Code back in 2016. It’s valid today as it was back then. Let’s start this Pixels Camp hackathon! 🚀
Today is the day. For the next three days you will sit together with your team(mates) and you’ll all try to create the next big thing — that big project that you’ve all wanted to develop for a while, that idea that keeps you awake at night — and day. That feeling that you’re on something great and you just need to find some free time during your busy schedule to implement it.
This is it.
If you’re reading this and suddenly realise that you still haven’t found that great idea, that everyone else is up to something but you. Don’t worry, you still have time — and one of the best and funniest parts of an hackathon is the brainstorming sessions.
This is it.
Now that you’ve got the idea — it’s time to built it. You’ll face numerous challenges since you write your first line of code until you ship it (or someone tells you that the hackathon has ended — usually this is what happens) — and for that you have an amazing group of mentors that can help through the entire process. Take (real) advantage of them — they’re just an older version of you that, deeply, what they really want is to be in your place and have the time and energy to follow the same idea.
This is it.
Three paragraphs so far. Are you still awake?
Through the entire event you will go through a set of stages — that… well, truly saying, they’re not all pleasant — but you will get through them — and next year again.
Every group is already doing something
You’ve just opened your computer and you look through the venue and realise that everyone has already their IDE’s open and they’re typing gibberish at full speed, designers are already doing mockups and you look at your screen and you have facebook open and you will automatically feel that you’re getting behind. Don’t worry, you still got plenty of time ahead and, most certain, everyone is feeling the same — even those guys.
It’s really important to keep in mind, that different groups work at different paces and don’t get demotivated with that. The real goal behind an hackathon is to hack; to build something that you want — that you will use. Be creative through the entire process and have fun — really, have fun.
Yes! This is a brilliant idea — we can add this and this and of course an option to share to facebook; and we cannot forget about this thing here — is unique! Lets do this — lets start!
When we have that ah ha! moment and all the pieces of the puzzle fit together. We then keep adding more and more features over the initial idea and start distributing tasks across the team. The feeling is unique: everyone is pumped up to just start coding and designing and see their idea grow — and it’s an excellent motivational boost.
I’m starting a new project lets do everything by the book. I’ve never used this framework, but it’s trending — everyone is talking about it on twitter. Don’t forget that edge case!
The urge to try and use something new is really difficult to resist. You have to keep in mind that you’re on a hackathon — you’re here to create your idea or using some of the buzzwords out there your MVP (Minimum Viable Product) and not a final product. So, use frameworks that you already know — don’t mind about all those edge cases — focus on making your project work.
Sleep is overrated. Lets pull an all nighter!
One word: focus. You want to do everything and that’s amazing, but keep in mind that you have roughly 52 hours to implement your project and although mathematically that’s more than week of work just keep in mind that you can’t just skip sleep. Trust me, it’s better to sit on a beanbag and take a power nap and then get back to work than try to go through it without sleeping — on the long run it will delay your project — and well… you become a bit annoying.
It’s done! It works — don’t write anything more. Let’s ship it!
Your team has done the impossible! You’ve all outstand yourselves. Of course, this won’t be a final product — it will have some rough edges that need to be polished — but you’ve accomplished this in just 52 hours; now imagine what you can do with a week, or even a month of work. Some hours after all this, you’ll fall asleep — exhausted — to wake up on the next day thinking:
- Next year I’ll be back again.