Several of our team recently traveled to the beautiful tech mecca of San Francisco where we met up with our SF team. While we enjoyed the break from the winter weather Mother Nature’s been serving up on the East coast, we went there with a mission in mind. To bring our A-game to the Launch Hackathon. And maybe to drink a few beers together, but that would come later.
The first thing I learned is that ideas and innovation are practically infinite and there are some awesome people out there bringing them to life. The 500 or so intently focused coders set-up their workstations in the hacker space the Launch! organizers created at the Fort Mason Center. I was amazed to observe this microcosm technology industry humming like a beehive, representing the insanely innovative thinking and building that goes on everyday around the globe. These are the minds that make human lives better, easier, connected and more fun. The air fairly crackled with the sense of excitement as the teams of four prepared to tie-in and produce a working product in a mere 48 hours.
This Hackathon was a little different than others, in that, there were no business and product marketing people allowed. Only developers and designers. As one of these eschewed types, I was free to roam about the place, peer over shoulders and observe the whole scene. The second thing I learned is that coders absolutely do know how to build solid products and that we marketing people may be superfluous to the process. Humbling.
Some of you may not know this, but developers can be really, really competitive; this is the third thing I learned. Teams clustered head-to-head over wireframes (the only thing teams were allowed to prepare ahead of time) as they quickly mapped out their strategies for the build. Designers were building mock-ups and logos, branding on the fly and pushing out graphic assets at breakneck speed. Backend and frontend coders worked seamlessly to bring the designs and functionality together in exemplary user interfaces and user experiences.
While not every team had a winning idea, every team worked hard. Every team had talented minds that came together to build something amazing. Coshx Labs’ two teams built two ideas which we gleaned from the AppOutLoud competition idea board. Cannadoc and Hungerr emerged as the two most popular and true to our word, they were our teams’ focus. And we delivered on both of them. So, another thing I learned is that the Coshx Team excels at working together to create really killer stuff. This observation was confirmed when Hungerr was selected among the top-15 best submissions and won a design award, to boot.
After 48 hours of staying focused and rooted to their monitors and chairs the announcement was a welcome release and cause for celebration. So, another fact; a good hackathon is a thing to celebrate. Regardless of their tiredness and need to simply sleep, the call to tip a glass to the team and give a shout out to the coding Gods (whomever they may be) keeps these rockstar devs awake a little longer to savor the victory. I mean, damn, they built two working products in 48 hours without falling face down in their soup in the process.
The adrenaline of competing wears off and eventually sleep calls. But the experience of being together and banging out code, making decisions on the fly, relying on years of technical expertise to carry the day without time for too much talking - that’s what pulls a team together. We are more sure than ever that we have one of the best teams around solving tough problems and having a great time doing it.