I Am So Loving Hackathons Right Now

Photo: Thomas Bonte

The Pollyanna could not be more excited about the startup scene! She gushes about it every week on Betabeat. Today’s installment: The amazing wonderfulness of hackathons and how flat-out awesome they are! 

I rode the Startup Bus to South By Southwest; here’s proof. One of the companies from New York won! That’s pretty exciting considering there were two buses from the Bay Area! Dave McClure was one of the final judges. I asked him, “So, is New York the new awesome, or what?” He said New York’s tech scene is great but we need to “stop smelling our own farts.” Which reminded me of the bus!

That was just a segue! My favorite thing in New York tech this week was actually not the Startup Bus, even though it was so sad when it ended. It reminded me of my last day at journalism camp. (Hey Startup Bus–Miss you guys already! Seriously, huuugs!Lives were changed by that bus. Even our bus driver got startup fever! I talked to him after we got to Austin and he said he was going to take a computer class and who knows, maybe launch a company. Do it!

My favorite thing this week is related to the Startup Bus. It’s hackathons! New York has had some rocking hackathons recently, even though some people complained that other people cheated by presenting pre-built apps. These events are a major boon to the scene and a great way to introduce out-of-town hackers to New York pizza. I especially like how there are no discouraging questions about user growth or how to make money. Those questions are very boring to me. At hackathon demos, I just get to see a barrage of things that didn’t exist before. Apparently you can give dudes and maybe a couple ladies some computers and they come up with things like Automatic DJ, which uses facial recognition to adjust a playlist based on who is in the room. Isn’t that magical? Ben Gleitzman is a magician!

Anyway, New York’s tech scene has a lot of highly-visible people who can really develop the shit out of some business, or market a thing, or put some really sick rounded corners on a website, and those people throw parties for themselves all the time. It’s cool to get some exposure for the developer community too. There was an article on New York’s Music Hack Day in Billboard. How sweet is that? That’s not a tech blog! It’s a magazine!

You know what else? Foursquare had their own hackathon right before SXSW, which was really smart. Suddenly there were eight million new Foursquare apps, like 4square and 7 Years Ago, and that means more people using Foursquare. They slayed at SXSW. I love Foursquare, by the way! Yesterday I got the Animal House badge!

I Am So Loving Hackathons Right Now