My experiment with an online hackathon
15 days of hack all started with this one problem of participation limitation, but all these planning, team building, reaching out for partners, sponsors, connecting with the various community groups
I discovered the idea of organizing an online hackathon. So what was the problem with the physical/offline hackathon?
In a physical hackathon, we have a limited number of seats, talking about a hackathon in Kerala, generally, the attendance used to be nearby 120 plus-minus 20. So the problem is many developers don’t get the chance to attend the hackathon since it has a limited number of seats and seats are booked like first come first serve basis, so if a real enthusiast didn’t get to know about the hackathon earlier then there is a chance that he might not get the chance to attend the hackathon.
So what was my idea?
In one line I would say, let everyone participate in the hackathon, whether you are applying on the very first day after the registration opens or last moment before the registration closes. Everyone is invited to participate. Whether you are from Kochi or Delhi just sit at home and participate in the hackathon.
Designing an online hackathon.
A lot of discussions with various tech community people brought this idea of a 15-days online hackathon. The whole process was — for the first 10 days, all the participants will design and build their solution to any problem statement. For the problem statement, they can pick from our website which will be given by our Industry Partners or they can work on their idea too. Now by the end of 10 days, they have to submit there work (i.e. their code repository) along with a 3–4-minute demo(video) of their working solution. Top 15 teams will go to the next and final round and will get the chance to pitch their idea in front of the hackathon judges via Skype.
The hackathon was scheduled from 25th Feb- 11th March 2019. Jan & Feb 2019
Reaching out the world
The last 15 days were full of designing the hackathon and forming a team that can convert this idea to reality, developing a website( now live at 15daysofhack.github.io, earlier 15daysofhack.tech). Next was — looking for partners and sponsors which can give financial support to this idea and also help us to reach more developers and designers to participate. Within one and a half months, we partnered with various companies and tech communities, added our hackathon on various platforms for reaching more participants. You can check them out at our website 15daysofhack. Among these partners TinkerHub Foundation was very special for us, this community helped us financially at a moment when we were dying due to financial problem as well helped us to reach more participants, specially Mehar MP was mentoring me personally since the beginning of the hackathon planning on how to reach out sponsors and in various other aspects. You should check out TinkerHub’s website. I am also a very active member of the TinkerHub community since the fresher year of my college. March 2019
Around 70 teams(300 participants) registered for this hackathon, which we never expected that. Since it was just an experiment 300 was a very relief number for us. At the end of 10 days of 15 days of the hackathon, around 35 projects were submitted, half of the total registered teams, to review for the final round. The participants were from various parts of the country including Pune, Delhi, Kanpur, Guwahati, Kochi, Siliguri, Trivandrum, and a few more cities.
15 days of hack all started with this one problem of participation limitation, but all these planning, team building, reaching out for partners, sponsors, connecting with the various community group was a process where we learned a lot. So what we learned -We learned how to build a team? how to work together as a teammate? How to ask for help? What is the power of a tech community?
Thanks to my teammates who were with me all the time during this hackathon. Thanks, Soumen, Siddharth, Kiran, Rishabh, and Saurabh. 15 days of hack was an awesome experiment.
Thank you all for reading this.
Here are other blogs are written by our team, check them out too. https://medium.com/@15daysofhack/15-days-of-hack-one-of-the-largest-online-hackathon-of-kerala-this-hackathon-tries-to-capture-9b8fc3e30bc3
Originally published on Medium
Vishal works at FOSS United and helps NPOs/NGOs by enabling them with tech.