Alexander Guz

My first hackathon (AngelHack, Moscow)

TL;DR It is inspiring and motivating. And the butler is a killer.

Last week I received an email with an invitation to a hackathon which was going to happen on weekend. I didn’t know much about these events so far - in my head there were only scrappy pieces of information gathered from different blogs and news sites pell-mell with photos of crowds of programmers sitting in comparatively small rooms and coding, and coding, and coding… Well, of course I’d like to be there.

Though there was a small problem: only 3 days left to the event and I had neither idea nor team. The chances of wining under such circumstances are slightly less than nothing. When I say “no idea” I don’t mean I did not have ideas at lot, on the contrary I had a whole bunch of ideas which (to be honest) I would never implement by myself.

So I opened Skype and half-jokingly wrote to my friends something like “there is a hackathon this weekend. any ideas?”. Of course they had. We spent the whole evening trying to chose something we’d be able to develop and that seemed to suit the format of hackathon. But as we were babes and sucklings in this sphere and none of us could clearly define what on earth was “the format of hackathon”, we did not choose anything.

I have no idea

Nevertheless we were set to participate - if not with our project than as a part of other team. I should tell I felt myself quite uncomfortable going there without a prepared project. I thought we would look stupid among those cool guys with MacBooks discussing their great ideas while drinking coffee. I was pleasantly surprised I was wrong.

Of course there were really prepared teams with thoroughly researched ideas, but about one-third of people were just like us - no concrete plan, no team, just a desire to be a part of an event like this. And it was great! People came there to talk with others, to share there points of views, to learn things and to get inspiration. Wow! I really enjoyed to be a part of that!

What about our results? Well, we failed. No, it’s better say - we did not win, because despite the fact there was a first place price, people came not for that, they came for experience.