Saving Hackathons


In Startup Land,
Hackathons are the new hotness.

The # of events
is on the rise.

Prizes are getting


More people
are showing up.

These kids are awesome.

Evangelists .

(Need I say more?)



are taking notice

We all hackathons.

Startups hackathons

  • Brand Exposure
  • Access to Talent
  • Customer Signups
  • API Testers
  • Internal Innovation

Hackers hackathons

  • Networking
  • Show Off & Fame
  • Win Prizes
  • Learning
  • Fun.

But I want to pose a


Now that we have all this
money & interest ,

are Hackathons getting any better?

There is a
growing consensus
that hackathons
are going
downhill .


"We aren't reaching hackers
the way we used to."


"We aren't seeing the same returns."


"I'm burned out on hackathons."

If we don't do something now, hackers are going to
stop coming.

We need to start
thinking like hackers .

They code from 9 to 5

Monday through Friday.

Why would they want to code on their weekend too?

Hackers are Artists

(This is my big, bold thesis)

And it is on this capacity of man to receive another man's expression of feeling, and to experience those feelings himself, that the activity of art is based.

- Leo Tolstoy

Great hacks
make us feel what
the hacker felt.

Art Business

when it comes to motivation

So, how do we fix
the problem?

@Evangelists ,

Your job is not just to demo the API,
it's also to inspire the hackers.

@Startups ,

Ask not what the hackers can do for you,
but what you can do for the hackers.

@Organizers ,

Make sure you're throwing hackathons
for the right reasons.

Celebrate innovation and community.

Are hackers to blame too?

Fun cannot be forced. People work better when they’re having fun. So, this means that you have to let them work on things they care about, help them find good things to work on, and mostly stay out of their way.

- @isaacs

They call me Swift.
I'm @SwiftAlphaOne on Twitter.

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