Organizing TinoHacks: 300 people, 29-Hours, 42 Silicon Valley

TinoHacks 2017 Team (Top Left to Right: Justin, Davin, Kashyap, Seiji, Me; Bottom Left to Right: Shruthi, Justine, Nithya)

April 26, 2017 6:40 PM

I remember September 9, 2016, the day it all began. I met Kashyap and Justine after school and they told me about TinoHacks, Cupertino’s first full-fledged high school hackathon. I was excited and immediately offered to help them organize the event. Joining the team changed my life for the next 7 months, and I can’t thank the awesome team enough for making this event one of the best experiences for myself and other hackers alike. I’m also very happy for having the opportunity to spread an important message to all the hackers through my closing speech at the end.

As the Technology/Operations Director of TinoHacks, much of my work involved updating the website periodically, designing for outreach, contacting hundreds of potential sponsors, and gathering food donations all over a span of three months. Within 2 days of joining the team, I had a website up and published, ready to be sent out to students across the bay area. The next two months passed by quickly as we continued recruiting new members. By January, the team was finalized, and the loads of work hit us immediately.

We had great leadership thanks to Justine Qiu, the Lead Organizer and Sponsorship Director of TinoHacks, and I can’t thank her enough for the tremendous time she put into making this event a reality. Being a leader is undoubtedly one of the hardest jobs because it requires a large amounts of confidence and motivation. Starting from day 1, Justine set out to dividing up the work among all of us by making a calendar and keeping tabs on every person for the next few months. Besides leading the group, she did an amazing job of contacting hundreds of companies and organizations for corporate sponsorships and donations. But she couldn’t have done it without the help of Shruthi Jaganathan and Seiji Otsu, who also devoted an enormous amount of time tracking down contacts for sponsorships and donations and emailing and messaging a wide variety of companies. Each day was a new day filled with searching for contacts, finding their emails, drafting new emails, and replying to respondents, and so much more. Without the sponsorship team, TinoHacks couldn’t have received the immense support that we needed to make the event a reality.

But that wasn’t it! While the sponsorship team strived to fundraise for the event, the Outreach team spent much of its time contacting schools across the bay area to spread awareness about TinoHacks. With today’s social media and the internet, we initially underestimated the amount of work for Outreach and realized that widening our audience was much harder than we had anticipated. Davin Clark, the Outreach director put countless hours into emailing teachers and messaging student ambassadors while Nithya Attaluri went on an emailing spree to contact every college and career center, computer science teacher, and student body in nearby schools. Meanwhile, I had more than 30 tabs open in my browser at all times with different food locations to call for donations. We all agreed that the hardest part about the entire process was keeping track of so many contacts and conversations simultaneously. Without the Outreach team, we wouldn’t have been able to gather such a large body of aspiring developers for the event and I would like to extend a huge thanks to them for their awesome work!

Lastly, the Technology team also played a crucial role in making the event successful. As the webmaster, I took care of site updates, promotional designs, and the live website that we setup during the event. Meanwhile Kashyap Panda and Shashank Mahesh developed iOS and Android apps with live notifications for participants to use during the event. It is definitely a blessing to have these two on the team, and I can’t thank them enough for making some awesome applications that participants found very useful during the event.

To put all this together, we partnered with Hacker Fund, a nonprofit organization that helps build international mentor communities that provide resources for computer science education. Without their guidance, this event wouldn’t have been possible and we appreciate all their support for the past few months. Moreover, I would like to send out a huge shoutout to all our sponsors, community partners, food donors, chaperones and mentors, amazing judges, the High School Hacks Team, 42 Silicon Valley, and Major League Hacking for supporting this first time event and we hope to make next year even better with TinoHacks 2.0!

Organizing this event has taught me a lot about myself and the importance of teamwork. People that used to be strangers to me are now my best friends and I am really proud to say that we have created a bond that will last forever! ❤

If there’s one thing we all learned from TinoHacks, it would be planning. Planning seems very simple at first, but it is the key to making any event successful, so if you are planning on hosting your own hackathon or any other event in the future, the secret to success is simple: plan ahead and plan smart
- TinoHacks Team ❤