Questions I had before TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon New York 2016

I recently attended TechCrunch Disrupt 2016. Overall, great experience. Something I began wondering the night before was if I could prepare at all and how?

So I started looking for posts, and there weren’t all that many. I thought this could be helpful to people hacking @ TechCrunch in the future.

How many hours does my team have to Hack ?

12:30 pm Sat. — Doors Open. 
12:30 pm — 2:00 pm Sat : Browsing sponsor tables, getting a team together and synthesizing a project concept/MVP.
2:00 pm Sat — 9:00 am Sun : HACKING
9:00 am Sun — 10:00 am Sun : Code Freeze & deployment
10:00 am Sun — 11:00 am Sun : Pitch prep
11:00 am Sun — 2:00 pm Sun : Presentations

So, realistically about 19–20 hours, if you don’t sleep.

Should I have a team before I go or should I make one/join one once I am there ?

I think you should definitely do some reaching out to people before you show up to TechCrunch. I don’t think it’s necessary to have set plans/teams beforehand, but some outreach came in handy for me. I wound up running into a few friends within the first 30 mins and we formed a team. It is a very big event, and there is not a whole lot of time to shop your ideas/skills around. Limit yourself and try to have a group set up within the first 1.5 hours.

Are there evangelist reps who can answer technical questions about their API’s?

To be honest.. no not really. I found that the reps are pretty enthusiastic to give you a trendy sales pitch but way less available for technical questions. I guess that’s to be expected. For example, I used Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s API because I was interested in an Education Hack, but also because I saw they had a table full of techs to help out. Later that night, when I had a question, I noticed they were working out a lot of kinks, and were probably benefiting more from our questions/feedback than our project was from the technology they provided. Next year, I plan to use a more well known product with better documentation like Watson or Alexa.

Is there anywhere to sleep? Do most teams work through the night or break to rest ?

If you slept at all, It was in your car out in the parking lot, or on the floor beside your teams table in the main room. TechCrunch 2016 was hosted at the Brooklyn Cruise Terminal In RedHook. It is super difficult to get there without driving or taking a cab. For most people/teams, It didn’t pay to leave late at night and return in the morning. Staff was really good about rolling out dinner/pizza/snacks/drinks/coffee. There’s enough stuff there to keep you up through the night.

How much time does my team get to present ?

1 min. This was the most surprising to me. It’s an elevator pitch basically. Select one member of your team to do it. And be prepared for close to 100 other presentations. It will start around 10:00 am Sun and last until about 2–2:30 pm.