Hackathons are hectic. They’re frenzied, sleep-depriving, and above all, fun. It’s easy to forget, when consumed by the mayhem of the event, just how much it takes to make a hackathon run smoothly. This series will delve into the inner workings of Hack Cambridge, a 24-hour hackathon in which students from all over the world will collaborate to innovate, break, and create.
In the final part of this series, we grilled our purchasing manager,
Boyko Vodenicharski, about the part he plays in Hack Cambridge, what he does in his free time, and his workout routine.
How did you get involved with Hack Cambridge?
“I first got involved as a volunteer in early 2017, this was the time of Hack Cambridge Recurse, and my roommate was part of the committee. If you were to enter our room at the time, you would immediately notice piles of boxes, filled with hundreds of branded pens, roll-up banners, Google sunglasses etc… I used to put GitHub stickers everywhere, just because they look so cool.
Anyway, my friend was working extremely hard in the week running up to the event, and I really felt like I should help out. That’s how I signed up as a volunteer at the last possible moment. I was signed up for around four hours over the two days, but I ended up staying there the entire weekend! You can always find stuff to do at Hack Cambridge, and the atmosphere is amazing. I met a lot of talented people, and from then it was clear I had to take a more active role in Hack Cambridge 2018.”
What is your role on the committee?
“On paper, my role is ‘Purchasing Manager’. In reality, I’ve done very little purchasing and instead tend to focus on accounting, taxes, signing stuff, annoying people, and feeling important about it. I also sometimes pick up mail!”
What are the key parts of your role?
“I deal with all sorts of financial matters, so there are lots of interesting and sometimes stressful parts of my role. Overall, I research the costs of the event, set an initial budget, work out a minimum income target, and then revise it in light of new information. I’ve had to do a lot of research about the business aspects of our activity — who are we as an entity, what taxes could we potentially be liable for, who is responsible for the quality of our services, and so on. When I spot something that could potentially help us make a saving, or structure our activities better, I add it to the agenda and try to implement it with the help of the team.”
What are the most difficult aspects of your role?
“The workload for my role tends to be spread out. In fact, I started working on Hack Cambridge in June of 2017, which means I have been at it for eight months! There is constant activity in organising the event, and finance is more or less always on the table. The most difficult aspect of my role is probably having to keep myself updated about what is going on organisationally, especially during term time when I have a hundred other things to consider. Having put together the budget for the event, I have to be on constant lookout for updates that can affect us financially or legally.”
What big decisions have you had to make during your role?
“So far, I have been involved in making us a VAT-registered business and filing an application for charitable status. There are probably others too, but these are the biggest ones. I hesitate to say they were my decisions, because it was never down to me alone to make them. The team has always been there to support or challenge an idea.”
What other projects or societies are you involved in?
“I used to row, back when I was a young and energetic fresher, but I gave up on that. Now I take pride in organising the occasional event for my friends at the Bulgarian society.”
What do you do when not at your keyboard?
“Chest, arms, back, but I do tend to skip leg day… I sometimes enjoy a game of FIFA.”