The term “hackathon” was first used just about 20 years ago. First meetings involved aspiring enthusiasts that came together to solve particular problems. Later, companies started to organise events at their premises to boost productivity of the employees in a limited amount of time. Hackathons became part of the software community as events where people could hang out and work on various projects. Nowadays, hackathons are organised not only for coders, but also for people from other backgrounds, such as product design, economics or natural sciences, and became events where creative ideas of all kinds emerge.
When a large company organises an open hackathon, there can be several purposes: to look for people that can solve their problems, crowdsource for solutions in specific fields or to bring more attention to the company itself. The attendees can win high value prizes, get hired by the company or end up as collaborators on follow-up projects. As a result, teams which brought smart ideas to life in 24 or 48 hours brainstorming sessions started to create their own companies based on the solutions that they have developed. MoonVision is one of such companies, emerged from Smart Factory Hackathon, hosted by Audi in 2016.
While at large hackathons the pressure is extreme and the stakes are high, there is always space for smaller events where people tend to just have fun while not being super competitive. Such events bring new followers and stars to your GitHub account, and give the possibility to learn something new while having a good time with amazing people and free pizza. Sometimes, it is not even necessary to find a group of people to participate — single attendees can always become a part of another team or work on a project alone.
We love to attend hackathons as a company! The opportunities are endless:
- Creating visibility for the company on a business level
- Making other people interested in working with us
- Getting real money that can be spent on fun activities (and travelling to even more hackathons)
- Learning how to get “the winning idea”, which is an incredibly relevant skill in the startup world
- Team building and learning how to be efficient in short time and under pressure
Hackathons that members of MoonVision team have attended include: NightCrawl Big Data Hackathon, Palfinger Hackathon, Hackdays BE5, Zeiss Hackathon, and others. Some of them brought valuable prizes, others resulted in new connections, and it has always been a lot of fun.
What would we recommend? Attend hackathons, host hackathons, do it for the projects you always wanted to accomplish (or just for the pizza).
If you are already eager to search for hackathons, you can start with these webpages: