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What is a Hackathon?
A Hackathon is a time-constrained competition where the expectation is that teams go from an idea to a working application. It is an opportunity for individuals to come together and build really awesome applications, while potentially learning a particular technology.
Participants typically form groups of between 2-5 individuals, take out their laptops (if the event is technology themed), and dive into solving a problem. Learning sessions that teach people how to get started with a particular technology are a great way to ensure that the participants, especially newcomers, have a jump start to developing their applications.
Why you should conduct a Hackathon?
You should conduct a hackathon, if you want to drive innovation and in depth usage of your software and technologies in a large community of developers. Please do not consider hackathons as a means to drive registrations and simple awareness for your technology/software. There are simpler ways to drive awareness and registrations namely Meetups and/or Workshops.
The main objectives of organizing a hackathon is to engage with the developer community. We want to drive developers to use our runtimes and APIs, to network, meet new people, learn, compete, make money, have fun, show off skills, test ideas and launch products (if possible).
Types of Hackathons
Sponsorship or being part of someone else’s event
Many 3rd party hackathons are weekend events (so as not to interfere with work). Partnering with a technical conference in your area is a great way to market a hackathon and maximize the pool of developers to recruit from. There is usually a “Sponsorship fee” and the Owner handles many of the logistics (location, physical infrastructure, security, food, registration, promotion, submissions, etc.).
Planning your own – Includes everything from a sponsored event, plus you are now responsible for the overarching themes, location, physical infrastructure, security, food, registration, promotion, submissions, etc.
Before the Hackathon (For Ownership Hackathons)
Build Project Plan for the Event
Ideally, it takes 12 weeks to plan and run a successful hackathon
Define Contest Rules & Judging Criteria
For ideas, see:
Find a venue that can provide:
Proper seating (see below)
One power strip per table
Wifi (is it fast and reliable? can it connect all of your participants? does it block any ports?)
A microphone, at least in large rooms
Accessible entrances and wheelchair-friendly seating space (and if there is a stage, check if it is accessible, if applicable)
Gender-neutral, single-occupancy, accessible bathrooms
Separate spaces for the number of teams that you expect
Provide clear prize information, including the number of prizes being awarded, the theme for each category of prizes, the prizes that are being awarded, how developers will collect their prize(s).
Optionally, Identify Sponsors
When will Hyperledger sponsor hackathons
Hyperledger does not provide financial sponsorships to hackathons, although we are happy to help hackathons in other ways, including support with promotions, swag, judges and mentors.
Hyperledger is particularly interested in supporting hackathons that align with our goals with increasing gender and geographic diversity in the Hyperledger community and for bringing Hyperledger technology to students.
If you would like to talk to us about how we can help with your hackathon, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How to find other sponsors
If you need support in finding other sponsors for your event, you are welcome to reach out to us at email@example.com, and we can help connect you to Hyperledger member organizations who may be aligned with the goals of your event and may want to provide sponsorship.
Determine who will judge submissions
Determine people who can answer technical questions about the tools that people will use to develop their applications/hacks. In addition, consider mentors who can provide insight on the applicability of the chosen use cases.
Here are a few ways that you can promote the event:
Social Media - Post tweets and messages on social media to promote Hyperledger hackathons (@hyperledger)
External hackathon listing sites (e.g., https://devpost.com/hackathons)
Please note that we ask you to review and follow our Brand Guidelines and Trademark Usage Guidelines when making use of the Hyperledger name or logo. And please reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com if you want to refer to your event as an official Hyperledger Hackathon.
Create Hackathon Listing
Using an external hackathon listing site, such as https://devpost.com/hackathons, you can provide information to developers on how to register, what the event is about, judging criteria, etc.
In order to help prepare participants for the event, we encourage you to share out this learning material before the event:
During the Hackathon
Provide SWAG to the Participants
Consider hackathon-branded stickers, shirts, or other SWAG for each participant. In addition, Hyperledger stickers, shirts, and other SWAG can be obtained from the Hyperledger store.
Don’t get one-size-fits-all t-shirts because people are not all alike. Read Hopper Conference Diversity Guide’s section on t-shirts.
Food and Beverages
Be sure to provide enough food and beverages. Since hackathons tend to run 24 hours, breakfast, lunch, and dinner, as well as, snacks should be provided. Caffeine is usually desired by developers. In addition, consider how best to celebrate the work that everyone has done on the final day.
Learning sessions will ensure that all participants can engage and contribute. Consider providing a learning session for the different technologies that you wish the participants to use. These learning sessions should allow people who have never used the technology to quickly understand and get started using the technology.
As mentioned earlier, the number of people on a team should be between 2-5 individuals. Some people will have come together and already be part of a team; however, there will be a number of individuals who are looking for others to join in their pursuit of learning/hacking. Provide a space for people to share/market their ideas and the people that they are looking to join their team (e.g., we need front-end developers). This should be done somewhat early on the first day.
Special Consideration: Make sure that you do not have too many teams as the judging becomes more difficult the more teams you have. You will be allowing 3-4 minutes for each team to present their applications/hacks to the judges. Have some sort of process where you gather team names/members. Encourage people with smaller teams to consider working with other teams.
Use https://devpost.com/hackathons to gather submissions
Presentations happen on the last day of the event. Each team should be given 3-4 minutes to present their applications/hacks to the judges. It is recommended that any slide deck material is limited to 2 slides (problem statement/why this is an important problem to solve and an overview of solution) and the majority of the presentation be focused on the actual working applications/hacks. Do not allow the teams to have more than the time allotted. If possible, find a way to turn off the microphone that is being used to do the presentation. Teams will attempt to get as much time as they can over and above the limit and will continue talking unless they are forced to stop.
Provide judges with the criteria that should be used to evaluate submissions.
After all of the teams have presented, provide time for the judges to deliberate amongst each other (in a separate room) to determine the winners for each of the different categories.
It is easiest to award prizes at the end of the Hackathon before people go their separate ways
After the Hackathon
Post-Event Blog Post
Information on getting involved in the community
We encourage you to follow up with attendees of your event and share information with them about how to get more involved with the Hyperledger community. In particular, we ask that you share the following links: