So you decided to organize a hackathon? Shawee shows you the way and helps you through all the process! The following highlights are guidelines for an ideal event. If for any reason you can not guarantee all of them, be clear with the participants from the beginning! Sincerity and direct communication are always easier to forgive.
Date and place
Most hackathons are held on weekends to allow more people to participate and in well-prepared places with a stable internet and enough power to all computers and equipments. In another article, we list all the points of attention that you should review on technical visits, to choose the ideal location! Make sure you also check on social networks and event platforms (ex., Meetup, Sympla, Eventbrite) if the date you are planning to organize the hackathon will not conflict with some other big event.
Once you have decided on the date and place, spread the word! Begin by defining where all the information regarding to the marathon will be centralized, as the theme of the challenge, the schedule, the regulation, the registration link and what will be the awards. Create a landing page, for example, and update whenever new information comes up and, after that, create posts on social networks to promote your event! In this process, Shawee helps you create a standard landing page, with the information you register in the platform!
Once the event was released, those interested will signing up! Establish a deadline date for the period of registration and remember that at least 30% of all people registered probably will not show up. In the registration, don’t forget to ask about special needs, dietary restrictions, allergies, etc, besides all the commum information (name, email, phone, LinkedIn, etc). In addition, it is important to communicate what the selection criteria will be, whether there will be a waiting list and when the participants (selected and non-selected) will be notified.
All participants’ basic needs must be met first, in the best way possible! It is not because it is a marathon that all participants will be willing and focused all the time, so it is important to plan pleasant places for relaxing, with couches, puffs and cushions. Meals should follow a healthy and varied menu that includes people with food restrictions, allergies and vegetarian/vegan options to ensure a good marathon for all participants. Coffee and energy drinks are always a must have in any marathon, as well as pizzas – a hackathons’ classic, that should be left as a midnight snack, rather than substitute main meals.
Be Prepared for Incidents
Accidents happen all the time, in the least expected situations. Have a plan of action, from simple injuries to knowing the number of a specialized transportation to a hospital in more serious cases. Distribute or maintain first aid kits and make sure you know where are all evacuation areas in the building.
Repository for projects
Try to make a repository available to centralize all team projects, like their codes, documentos or presentations. This is important to facilitate the jury evaluation, the coding review and the journalists covering. The Shawee platform, for example, automates the submission of projects and presents the ordered links for the jury during the pitches!
The pitch time
The final presentations are the climax of the event! The most common and exciting format is the pitch: each team has 3 to 5 minutes to present their solution or demo. At first, it may seem impossible to concentrate so much information in such a short time, but this holds the attention of the public and allows only the essentials of each project to be presented. Before all the presentations, it is also necessary to align the expectations of the jury. We suggest a pre-pitch stage so that the mentors can attend the group presentations and point out small improvements. Some hackathons are focused on disruptive and conceptual ideas, while others necessarily need to present a business model. It is important that the judges receive the same alignment that was given to the participants so they can correctly evaluate the solutions!
Not every hackathon needs awards, but an attractive prize can attract more participants and encourage teams! Just make sure that all winners receive the same prize, and invest in creative ideas! For example, instead of giving cash, what about providing an experience abroad or a trip to the winners?