Tips for Planning and Hosting a Hackathon

The word “Hackathon” comes from combining the words ‘Hack’ and ‘Marathon’, and implies a long sprint to create something useful in a single event. Have you ever thought about organizing and running your own hackathon? There’s a number of considerations. This contribution shares a few things to ponder.

Yes indeed, with the plethora of opendata being made available to the masses there’s no better way to get started than to hack. You know, a group of geeks gets together over pizza, beer and redbull, downloads a ton of data, cracks open their favorite SDKs, APIs and developer tools and hopefully finishes the day with an app or at least the start of a fun project to continue on with.

And so, as you think about planning a hackathon, the following are 10 considerations to keep in mind:

  1. What’s the purpose? Before you gather you should decide what the purpose of the event is. Are you meeting up simply to foster some community building or is the purpose to hopefully launch a couple of cool apps at the end of the day?
  2. Picking a Date – Always a challenge for event planners, hackathons are often held on the week-end, preferably Saturday so as to not interrupt people’s work week. Try picking a date where there’s no other big local events taking place and always shy away from holiday week-ends. Summer is busy and not really the best choice either so try and stick to the dark part of the year when folks are looking for fun things to do. Be sure to announce the date well in advance and keep hyping it
  3. Find a venue that works – I often see hackathons planned in spots like restaurants and bars, however, in my mind these are simply too distracting and not very suitable. Ideally, an office space donated by a local startup will serve you best. Find an environment conducive to productivity and innovation. An office will likely also have all the required components like Internet, desks, chairs, coffee and a beer fridge! Offices may be tough to access on week-ends so figure out this logistical problem well ahead of time.

Continue Reading HERE (Source: GEO Jobe)