Hackweekend – Here’s What Help Us Focus

by Brian Ritchie


Last Updated: Mar 17, 2012 11:10
445 words · 3 minutes read

In my previous posts –  Part 1 and Part 2  of how we started and built a hackathon from ground up, I began breaking down the DNA of Hackweekend. Here is the next post of the series.

Our next challenge proved to be interesting. Gathering amazing talent under one roof means that everyone is driven by their own agenda. Now while this is great from a creativity standpoint, having people work on their own agendas doesn’t always deliver simply because everyone is driven by different motivations and scope and move at a different pace on their own ideas. This was also one of the reasons why a lot of the previous hackathons did not deliver in the first place. They were either, too wide or too niched.

The problem we had to solve was, how do we get all these developers to code on something we thought was cool and deserved some attention. The solution was not as simple as we thought. We needed a focus area that was not too broad but at the same time not too niche that people didn’t know or did not want to hack on it. We also needed something that was a current hot topic in the Technology world that everyone was eager to tackle.

The other challenge is, rockstar developers don’t like to be told what to do.

Hackweekend - Gamification

Hackweekend - Gamification

They like to be challenged and they like showing that they can live up to a challenge and own it with their skills. Its a bragging rights kinda thing. Something that people can look back proudly and say, “Yeah, I did that”. The way we decided to solve this was to embed as part of the message from the beginning and Voila ! Problem solved.

What we realize time and time again is, people love getting a heads up. People like it when the message and goal is clear from the beginning, even before they commit. This meant that, if you were in, you were in for the right reasons. There is no two ways about it. There is no ambiguity.

Through a series of discussions and elimination sessions, we came up with the topic of “Gamification”. Simply put, gamification is the process of introducing game-like elements to everyday things that we do like going to the dentist or planning a budget. It relies on a series of quests and achievements that you need to earn after perfoming a set of tasks.

Hence, Hackweekend : Gamification was born. A hackathon with a focus, a goal and a clear message. You are here to hack and you’ll be hacking on the gamification of the world around you.