We love hackathons here at The Next Web. In fact, sometimes we even participate. In New York, hackathons (likely held at the wonderful General Assembly) have helped build a wonderful developer and design community, where everyone gets together, stays up all night and makes something crazy.
Sometimes a sweet app or even a killer startup can hatch out of a Hackathon, and that causes some participants to take what was meant as a light-hearted event very seriously. Don’t get me wrong, I love a the idea of starting a company out of a hackathon, but sometimes all the community needs is some good, clean, geeky fun — sans business.
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Hacker Olympics was started out of this very idea, between developers Jon Gottfried and Jarod Reyes of 48 Hour Apps. The two set out to organize an event that “removes the cloud of building a company” in favor of seeing if a ton of people can just have fun together while coding. More from Reyes:
The impetus for this event was the realization that hackathons are taking themselves way too seriously. A few successes of companies that came out of”hackathons” has lead to an overwhelming presence of business dudes with slide decks trying to get some dev hours thrown onto their crappy idea. While this may eventually lead to a few minor successes it makes for a boring-ass time for hackers.
What it isn’t: The Hacker Olympics is not your run-of-the-mill hackathon. Don’t bring your slide deck of Groupon for Cats or your app that uses social, mobile, and daily deal technology to generate wubbin’ dubstep beats.
What you’ll do: This is a non-elimination tournament where hackers from all areas of expertise and skill levels have a chance to excel in wildly diverse challenges. You will be challenged to build unconventional, often useless technologies that show off your pure hacking skills. You will be judged based on creativity, speed, and overall hacking knowledge.
How to enter: The event is for hackers only, so you’ll have to solve this pretty easy puzzle to get in.
As far as the prizes go, everything is “hush-hush.” In fact, the whole thing was designed to be mysterious, given that the actual event location isn’t even revealed until you solve the puzzle (besides the fact that it’s in NYC).
What we do know is that prizes will be awarded to individuals, teams, and for particular challenges. You can expect the challenges to be a mix of code-challenges, interdisciplinary and of course crazy and fun. If you’re a developer or a dev-in-training, this is sure to be an awesome event. It reveals a lot about how hackers look at their jobs as work and fun. Designers should collaborate like this ;).