Hackathons Should Not Be About Business

I’m a bit of a hackathon enthusiast. (sometimes it’s my answer to ‘what do you like to do for fun’! ) Over the past nine or so months that I’ve been hacking, I feel like there’s a shift in what it means to have a hackathon. I’m currently participating in AngelHack 2013, and there are more business people here than designers! I think those tickets sold out first.

Aa hackathon should be first and foremost about the hack, and the passion inspired to build the hack. Here at AngelHack, I feel like this is nothing more than petri dish where babies get made. Startup breeding grounds where the best get chosen to lay an egg. It just seems wrong to precede an entire hackathon on the premise that there is money on the line. And looking on with dollar signs in their eyes as they bring this pool of talent together to ‘make a great discovery’.

With heavy judging where your pitch is most important, it also seems wrong that the winner is not necessarily one with the best built app or hack. It’s encouraging teams to produce products that appeal to the judges, not necessarily what they feel passionate about and want to work on.

Hackathons should not be about collecting API prizes, or having the best pitch. They should be about creating the groundwork for great products that solve real needs by passionate creators and entrepreneurs.

Back to all the things!