A couple of weeks ago, I won a ticket to attend “Startup Weekend London” – a 54 hour ‘hackathon’ event at Google’s new Campus co-working space in Shoreditch – and won!
Our team of 4 went up against 140 other participants to conceive, plan, and create a start-up over a long weekend of designing and coding, to be pitched to and judged by a selection of top-dogs in the tech world, such as Eze Vidra of Google, Jemimah Knight of The Next Web, and Philipp Moehring of Seedcamp.
The idea we came up with was ‘pollarize.me’, a social polling tool which allows people to create questions with 2 possible answers, push the question out to all of their social networks, and gather feedback and results in one place, visually represented by a pie chart.
The simplicity of the idea, and potential for growth, monetisation, and publicity in the fight for the social opinion graph, along with the great teamwork we displayed helped us secure the win.
You can sign up for the app here, (it’s still currently in private alpha mode): www.pollarize.me
The Next Web ran an article rounding up the weekend too – check it out: http://thenextweb.com/uk/2012/03/26/the-winner-of-startup-weekend-london-is-pollarize-me/
Here’s 3 tips for taking part in a successful hackathon:
1. Market research
Your idea may sound cool, but it’s no good making a product that nobody actually wants to use. Check the market, see if there’s anything out there like it already, and if not, check if people would use yours.
2. Collaborate – but not too much
Teamwork got us through the weekend, and without it, we’d have failed miserably. But there’s a time for working together, and there’s a time for getting your head down and working on a task. Have regular standing updates every 2 hours to recap and make sure that everyone is still on track, and on the same page.
3. Ingest all the things
Sugar, coffee, food. Without those, I don’t think I’d have been able to plough through and stay awake, or stay on track. Luckily, the guys at Startup Weekend supplied us with all 3 – and even an onsite, free of charge pic’n’mix station. Good thing or bad thing?