Back in May, I posted about my Knowledge 2020 CreatorCon Hackathon entry. While I didn’t make finalist, a new blog post on the official ServiceNow developer blog has revealed that I have received an honorable mention for my entry!
I realized I never really talked about tips for anyone reading this that might want to participate in future hackathons. Seeing as I have made finalist once and honorable mention once…
- It’s okay to enter as a solo entry but life will be easier as a group. I entered both times alone and not having to spend time delegating or convening was helpful, especially for a personality like me that wants to power through, but it gets overwhelming and exhausting doing it alone.
- The submission video is almost just as or even more important than the development itself. I always tell my staff and colleagues that being able to sell the thing you made is as important as the thing you made. Good marketing can sell a bad product, if the product is good too then you’re golden.
- Creativity wins a ton of points to get to the finals. You have to impress the nerds to get to finals, whereas you have to impress corporate to win. If you don’t make finals, the silly entries and fun entries at least win a ton of street-cred with other developers. My 2018 Hacakthon entry is what catapulted me into dev infamy and got me started in being active within the ServiceNow dev community. Try something new, do it a little differently!
- Enter a category that will likely have less competition. I know it’s a little meta and gamey, but honestly there will be fifty million entries in the social good category and hardly any in others (the category I entered apparently only had two entries).
- Live stream it. A lot of what I gained from the hackathon is exposure and nerd-cred. Streaming it helps you engage with the community.
- If you have time, make it usable by the public by the deadline. It helps with word-of-mouth excitement about your entry but also shows that your entry is demonstrably working.
- Regarding the last point, I actually doubt anyone actually checks the app though, I bet most of the judging is based on your presentation video and the finalists judging (which doesn’t necessarily have to be a live demo, it could be a powerpoint or screenshots).
- Rest and take breaks
Anyways, my wife and I had a baby a week ago so there’s that!