1st Hackathon — Great Success

This was an absolutely crazy weekend.  Not only did I participate in my first Spartan Race, but I also participated in my first hackathon – sponsored by The Iron Yard Academy and SolTech.

Now if you don’t know what a hackathon is, don’t worry, I’m only about a week ahead of you, for I didn’t know what it was either until it was announced.  Basically, the Atlanta based tech company, SolTech, had some of their movers and shakers come in and pitch 3 different application ideas to our cohort.  We split up the Iron Yard students into 6 different groups, 2 per project idea.  My group had the privilege of creating a sports management app for managing recreational sports leagues – we called it Genius Sports.



Genius Sports, the smartest way to manage your recreational sports team, was a blast to produce.  Our group, consisting of 2 front end developers, 3 back end developers, and 2 iOS developers were able to create a nice looking, basic functioning prototype in 36 hours.  We had great communication throughout the project and our back end server guys were particularly solid.  They had our endpoints and documentation produced in no time and were forging on, creating functionalities that we knew we weren’t going to be able to get to in the short time given, a nice problem to have.  It was a great project to be a part of and I made some great strides working with Angular.js.

Presentation Day:

In real world fashion, each of the projects were presented as if we were asking for funding from investors.  It felt like our very own Shark Tank.  This is where I really shine, giving presentations is in my DNA.  My mother is a 5th grade teacher, my father is a musician and long-time church choir member, and I’ve taught 2 years of CrossFit classes and attended 4 years of business school at Georgia Tech – giving a great presentation is my ace of spades and comes very naturally, plus I enjoy it.  So I volunteered to give our product presentation and am very glad I did.  We ended up winning the best presentation accolade and got noticed by some employers in the industry, pretty cool.  Even though we were a fictional company, I wanted to give the impression that we were the real thing and make it feel like we wanted the audience’s business.  That meant not getting too technical, not showing any code, and focusing on the consumer benefits and the why’s.  It was a fun exercise and a memorable experience overall.  All of the groups did an excellent job creating functional products in under 36 hours and major props to the Iron Yard faculty who organized it for us.




1st Hackathon this Weekend

In case I didn’t have enough planned this weekend with my 1st ever Spartan Race, it also happens to be the weekend where The Iron Yard Atlanta is hosting its first Hackathon of 2015.

What is a Hackathon?

Truth be told, I’m not entirely sure.  If I had to guess, it’s somewhere between a Halo LAN party and a ton of JavaScript and server talk.  And yes, Halo is yet another Spartan reference, 2 for 2, I’m on a freaking roll.

Ok, I’m beating around the bush… a hackathon is where a company, or multiple companies, give some participants a software project and the goal is to get it finished in a certain period of time.  For me and the rest of my classmates, we’ll have from Friday night @ 6pm to Sunday @ 3pm to give our best shot at completing a project they assign us.  At this time, I have no idea what the project topic is, who my group is, or the who the companies are – but I can assure you it’s going to be a crazy, fun, most likely sleepless weekend.

Let’s freaking do this – AROO!!!

Some Final Project Ideas

It’s 5:40 AM – I can’t sleep – and I’ve got IY Final Project Ideas flowing – here’s a list a potential candidates:

  • Hold Me (the app) – My girlfriend loves to be held and I admittedly do to.  There is something primal and nurturing about a good, strong, loving hold and it is a focus and priority in our relationship to reserve time each day to do so.  Every couple is different, but I imagine if more people knew about the secrets of a good hold, relationships around the world could be improved dramatically – and what’s not to love about that!  Not sure where this app could go but it came to mind.
every couple should enjoy a good hold
  • Morning Routine App – yes I’m on a total kick recently about a morning routine and I think an app that made a morning routine customizable and was built into your phone’s API would be pretty cool, I certainly would use it.  It could be community based where people could share their morning routines with eachother and get a sneak peek of how highly successful people operate.  Again, definitely brainstorm phase but I think it’s got some momentum and could provide some real value.

side note: I see there are some apps that do this already, however building my own could be the exercise – plus competition always improves a marketplace and empowers the consumer.

  • Countdown to 30 App – This is a play off my friend Evan’s 1K Day Change concept where he asked himself one day – “I wonder how many days until I’m 30?”  He realized, ON THAT DAY, it was exactly 1000 days away (KRAZY like GLUE riiiiight!?!)  and he has shifted his entire life towards seeking personal achievements and entrepreneurship by the time he’s 30 – an inspiring journey he is now over 100 days into.  The countdown to 30 app would be a goal management, priorities aligner, and accountability manager to those who are looking to cause huge, constructive change to their lives.  It can be applied to all facets of life career, fitness, nutrition, health, family, significant others, travel… whatever is important to you.  It could also evolve to be a Countdown to 40, 50…. 100 to account for more mature populations.
  • Intermediate Level JavaScript Practice Exercises – Seeing as I’m now just a month into learning a new language, I find myself like any other language learner – needing to stay focused on practicing the fundamentals.  I’ve heard this termed as VIRTUOSITY –   I’m no longer in the “fully green” stage of learning to code – I understand basic syntax, ground rules, concepts of OOP, and have done some pretty cool stuff already with API’s – but I feel like I need more reps in simple, intermediate JS exercises to really sharpen this new toolset… like math word problems from 5th grade – find the value of x type stuff, not just what is 2 + 2.  This is completely ambiguous at this point, however I feel most of the resources I find online are for strict beginners learning to code and teaching what is a variable, what is a string… I need that next step in the learning curve and I bet I’m not alone.  It would also be highly convenient to be able to do this practice on a mobile interface.

  •  My Event App – Are you in charge of planning a project or event?  Something simple like a child’s birthday party or simple house party?  This app could walk you through step by step if organization is not your thing and prompt you along the way.  Instead of you doing all the thinking, it has that logic built in and you just logically build your checklist step by step.  This is my least favorite idea thus far but makes a clean 5.