I’m not going to lie: I’ve always felt intimidated to participate in a Hackathon.
All those smart, savvy, competitive minds battling it out in a cut-throat environment to quickly code up and release a product in 12-hours? I stepped away from being a code-monkey years ago and I certainly don’t fit into a visual designer role – who had time to work with UX person in such a stressful environment? That being said, I felt a sense of admiration of my friends who had pulled of a hackathon, so when I got an heads up about Protohack from @LadiesThatUXNYC, I finally felt that this would be the perfect opportunity to bring out the inner entrepreneur and do a hackathon without the intimidation.
What is a Protohack? The only code-free hackathon for non-technical entrepreneurs. A jam-packed 12-hour hackathon … to pitch your idea in front of investors, developers, product people, and more. Walk away with a prototype, pitch, and awesome prizes to take your product to the next level all without writing a single line of code.
Getting the party started! Sort of…
I arrived at 9:30 AM, and was expecting to walk into some sort of ice-breaking event, or at least some sort of way for people to meet each other and share their ideas, but instead everyone was sitting at a table and appeared to have already made teams. Not entirely sure what to do, I grabbed an empty seat. I scanned the room and recognized one girl from a previous LadiesThatUX Meetup, and quickly made my move (I wanted to work with a team, after all!). I was able to join her team, and the day just got better from then on.
Keynote Speaker: Bradford Shellhammer
As a keynote speaker, apart making people who asked him a question yell out their “spirit animal”, he shed light on the deep struggles but also joyous moments of living the start-up life. A few of my favorite quotes include:
- I’m going to fucking fail today and I’m going to fail fabulously.
- If you do it and fail, it’s better than not doing it at all.
- You are not going to be successful unless you really believe that what you will do will change the world and it means something to you.