Hackathons have evolved from mere coding events into becoming an avenue for real tech products and business ideas to take shape and translate into billion-dollar corporations. Today, organizing a hackathon is a challenging process and requires careful planning, networking, management, and coming up with effective hackathon ideas.
Here’s a list of 7 things to keep in mind that can help you make it a successful one.
1.Prepare well and ahead of time
Start preparing at least two to three months in advance. Book your venue and begin promoting the hackathon on social media and tech forums to create some buzz and excitement. Plan your logistics to the T and finalize all the technical infrastructure at the venue.
Find sponsors that will help you promote your event. Since the event is designed for your attendees, it’s wise to get information about their skills to plan pre-event meetups with them. This way your attendees will get acquainted with each other and find it easier to set their goals for the event.
2. Pick the Right Venue
Picking the right venue is the job half done. A fully equipped venue means you don’t have to worry about power outlets, high-speed Wi-Fi, stable electricity, air-conditioning, seating, and other essential facilities. The right venue will relieve you of the painstaking task of organizing resources for logistics and other facilities. For instance, ChicagoHacks.TECH is held at an event friendly location – the Civic Opera House in Chicago, Illinois.
3. Pick a Theme
You can categorize hackathons to follow a theme such as Photo Hack Day, a weekend-long coding marathon designed around building mobile photo APIs. However, if you think that choosing a specific topic will restrict your attendees’ ideas, pick an interesting theme such as IoT, health-tech, education, gaming, etc.
Image taken from ChicagoHacks.TECH
4. Secure Sponsors
Sponsors normally bring with them, strong mentors and influential evangelists. Hence, securing promising sponsors is key to a successful hackathon. Good branding opportunities and exposure to the relevant audience is what sponsors are looking for. This year, GovHack had the likes of Accenture and .TECH domains as its sponsors. AngelHackHK.TECH, ClashHacks.TECH and HackSociety.TECH are some of the many other hackathons that .TECH is proud to be associated with.
5. Choose Prizes
Exciting rewards and freebies can stir a frenzy among your attendees. Anything, from branded merchandise to drones, will work.
6. Clearly Spell the Rules
The rules should include the mission of the event, the time allotted for completing projects, tools, and resources that are allowed, and any other rules that are applicable as per your theme and goal for the event. In case there is a change in the rules, be sure to notify your attendees.
7. It’s All About the Simple Things
Your event venue must be well-stocked with water, food, energy drinks, hot beverages, and snacks. Keep extra cables and USB drives handy and ensure that there is optimum physical security. Provide a safe storage facility for attendees to keep their belongings.