Attending Hackathons: Disruptive Ideas and Valuable Insights
The very same days that Sigma Software team was working to get the first prize on Volvo x Hack Sprint, our specialists also took part in another similar event - Global Hack Weekend in Kyiv. The event gathered 1,000 participants to share their innovative, bold, bright, extraordinary, and life-changing ideas. The directions embraced nine different areas from smart devices and EdTech to decentralized systems and security. Today we are going to find out what ideas Sigma Software teams presented and what valuable insights the participants received.
Three teams participated from Sigma Software and demonstrated elegant and interesting solutions that did not receive special prizes, but were warmly met by many attendees and mentors.
Anton, Senior Software Developer, together with his team worked on building a tool for defining inveracity in media and news. “Blogs, news feed, Facebook posts, and TV shows shape our vision and influence decisions we make day by day. In 48 hours our team has created a prototype of an app that allows checking the information truthfulness. For that the app collects data related to a reviewed article, registers verified facts using a decentralized network, and presents the analysis results to a user,” says Anton.
An idea of a decentralized cloud gaming was presented by the second team. Nikolay, Senior Software Developer:
“We thought it would be cool if owners of powerful computers could rent them to other users. Primarily for games (because we love games!), however, it can be used in various fields. Cloud gaming has been around for about 10 years, but it mostly implies a huge data-centers renting their machines. Our idea brings individuals on the stage. At the end of the day, such an approach opens a number of advantages: increases competition, which leads to price-cutting; solves the problem of delays; erases the problem of software compatibility.”
The third project came laden with a social component and used Machine Learning technology. Nazar, Software Developer, describes the details:
We created a tool that allows exchanging books between students in regular and boarding schools. At the age of 8-11, a good book can teach to make right decisions, learn valuable skills, help to know the world and people better. Instead of buying books, the users of the tool can take one from other students for a predefined time period. This idea we have embodied on the basis of telegrams bot.”
5 insights to boost daily work
Any event, and particularly a Hackathon, is a place to learn something new, boost own skills, and take inspiration for applying experience in daily work. Here are five valuable insights from out participants:
- Walk in business shoes
“Working as software developers we often don’t see the whole picture. It is essential thought, since without an in-depth understanding of your audience, business model, how the solutions will work and why users should use it, you won’t be able to get people interested, nor create a sophisticated tool that will solve users problem. Ability to see solutions from the business point of view can bring more value to the products we work on daily,” Anton says.
- Be ready to compromise
Alexander, Software Developer: “When you come with an idea it always looks brilliant, but people around you may not like it that much. No matter how much you want to stick to your original plan, when a problem is found, you have to change something in the approach. Pursuing your ideas against all the odds will hardly lead to success. This is a good point to remember when communicating with your customers and colleagues.”
- Pitching is a huge deal
“I always thought of hackathons as programming contests. However, it is rather a startup competition, where smooth presentation of an idea is more important than creating cool architecture, using advanced approaches and frameworks, and writing clean code. A working prototype is only 30% of success, the other 70% – the ability to make a mash on the audience. This is a very useful skill to apply in daily communication with your stakeholders,” Alexander adds.
- Make it clear to everyone
“When you attend any event (whether it is a large hackathon or a presentation for your potential client), and you don’t know who is going to participate, consider that people are different and they may not understand you well. Lack of technical background, previous experience, knowing current trends may prevent them from getting your idea clearly. Learn to explain complex things in plain language,” Nikolay shares.
- Feel where the wind is blowing
“Hackathons help to feel where the industry is going, what trends are on the stage, what solutions and approaches cause the greatest interest. Understanding the market and consumers is a trump card that will come in handy when planning your future projects,” Nazar resumes.