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SXSW Interactive 2013

After the Hackathon

Over the past three years, hackathons have spun up into a hurricane gale of headline and hype for the hacker culture we all know and love. Builders of every stripe flock to these events held for a double-rainbow of disparate themes from music to photos to video to hardware to education to art to games to payments to government to disaster relief. In tech hubs like Silicon Valley and New York, one can expect to see a hackathon hosted every weekend in the year - Gotham held one hackathon every weekend since January 6th, 2012

Has it been too much? Are hackathons still in touch with the hackers that attend them? Join the creators and organizers of Music Hack Day, Super Happy Dev House, Hacker Olympics and Hack n' Jill for an exploration into the buzz around hackathons and find out if the hype is dying out in the developer communities that fuel these special events.

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  1. What do people find hackathons to compelling - can’t you just meet people online? (Isn't programming a solitary endeavor? Why do you host hackathons? What do you get out of hackathons? Do you get paid, directly or indirectly, to run hackathons? Why do companies run hackathons? Who benefits the most from hackathons? Who should benefit?)
  2. What’s wrong with meetups, user groups, etc - why run a hackathon instead of something else? (What does “hackathon” even mean? It has “hack” in the name, does that mean these events are for people break into computers and steal information? Did things like the European Demo Scene, "hacker culture", and LAN parties have on hackathons? What else influenced hackathons?)
  3. What makes a hackathon successful? (What trends have you been seeing? Where are hackathons headed? What do you see that is encouraging? What do you see that is discouraging? What trends are you seeing regarding corporate sponsorships of hackathons? Are you seeing any for-profit hackathons?)
  4. Are hackathons played out? (What will come next? What should we be doing instead?)
  5. What are the elements that made hackathons useful to hackers? (If you had $1m to spend on your ideal hackathon, what would it look like? What would change from what you do now? Would you call it a hackathon?)


  • Joel Franusic, Developer Evangelist, Twilio
  • Dave Haynes, VP Business Development, Content, SoundCloud
  • Kara Silverman , Associate Vice President, 5W Public Relations
  • Jarod Reyes, Front-end Developer, Voxy


Joel Franusic, Developer Evangelist, Twilio

Meta Information:

  • Tags: community, developers
  • Event: Interactive
  • Format: Panel
  • Track: DIY, Hacker and Maker
  • Level: Intermediate
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