I attended my 13th hackathon today, and I did not win a prize.
I feel so satisfied with the work that we as a team could do within 1.5 days, although most of the members had to take much time off due to academic assignments and prior commitments.
Honestly, I thought of jumping ship initially after no one responded in the group for a day to the messages requesting meetup, but thanks to Suzanne and Vandy who showed up for the very next meeting, that made me decide to stay in the team and focus on the hackathon. The team landscape was different and I decide to take a product management role in addition to the technical work and ideation.
The tasks were properly divided and human resource management was given a priority. My team was made up of amazing people from MBA, CS, HCDE and finance. We had to reprioritize tasks on the fly and we did that with great agility.
I thanks all my teammates Suzanna, Muskan , Vandy and Vazir.
None of us met in person for the project development phase and only 2 people including me presented our prototype and the pitch deck to a panel of 6 judges including founders, investors, and high-level executives. We were able to engage the audience with a pinch of humour, and aced the judge and audience questions in with flying colors but little did they know that we had to make up the last part of the presentation on the fly as the person who was supposed to present it unfortunately, couldn’t make it to the venue.
We all met as total strangers, but at the end of this project, we leave as good friends.
I think all the people that participated in the hackathon are phenomenal . I am happy to be in University of Washington, Seattle where I take pride in saying that I put up effort and wonderful ideas, but still did not manage to win a prize, as all my friends are so bright and talented. As a collective, we are invincible!!
Looking back, I see why I was able to win 6 hackathons with the team that I had in India. We might not have been the brightest or the team with the best support(we usually got to other colleges to participate in hackathons), but we were the team that stuck together from start to finish, focusing so much on the hackathon and stay working throughout the night without any Redbull or coffee as we were in the state of flow while working on the solution. That happened mostly because we learnt from our previous failures , collaborated extensively, had a flat hierarchy and adjusted our workstyle to better match the limited time in a hackathon.