Lessons learned from the TC Disrupt Hackathon
This weekend I participated at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon and I had a really good time.
With two friends I’ve built a second-screen iPad app for watching Game Of Thrones.
The app shows a live stream of tweets connected to the show, and as you pick any of the tweets that catch your attention it shows you context around the subjects in that tweet. The context is built entirely from twitter content, through semantic analysis, trying to understand what the tweets are about and show you what’s interesting, not top stuff.
I’m very happy with what we’ve built, but I’m only somewhat happy with how we presented it. We didn’t win anything.
So what have I learned from this?
- That the organization was flawless. Starting at noon is an amazing idea for a hackathon, having snacks and sodas also good idea, endless coffee very useful.
- That when I present stuff, I need to make it more remarkable. I should have concentrated on one message that I wanted to send and really nailed that one in a tweetable line.
- I should have had contact information large on the screen. I’ve shown a demo, I’ve said who I was, but I realize that if anybody in the crowd is interested in finding more, I didn’t help them at all.
- That I need to be bolder. Doing well is not good enough. You have to either be amazing, or be amazingly bold so that you are remarkable. Being remarkable in a stream of 90 other demos is important. Being silly remarkable is better than been good and average.
- That I should introduce myself as “Octavian” more often. It seems to get me coverage like this:
“The royally-named Octavian (or Vivi, as he’s also known) and his teammates are working on a second-screen app that provides users with additional context as they watch Game of Thrones, which is probably one of the geekier endeavors we’ve spotted today. Need to figure out why that guy just got stabbed? Or some lesser-known facet of some clan’s convoluted family tree? Keep your eyes peeled on this guy. Incidentally, he is totally in love with the Khalisi (because of the dragons, not the other thing) and his Twitter is Okvivi.”
It was really good to be up on a stage in front of a few hundred people presenting something in 60 seconds. It didn’t do a great job at it, but I didn’t totally suck either.
Next time will be better, now that I’ve learned a few lessons.