Why Attending a HackOut.Ninja-hosted Event is Better.

While there is an absence of good hackathon data- we have been able to identify trends and also test the benefits of the HackOut.Ninja software. This case study breaks down each issue reported by organizers, how each issue originates, and how HackOut.Ninja resolves them. Check in later for updates to this case study.

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Challenges Faced By Hackathon Organizers

Hackathon volunteers and organizers have to supply information to attendees throughout the event. Sometimes, it's a schedule change and others it may be API access information. As a result, organizers must periodically ensure that all hackers have actually had a chance to review the supplied information. This can be troublesome with 100+ attendees, and when information is supplied by different stakeholders (sponsors, partners, etc.).

Hackathons are very high energy events where all the momentum culminates during the pitch competition at the end. After the event, it is almost impossible to encourage once highly active teams to continue to work on their projects. Even if the team continues, the organizers are rarely aware. This becomes increasingly an issue with overnight hackathons, public hackathons, hackathons with traveling attendees, and technology-based hackathons.

Many hackathon organizers (not all) have to put together a report detailing the hackathon once it has completed. The report usually includes a list of teams, team topics, lessons learned planning process, special brainstorming tools used, financial performance, and recommendations for the "next hackathon".

When it is time for teams to give their pitches, they usually enter the stage one by one and enure that their respective laptops work with the electrical equipment. Many times, hackathon organizers will have teams test their laptops prior to the pitch time. This can become cumbersome if more than 5 teams are presenting and if several of the devices have limited options for audio and visual connections.

Sponsors give money to hackathons for many different reasons, but two of the main reasons are for brand placement and recruitment. Many times, after the event, they may request a list of the guests and any demographic information that the event can provide. They use this information to determine if they will sponsor a future hackathon.

Hackathons are usually very busy and oen of the hardest things to do is create the right envinronment for teams to organically form. Many attendees have usually never met one another. Also, many organizers try t make sure teams are evenly balanced with skills. This can be nearly impossible to manage once there are over 30 attendees that have never met before.

At large scale hackathons, there are usually sponsors, partners, media personnel, speakers, and other hackathon stakeholders. Not everyone can make it to the hackathon, yet they have an interest in knowing the hackathon outcomes.

Judges and organizers have both suggested that electronic voting would make the pitch process flow more smoothtly. At many hackathons, judges receive scorecards for each team. They usually have to fill in information for each team and then take time deliberating on which score they want to give. Some scorecards include an area for feedback. Getting information back to teams can be cumbersome for larger hackathons, virtual judges, or judges that cannot stay beyond the duration of the hackathon.

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