Written by Mirna, Ljubljana, 2022
Last month was intense! We spent every week in a different country, experiencing tech conferences and a hackathon. Despite gaining fresh experience now, it had us thinking about how we shaped Shape more than 5 years ago.
We grew right out of hackathons and still carry those hackathon values to the core of Shape as it stands and operates today. And if you're thinking about starting your business or developing an innovative project, hackathons are a great way to see if you fit well with the team.
This is why we, as experienced hackathon-goers, decided to share some tips while still in the ambitious atmosphere.
🔸 Research&plan: Study the subject ahead of time to prepare before you even set the date.
🔹 Teammates: Find people with whom you believe you could collaborate, who complement each other well, and, most importantly, with whom you enjoy working.
🔸 Understand the problem: You know the drill. Start with WHY and diagnose the pain.
🔹 Brainstorm ideas: Begin with the assumption that anything is possible and avoid belittling ideas in the first phase. In the second phase, combine various ideas and attempt to fit them into a bigger picture.
🔸 Ask clever questions: Before talking to the mentors and the client, define what interests you in detail. Ask around about relevant points: Don’t be shy. It’s better to ask than to be sorry later.
🔹 Prioritize: Discuss what part of your MVP has the highest priority and focus on it. Leave the details behind for a while.
🔸 Dumb down the idea: When presenting an idea or finding your perfect pitch script, try to break it down so that someone outside the industry can understand it without difficulty. Ask a stranger. Do they understand what it is about?
🔹 Don’t panic: Relax. You’re not building the final product yet. Make a work schedule that your team can agree upon, and don’t waste time when stuck on a task. The last tip will help you with that.
🔸 Connect: Observe, value, and communicate with your teammates & other teams as well. Yes, you are competitors now, but you can develop friendships or business relationships afterward. And that’s far more important than who might be winning.
🔹 Take breaks: Leave the topic, go away from the group, meditate or just do your thing. Clear your thoughts for a while to get better results later. And don’t forget to bring a sleeping bag for quick power naps.
In our opinion, participating in a hackathon is the best way to learn new hard and teamworking skills. It's an ideal opportunity to develop your technical knowledge, learn the fundamentals if you're not tech-savvy, or even practice public speaking. Not to mention that you'll also receive assistance along the way to help you learn these skills even faster & maybe meet lifelong friends along the way.
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