Crowd-sourcing the anti-hackathon 3


Since I mentioned the idea of an anti-hackathon – the format for people who have stuff going on in their lives but would still like the fun of knocking out a new project – I’ve had quite a few people contact me.

Here is what I have so far and since it is just an idea I had and we’ve never done this before, I am very open to suggestions.

  1. We are going to have a maximum of 10 people.
  2. People can participate in the daily meetings either in person or virtually via Google hangout.
  3. In-person meeting space will be one hour a day for a week at our offices in the Water Garden in Santa Monica.
  4. We’ll have an organizational meeting for a couple of hours on May 29th, the main purpose of which will be to pick focus/ project.  At the Pay It Forward labs event, I got two free hours of meeting room use from Premier Business Centers for the Santa Monica location, so the in-person meeting will be there. Plus, it gives us a chance to check out our new office space the week before we move in!
  5. We’re looking at games to teach math now, because that is what we do, but we are open to doing something different. It’s a chance for our staff to DO something different, so it won’t be a 3-D adventure game like we normally do but maybe something for an iPad (I doubt that but who knows), or a choose your own adventure type 2-D animation or a game to teach science or business.
  6. Before the May meeting, I will set up a shared folder on Google drive for people to upload any ideas, images or whatever they would like the team to have available prior to the meeting.
  7. Meetings are NOT going to occur before 11 am Pacific Standard Time.

What we have NOT decided is far greater than what we have so, please jump in:

  • How are we going to accommodate people who are not already employees or contractors? Our in-house people are hoping to come up with a product that could be used with our current games or complement  them.
  • What our focus/ project is going to be. We’re looking at games to teach math now, because that is what we do, but we are open to doing something different. It’s a chance for our staff to DO something different, so it won’t be a 3-D adventure game like we normally do but maybe something for an iPad (I doubt that but who knows), or a choose your own adventure type 2-D animation or a game to teach science or business o r…
  • How we are going to work with people who don’t work for our company because it is plausible that the prototype we develop will become part of one of our games.  Possibilities are to offer them a token amount of compensation, say $250. Generally hackathons don’t pay anything but you might win a prize. We don’t have any prizes but as a statistician I thought that a 100% probability of $250 = a 4% probability of $25,000 that you’d have to split 4 ways.  Another possibility we rejected was to agree on a percent of any potential profits, but that would be really hard to quantify if that ends up in something incorporated in one of our games.
  • Another suggestion was that there would be no compensation, just the opportunity to work on something cool. That is probably a much bigger incentive to someone who wants to work in an area they have no experience and have a project they can use to try to get future work. It was pointed out that in hackathons that offer prizes, the winner gets something but the other 95% of the people walk away with nothing but experience anyway. Dennis and I (the two in-house developers) are doing it without pay but we own 2/3 of the company. Yet another option suggested was to have two teams, one in-house and one outside. We could share what we are doing but work on separate projects.

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3 thoughts on “Crowd-sourcing the anti-hackathon

  • Allie Cichocki

    My first thoughts are to do it because I believe in it. Right now, I feel these applications are being used in business but are really *needed* I don’t understand how kids are going to learn without games in the future. These games will greatly enhance their learning. It could be painless or take the fear out of learning.

  • Allie Cichocki

    My goals with the anti-hackathon are to work on something I believe in and eventually get hired to work for a company I believe in. I would use my work to show what I believe in and hopefully meet others with similar interests in “saving humanity with math” (or science, physics, mechanics)

  • AnnMaria De Mars Post author

    Terrific! We’ll look forward to working with you. I will email you a link for the shared Google drive in the next couple of days. Organizational meeting 5/29 11 am PST. Hope you can make it on Google hangout. Of course, if you have a mad desire to drive to Santa Monica, you are welcome to do that, too.