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Last-night I attended the Meetup, "Invasion of the Hackathons" at NYU Poly's Incubation space in DUMBO. The panel of speakers included a truly diverse group and the event was engaging throughout.
Perhaps most notable though, was the absence of pretense and structure from this "panel." The free-flowing casual, conversational structure was loosely moderated by Served Fresh Media and Brooklyn Venture Community's, Charlie Oliver. She was low-key, conversational and truly asked the hard (if slightly uncomfortable at times) questions! She even managed to equate seeking IP agreements at hackathons to safe sex... breaks the mood. Bold. Refreshing facilitation.
My takeaways and further questions from the discussion include:
-The danger of hosting a hackathon in which nothing is accomplished is directly proportionate to the amount of press you enlist to cover it.
-"Hackers/Hacktivists" don't like to have press and marketers just hanging-around distracting them.
-Should marketers/biz dev people even be present... or should they only come-in at the end?
-Should marketers/business development people be present at the BEGINNING of the ideation process to make sure there is a market for the idea?
-Hackathons are overblow... and like "pitch sessions" might fall out of favor with the startup community due to overexposure and dilution of their impact (everyone wants to hold a hackathon now).
-The biggest sticking point is compensation and IP... who owns the ideas?
-@AngelHack has the market covered and hosts hackathons for everything from phone companies to fashion.
-((COFFFFFEEEEEE)) plays an important role... both as a medium for casual dealmaking following the hackfests to fueling the weekend-long event itself... apparently "good" coffee is a huge issue (Is Starbucks secretly powering entrepreneurship in the US?).
Final points for EdLab to consider:
-WHAT would we want hacked... what is our goal (exposure, new ideas...)
-WHO would we target.
-WHAT will we LEARN and GAIN from this?
-WHAT will an event like this cost in terms of TIME and MONEY (interchangeable in my view)?!
Finally, I met a fascinating entrepreneur and MD, Wen Dombrowski who created the following Storify of the event: