Wait… We Won The Hackathon?!

Early last week, I randomly decided to join a Hackathon team with other students from my school. I really didn’t know many of them, but thought it would be fun and a great way to make new friends. I never imagined that we would actually win the entire competition and $50K.

To be honest, it’s a little surreal. We were up against professionals with years of experience and other teams with great ideas. The experience overall taught me so much, but the main takeaway was this:

Collaboration is awesome. But actually. I don’t think we would have won if we didn’t work together and communicate effectively. Although we didn’t know each other very well (if at all!), I thought we had some pretty fantastic synergies happening, magnified by the fact that we were all incredibly passionate about creating a great product. The whole experience felt like I was part of a mini-company (granted for only 48 hours) with everyone taking their own individual position, whether it was as a product manager, designer, or developer. In addition, we each had the chance to move between the roles of listener, contributor, idea generator, mentor, follower, and leader.

My specific contribution on the team was the front-end design and development. I had never designed a dashboard or implemented any type of data visualization before so it was a great design challenge and learning experience. I know this is a little corny, but if anything, the experience made me want to test my abilities further and seek out more opportunities.

Overall, I have to say that the 48-hour sugar and carb diet was totally worth it… And I guess the money wasn’t so bad either! :D

The rest of my amazingly smart and talented teammates included Eric Elias, SJ Lee, Leslie Ding, Du Zhang, Dan Borstelmann, and Fangzhou Xiao.

For more information on the event, check out this article!

Posted on February 3, 2014