As you can see, we’ve made an update to the event date. Instead of a two-day, 24 hour hackathon - it is now a one day, 12 hour hackathon. For logistical purposes, this should be easier for potential participants to attend, without any overhead of travel planning during different times.
When planning an event, sometimes you have an idea in your head of how something is going to work (a lot like programming), but the execution doesn’t always end up the same way.
This event is a first time event for our organization(s). While in the past we have orgnanized events like Startup Weekend and Open Data Day, this is our first competition style hackathon. Coming from Denton, we’ve done a lot of work with our city putting effort into civic tech and open data initiatives, so we really wanted to hone in on that category that some people might not have been aware of, but also provides a net positive effect as the outcome! Participants can win prizes, and cities have new solutions that they can potentially implement that provides some kind of benefit to their citizens. Yay!
Originally, we wanted to host this event in Denton (called HackDenton), but there are some logistical challenges with that when trying to get people TO Denton. If you live in Dallas, and have ever driven to Denton (or vice versa), you know that it’s not the shortest drive. Even coming from other cities like Fort Worth, Irving, or Addison can be a challenge. Unfortunately, North Texas just isn’t shaped the best way for travel.
So what do we do? Well, you try and move to an easier spot where you think it’s an easier drive, maybe even more accomodating venue. In our case, we were very lucky to have UNT host our event at Inspire Park in Frisco, which is part of their new campus. It’s an easy access drive from Dallas, Denton, or mid-cities (coming up 121 or any number of toll roads and highways).
BUT, it’s still pretty far. We’d be starting in the evening on a Friday, and sometimes commuting at that time isn’t the best - where are people even coming from? How much work can they get done in a few hours without staying overnight? These are some questions that we had to figure out answers to.
While were very optimistic about sponsorship opportunities, we didn’t turn out as much as we’d like. Granted, there was a lot of work we needed to prep that we were behind on - but sometimes you just play the cards you were dealt. With that, we reduced some of the prizes, swag, or accomdations (planned meals, custom shirts, etc) in order to still put on a financially feasible event. TechMill is still sponsoring a cash prize and a team pack of Google Home Minis, so you’re able to walk away with something!
In any case, we’re still excited to be hosting this event, and we hope you’ll attend! We have some great datasets to build off of and some great ideas to help our cities. We live and learn and next year we’ll do better!
Thanks for your support!
- Kyle, Director of Community Engagement @ TechMill