This will be short, since I can’t talk about details without getting in trouble. Microsoft hosts an annual Hackathon for their employees and this year, for the first time, they allowed MVPs and RDs to participate. Since I had never participated in a Hackathon before, I was eager to see what the experience was like.
One of the biggest challenges was just picking which project(s) you want to be a part of. There were hundreds! And while the hackathon is just a few days long, many of the projects are much bigger than can be accomplished in a few days, so they continue long after the hackathon is complete.
Microsoft requires an NDA to participate, so I can’t even reveal what project I was working on. What I can share that won’t get me in trouble (I hope!) is that our project had several pieces the work together to provides a free, SMS-based service for people that are unable to leave their homes. The part I worked on was a website created in Blazer, which was the first time I worked with this product.
At the end of the hackathon, each team prepares a short video explaining about their project and a team of judges determine awards. The team I was on won in the “Hack for Good” category and I couldn’t be prouder. Work on the project continues as we meet weekly to keep the project progressing. Hopefully, one day I can reveal more details since a service like this is only successful if the intended audience knows it is available!
I look forward to continuing on this project and can’t wait to see what next year’s Hackathon brings. While this hackathon is specific to Microsoft and is not open to the general public, there are lots of hackathons out there that are open to the community. I encourage you to take the plunge and promise you will not only learn something new in technology, you will learn about how we can all use technology to help others. Just do it!