The event was billed as the largest hackathon on the West Coast and is the only one I know of that lasted both Friday and Saturday night. 36 hours of coding and the list of suggested items included, at the top, a laptop and a sleeping bag. At first I was hesitant to sign up for the waiting list because it seemed to be geared towards students so I sent the organizer an email.
This is the very reason I love the community around hackathons. Coding is what matters. For most, the event is about learning, creating, and working as a team in a caffeine fueled hyper productive environment. A fellow Hack Reactor student and I took the official bus from UC Berkeley and to our surprise half the students had never been to a hackathon and a third had never coded but wanted to spend the weekend learning.
It was a freaking blast! We listened to talks from founders and developers, met students from all over the country, and slept in the bleachers at Pauley Pavilion. We learned about Node, Express and Azure for serving our app, the Passport npm module for user authentication, Firebase and Go Instant for data storage and Web Speech API voice recognition which we used to create chatrooms by speaking the word “create”. Sunday was dedicated to presentations and it was awesome to show off our app and see the other hacks.
As weekend came to a close, Sam Alton took the stage as the keynote speaker and said, “There are two people in this world. There are those who create. And those who don’t.”
I believe we all create in our own ways. We create space ships, bridges, music, books, paintings, vaccines, charities, relationships, companies, communities, families, encouragement, excitement, craft beer and we contribute the most when we do.
His talk ended with one message, “keep building,” and I feel blessed that now at Hack Reactor I am surrounded by incredibly bright people who all want to do just that, build.