Hack Battle: quickies for innovation
The Next Web Conference 2012 Amsterdam invited to a collective hacking party
- Series: DIGITAL LIFE
You invite 100 hackers, lock them up in one room, treat them to soft drinks and pizzas – and give them 30 hours to create some new stuff…
The event (which was sold out) was a get-together of a dozen or so so-called API partners (aka „application programming interface“) such as Dropbox, Spotify, the Rijksmuseum, Facebook, Twilio, and others, with 100 accredited hackers. The computer wizards had to programme new apps for said companies within 30 hours. Hackers from the Netherlands, Poland, Italy, the US, and other countries had registered for the conference; partially, already existing groups collaborated, partially solo fighters who didn’t know each other before just teamed up for the occasion.
Apart from the great ideas generated within those hours of incessant work (for example, the winning team developed an app which recognises CD covers and plays the respective music), you could observe some trends in Amsterdam which might revolutionise certain sectors of the future job market.
For instance, the role of the developer seems to have changed: in the past, a member of this profession hacked away isolated in his own room – today, developers work in teams and much more focused on their market than the classic nerd has ever been. For companies with a knack for recruiting, that is a smart way to hire new personnel – it’s not about equipping the staff with some more self-exploiting overtime zealots, but which company would not love to have a determined crew doggedly working away to finish a project successfully? And there’s also the creative process – one of the participants said: “You can create something together with other people. Where else could you do that?” He is right – usually, there is no team work involved when painting a picture or writing a novel.
The fast, usable results achieved during the Hack Battle should make conventionally working agencies or development departments of huge companies thinking twice. What would happen if some people really stepped on the accelerator and move things regarding environmental technology, e-mobility, energy transport, etc.?
Text: Peter Erik Hillenbach