As some of you may know, I have this burning passion for hackathons.
Many have wondered why hackathons are something I enjoy talking so much about. Nothing other than my faith gets me more excited than talking about the opportunities that hackathons can provide for others.
I like to say that hackathons are kind of what taught me many of the things I know today - how to hash out crazy ideas in several hours, how to formulate a in-depth step-by-step plan that can be executed in 24-hours, how to talk to people when running on less than 3 hours of sleep in two nights, how to stay in the "zone" coding for several hours straight running on only a bottle of soylent and a pile of fruit snacks.
Hackathons take up a good part of my life, that's for sure.
In fact, I've gotten to take a part in organizing several hackathons this semester: Indigitious Hack and HackTX.
Being able to plan for these 12-24 hour long events is quite the process though - working on a functional team management board, fixing bugs during and after registration was SUPPOSED to be opened, experiencing the relief of seeing over 800 hackers apply for the event within 5 mins registration opened (and over 2000 in several days O.O), managing data behind the scenes, and preparing for the corporate side of the hackathon, only for ONE of the hackathons... crazy life.
But I love it. Hearing someone's experience from a hackathon where they discovered their winning idea in the last 8 hours of a hackathon, or how they ate so much free food that they planned to fast the next day, or how they pushed through general presentations and ended up being the top 10 to present in front of 500+ other hackers - that is what drives me.
But hackathons have introduced me into a new area of life. That area is entrepreneurship.
The definition of entrepreneurship from Wikipedia is the process of designing, launching and running a new business, which is more often than not, initially a small business, offering a product, process or service for sale or hire.
I like to think of entrepreneurship as a more sophisticated hackathon project that lasts for life.
Since this past Spring, I started storing ideas from hackathons into a doc - some I thought would be profitable, some with a few words creatively mixed together, and some that are simple random fixes in life. I started taking part in entrepreneurial events, incubator organizations like Convergent, and meeting new people every day. Most of all, I'm taking Longhorn Startup in order to glean information from successful entrepreneurs all around, like Josh Baer and Mellie Price.
I've replaced a lot of the time that I would've been free to work on people's ideas, similar to hackathon created ideas. Except I'm no longer in it for a 24-hour span of time. I'm in it to win it for the long run.
Now don't get me wrong, I'm not quitting short-term hackathons, or throwing my towel out of the arena. Hackathons will always be a part of my life. As for my other parts of life, I'll still go through recruiting, studying for my classes, going to church, and living out my Junior year of college as a Computer Science student.
But the race is new.
I definitely think that in this new season of life, my focus lies in different things. Transforming from a sprint into a marathon, there's only one place to go, and that's forward. The fast-paced environment that I experienced from hackathons is no longer reserved for the weekends or for off days.
It's been now.
Time to start running.