LinkedIn DevelopherDelhi Hackday has kicked off at the SlideShare Delhi office. This is the first of its kind event in India. And its happening at the same time as Developher Mountain View, being organised by LinkedIn over the weekend. Exciting times with two co-occuring events separated by 12000 kms and a 12 hour time zone difference!
In case you missed the announcement, this is the link. The prizes on stake are Macbook Airs for the winning team, and Apple iPads for the runners up team. And the judges are Dave McClure (Silicon Valley guru, geek, entrepreneur, investor) & Rashmi Sinha (CEO / Founder at SlideShare). Rashmi is also a judge at the Mountain View event.
Its 11:00 AM and a bunch of geeky girls have invaded the slideshare office. Participants include SlideShare internal teams, a team from LinkedIn, women developers from startups, services companies, global multinationals, students. And some have flown in from Bangalore & Mumbai just for the event. The team names are getting wackier by the minute… [in]ception, Alohomora, Fire and Ice, Firebals, FountainHeads, GeekGirls, MAZ, MegaMind, RubyXX, Team Sprocket.
So what are the girls hacking? Not everyone is decided, the ones that have include FixCity – a Crowdsourced mobile tool for reporting civic problems, an Android social app to split/track expenses amongst friends, an Infographic generation tool to visualise the power of your LinkedIn network, Fetch – a natural language search tool (knows what you meant rather than said), Talkin – a tool that adds voice capability to LinkedIn profiles, a language Translator for slideshare presentations, another hack for making SlideShare accessible for the visually impaired. More to follow…
Update Day 2: After 24 hours of hacking on the trot, the teams demoed their hacks to the judges who joined in remotely via telephone, Google Hangouts & Join-Me. Most teams had working prototypes! The winning hack was Fixcity… from a two developer team Bhavana Sardana & Reena Agrawal (they work at Adobe). The runners up was Talkin … from a 3 member team Neha Jain, Priya Kuber & Abhineet Kaur. Congratulations to the winners!
So what are some of the highlights / learnings from DevelopHer Delhi?
– Given this was the first womans hackday, and organised at a short notice (7 days), DevelopHer was a thumping success. There is always a first time!
– We reached out through the wiki, twitter, Facebook, email, media etc. But most of the participants came in through a friends contact (social dynamics rule!).
– Something that stood out remarkably from other hackdays (most hackdays are men centric) – there were no dropout teams between the start and end. Every team that started finished their hack and demoed it. My previous experience with hackdays is otherwise – the dropout rate is app 40%. This shows amongst girls, only the motivated ones turned up to participate.
– Most teams stayed back at our office during the night and hacked through it! Some went home late night and returned the next morning.
– How did we manage the logistics for the event? We had anticipated the problems in organising a womans 24 hour hackday and had prepared from a security / housekeeping / transit standpoint. Some of our employees stayed back the night at the office for support.
– How did our male developers react? Somewhat amused, but overall reaction was positive. On the lighter side, its hard to imagine an event on this kind without spurring some gender banter. Check tweets here, here and here.
Here’s hoping DevelopHer comes back bigger next year.
Wondering what DevelopHer Mountain View (LinkedIn HQ) looks like?
Update: Check out this great article on How to invite women developers to a hackathon.