Steven Yang

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    SBHacks Post-mortem

    February 03, 2015

    So this past weekend, I went to SBHacks, a hackathon that was held at UCSB. It’s been years since I’ve been in that area. I used to go pretty frequently back in my late teens. Going back and seeing all the old places I used to frequent with my buddies gave me a pretty big nostalgia bomb. The city itself doesn’t look it changed too much since the last time I went there. That is definitely not a bad thing.

    I went with Jimmy and we created a this. It’s a webapp that allows users to connect with their audience without having to miss a beat. We were stuck trying to decide on a project to make, so we decided to work on an idea Jimmy was thinking about for a while. On Friday, we were able to get a good set up. We spent that whole worknight setting up the diagrams and learning about the different technologies we were going to incorporate. I really really love the Yeoman workflow. Webdev is something I’ve been learning tiny bits at a time and finding out about Yeoman was kind of mindblowing! With it, I was able to save a ton of time setting up the project.

    Saturday was probably more relaxed then it should have been. We had to do some errands which took up a little bit of time. And in the middle of the day, I wanted to go to an old food joint I hadn’t been to in years. In hindsight, doing this was a huuuge productivity killer as we spent time driving out, eating and then napping from a food coma.

    Around midnight on Saturday, we were looking around for similar projects, and we came across poll everywhere, which essentially did everything our app was going to do. At that point, we didn’t even have a working prototype, so we got pretty discouraged. About fifteen minutes later we somehow got over this and got a burst of energy to start working. Our project was due in about nine hours and we wanted to push out something. From twelvish to two we were able to get a lot done - pretty much a working minimum viable product. The hours after that were kind of hazy to me as it was spent bug fixing and testing. We were pretty much done by six. There was so much more we wanted to add to make it more “hacky” but we ran out of time.

    Everyone at the event had to showcase their team’s projects. Ours was part of the first half to go. We waited as people came by to see what we did. It was seriously a great feeling seeing people genuinely interested in what we were making. The look in people’s eyes as our webapps were updating in real-time was pretty amazing. I feel like my explanation of the product could have been better though. I was running on no sleep and found it kind of hard to put coherent sentences together. I definitely need to caffeine up next time!

    We didn’t end up winning any prizes. We didn’t use any apis, so we didn’t qualify for any of the challenges. A lot of the projects there looked really good so our competition was pretty stiff. I came to this event for three things:(1) to learn;(2) to network; and (3) to have fun - in that order. There was not much networking going on. I think I was just a bit too shy to talk to more people. It was fun, and I did learn a lot, but I feel like I would have gotten those things regardless. I always learn at these events and I always manage to have fun. I think next time, I need to put more focus on meeting people and the learning and fun will come as a side-effect. Overall, this was a really great weekend. I can’t wait for the next one!