Steven Yang

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    Hackpoly Postmortem

    February 22, 2015

    So I completed Hackpoly yesterday. This past weekend in general was pretty hectic. I was actually able to get everything I wanted done. I attended the hackathon, helped a buddy move and met up with my cousin for his website idea. Now I’m sitting at Starbucks distracting myself from homework by writing this blogpost.

    Hackpoly as an Event

    This hackathon in general felt very “pure”. It was all about working on projects, which I definitely liked. Unlike the other hackathons I attended, this one just asked it’s participants to make anything they wanted. There weren’t any particular challenges so people made random cool things.

    The actual event was also shorter then the ones I’ve gone to before. Instead of a three day event, it was only one. It would’ve put people at a huge disadvantage to sleep, so most of the partipants stayed awake the entire time.

    Instead of having a showroom where everyone displays their projects at once, they decided to go with a format where every team presented their project in front of everyone. This was really cool as I was able to see everyones projects as they came. The problem I had before was that I always missed seeing others’ projects because I was too busy presenting my own.

    Hackpoly Socially

    Everyone there was super nice and friendly. The great thing about these events is that you get to meet a ton of people who share the same interests. The atmosphere was very open as you could be having a conversation with someone, and another person can overhear and join in.

    I met my team right as I got into the event. They pitched me their idea and they happened to be looking for a webdev. Perfect!

    Our Project

    We decided to make a device that listens for changes in a database so users can get notified when say, their class opens up.

    The concept itself was really simple, but we had to cut down some of the initial features in order to meet the deadline. By the end, we had the core idea there - a device that beeps when a website contains a certain parameter.

    I’m really proud with what we came up with. At hackthons, the product never turns out you originally how you image, but once you get a prototype that slighly resembles what you’re going for, it’s pretty amazing.

    Things I Need to Improve

    I like to analyze myself after these events so I can get better. In doing this project, I realized that backend development is my achilles heal. I understand how the core concepts of how it works, but acutally implementing them is a whole different story.

    I had this bug that I was working on for what seemed like an eternity. This caused me to look for other frameworks to use which changed everything. Because of my lack of sleep, this constant change didn’t help with anything and just made the problem worse.

    Next time, I need to just really stick to a framework and discover the ins and out rather then try a brute force method to fix a single problem.

    I also need to work on my public speaking skills. My teammates carried me through that whole process and the presentation turned out amazing. I need to join a toastmasters club or something to practice.


    As always I greatly enjoyed this hackathon. I will continue to go until I get bored. I don’t think that’ll happen for a while at this rate!