Using Github For Your Hackathon

I’ve spent a lot of time trying to track on what gets created at hackathons.  Some innovative programming occurs at these events and I’d say 98% of it is forgotten by Monday morning.

I think a lot of attention is given to the myth that hackathons are about building startups. When in reality, how many startups come out of hackathons? In my opinion the top three things that come out of a hackathon are:

  1. Marketing - For the event organizer, sponsors and for participants.
  2. Talent Acquisition - There is some seriously talented folks attending hackathons.
  3. Networking - Hackathons are a great place to meet people, network, make friends and sure maybe a co-founder.

Beyond that I think there is a lot of code that gets generated at hackathons, that really never goes anywhere. Much of this code is not immediately VC fundable, but still some of it is really good. And I see a lot of kids spending whole weekends writing the same or similar code as I saw the weekend before.

To help remedy this, I suggest that event organizers use Github. Just like every hackathon organizer should identify a Twitter #hashtag for the event, you should setup a Github organization and add your hackers as users. Encourage them to commit their code through-out the hackathon, and wrap up the weekend with a nice README file of their project.

Seems like a great way to showcase what was built over the weekend, make the intellectual property open and accessible for other people to use, and make it easier for other hackathon participants to build off what has already been created in the past.