I recently talked with the AT&T API team about their recent Sabre partnership, which I thought was a pretty interesting approach to evolving your API strategy, by leveraging your partners. As we discussed the overall AT&T API strategy and their approach to partnering, we also discussed the evolution to their hackathon strategy and how they've added workshops to their event toolbox.
While AT&T is very much committed to having hackathons, they didn't always deliver the understanding and feedback around their APIs that they were looking for and decided to develop a workshop format around their developer programs. A workshop is about sitting a group of developers down in a room, provide them with workbooks and other structured content, as well as more direct engagement with the AT&T API team.
I recently spoke with Brian Koles (@BrianKoles) from ChallengePost on the subject, and he says it is what their developer challenge platform company is also witnessing occur in the space. A majority of companies that approach them to do hackathons, in reality don't get what they desire from the more open hackathon format. These companies are looking for a safer, more controlled environment, where they can educate developers about their APIs, and receive quality feedback and measurable results around their API programs.
While a workshop may not be as attractive as the exciting and more intensive hackathon format, it is something that can deliver more meaningful results to your company, as well as reach an audience that probably isn't that interested in spending their weekends, staying up all night, building apps they won't use—they just want to learn more about your API, and understand how it can solve real-world problems, in their everyday lives.