Category Archives: TechCrunch Disrupt


TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in San Francisco: Register Now And Get Free Admission To The Conference!

Do you have an amazing idea for that would benefit companies, consumers or government?

Is there an existing technology you use but feel it’s a bit lacking think you could fill in the gap?

Well bring your coding, design and biz dev skills to the second annual TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon happening September 10th and 11th, 2011 in San Francisco!  Unleash your creativity and collaborate with other passionate, driven developers, entrepreneurs and designers to give birth to new and disruptive technology.

What is TechCrunch Disrupt?

TechCrunch Disrupt is a twice yearly event now held in San Francisco in the Fall and NYC in the spring to showcase new startups, concepts and of course, disruptive solutions in the technology space.

There are Keynotes, fire side chats, exhibitors, sponsors and parties but the main attraction are the companies with these new ideas.  Last year there was everything from guitar games to social badges to a visual encyclopedia and several medical / health related startups…plus so much more!  Attendees include VC investors, business analysts, reporters, other startups, developers, bloggers and general media.

It spawned out of TechCrunch50 which was a co-branded event between TechCrunch’s Michael Arrington and Jason Calacanis (Mahalo, This Week In, Launch, masterful poker player).  TC50, as it was known, was created to offer an alternative to DEMO which was (and still is) a big name conference focused on helping startups launch with traction through exposure.  That said, Michael and Jason had a falling out, dissolved TC50 and both launched new conferences.  After watching for two years in row from Minneapolis, I knew I would attend TechCrunch Disrupt last year and made that a reality.  It was amazing and I’m attending again this year!

Where are they now?  GroupMe – Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon, NYC 2010

GroupMe was one of the many products created at last year’s hackathon and the founders just closed a deal and were acquired by Skype (Now owned by Microsoft).   Another solution, which may have won the hackathon demo had to do with a mobile app that gave you the ability to alert people that you were in danger or trouble.  As they say, it’s quite common for people to create things they need in their own lives or workplaces then they come to find out that others have the same need too!

TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Details


Dates: September 10th & 11th, 2011

Who can attend: programmers, coders, designers, artists, creatives, business development, marketing people and really anyone who’s passionate about creating something new, useful and of course…disruptive!

Agenda: (From the site)

Saturday, September 10th

1 pm Registration opens (come fed or bring a brown bag lunch, beverages served)

dedicated area for people to network to form hack teams

2 pm Hacking Kickoff

3 – 9 pm API workshops scheduled in 30 minute intervals

7 pm dinner

midnight food and snacks

Sunday, September 11th

7 am breakfast served

9:30 am hacking concludes and hacks submitted to wiki

10 am general public welcome to enter to attend hackathon presentations

10:30 hackathon presentations begin

approximately 2 pm hackathon will conclude with final awardsand recognitions will be provided by the judges. The final awards may be held earlier or later depending on duration of hack presentations

Is a Hackathon Right For You?

Gathering together to build something amazing and useful would be the simplest description of a hackathon.  It’s actually not about hacking computer systems!  Hackathons usually focus on a specific programming language or around a vertical like government but hackathons can also be used to build control interfaces to physical devices like some folks at Google did with their robot hackathon.

People usually get together on a regular basis and it seems meeting weekly is pretty popular here in San Francisco.  A hackathon can also be a one time event over a weekend.  Before arriving at one, you may or may not know anyone else.  For the Ruby on Rails study group I’ve been attending, it will now be converted to a weekly hackathon where we come together to work on our on projects.  A few benefits of participating in hackathons inlude:

  • Ability to connect with other people who share your interests
  • Learn new skills or alternate ways of completing tasks
  • Increased accountability for project progress
  • Get help for your project
  • Share ideas and help others and contribute to the community

What happens?

At a hackathon, you show up with your laptop, a project idea and a willingness to be flexible.  From there, introductions are made, there’s usually pizza and beer involved and a meet and greet.  There is usually some sort of method to help connect people and help them network because let’s be honest, most programmers and geeks are socially awkward, even I am (although many people who meet me just don’t believe the inner geek battles I have with reading social cues), and so ice breakers are a must for a hackathon.  From here, there may be a relaxed or formal schedule to check in with progress, a resource area and a final presentation with or without feedback.

Wikipedia describes a hackathon as:

hackathon, a hacker neologism, is an event when programmers meet to do collaborative computer programming. The spirit of a hackthon is to collaboratively build programs and applications. Hackathons are typically between several days and a week in length. A hackathon refers not simply to one time hacks, but to a specific time when many people come together to hack on what they want to, how they want to – with little to no restrictions on direction or goal of the programming.

Launch A Lean Startup.

If you live in San Francisco, chances are you’re into technology one way or another.  If you’re working in the field, nursing along a side project on the weekends or find your calendar full of events, sign up for the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon.

Attend TechCrunch Distrupt For Free

In addition to having a great time, meeting new folks and working on something cool, you’ll get a free ticket to attend the TechCrunch Disrupt conference.  If you don’t know already, tickets to this event are $2,000 so participating in the hackathon is a great way to gain access to this conference without coughing up what most people would consider a few mortgage payments!

See You There!

I’ve signed up this year to take part in the hackathon as part of my ongoing quest to learn to program.  After doing Startupweekend in May, I’m certainly a believer of rapid, group iteration spurring powerful new ideas that can gain traction.  I’ve decided to agree the new measurement for success is rapid user adoption and saw several companies last year do just that after launching at TechCrunch Disrupt like CloudFlare, Badgeville and Storify.  I’m also attending TechCrunch Disrupt with a press pass to cover emerging companies and capture great video interviews with Jeffery from Geekazine.

Been to other hackathons?

Have you been to a previous TechCrunch disrupt hackathon?