What is Hackcon?
HackCon is a conference for hackathon community leaders from all over the world. As mentioned in their website, Major League Hacking (MLH) Hackcon gives an opportunity for hackers to meet the community, learn from one another, and to tackle the issues that we are facing together. With two full days of workshops, talks, and discussion sessions, new organizers can learn best practices for running a hackathon, and veteran organizers will share their experiences and help guide the next generation. MLH Hackcon takes place twice per year: once in North America and once in Europe.
In short, Hackcon is a place of community and happiness. See lots of images below for proof. ;-)
Github is a huge supporter of MLH events and they were the main platinum sponsor. I was there as a sponsor from Cisco Spark and had a booth up. It was such a great experience to meet so many hackathon organizers and get their input on a variety of topics. What I really loved was how quite a few people shared with me how much these events mean to them and how it's changed their life and career path. And without this community, they wouldn't be where they are today.
So Much VALUE!
One thing that hackers love is swag and stickers! I was sure to bring a nice big stock of goodies for everyone. I did however kindly ask people to sign up for free on our Cisco DevNet developer portal to access all of our developer tools, APIs, and free resources (learning labs). (We have 400,000+ registered users using our dev tools!). Tools range from Cloud, Security, Collaboration, IoT, Networking, and more!
The greatest thing about the younger generation is that they are willing to try new tools and new APIs that are different from what everyone else is using. Once they learn about a new tool, they end up telling everyone about it, and the hackathon community is very close, so recommendation/opinions definitely travels quickly. With 65,000 people attending hackathons in just the last year, this is a huge potential audience!
I was very lucky to have 25% of the attendees at this event register to our developer website. Woohoo. And to top it off, many seemed very interested in what Cisco is doing when it comes to creating tools for software developers. This does become helpful when hackers are building new apps and looking for different APIs to use.
Hackcon Stands Out
One thing I noticed with Hackcon is the very strong sense of community. Not only does everyone come together in person to network and learn from each other, but they keep in contact in several different LARGE hackathon groups on Facebook. They communicate and keep the conversations going on a daily basis and they recruit more hackers and continue to grow their community. I am lucky to be able to be part of several of these groups to follow conversations. The hackers at Hackcon were so friendly that they welcomed me to join all their private hackathon groups.
I'd like to share several photos of the event to show you how great of a community the hackathon members are. Thanks to the community sending me many photos to share, I was able to post it all here. MLH's slogan is - Learn. Build. Share.; This is what it's about.
You can see the passion and love the hackathon organizers and attendees have. They are here because they love empowering people and bringing them into technology. This is the type of community that changes the world over time. Students attend hackathons because they want to be a part of something bigger than themselves and network and meet new people.