08 7 / 2012
This past weekend was Khan Academy’s first ever Healthy Hackathon*. This was my first ever hackathon - and I must say that the healthy hackathon is DA BOMB. While that term may be outdated, this concept is ahead of its time.
*For non-hackers out there, a “hackathon” is NOT when you learn awesome hackey-sack skillZ (which Michael, our Head of Finance, pointed out as a very reasonable misconception). Nor does hacking mean what it did in the 90’s, as portrayed in this classic Angelina Jolie movie called “Hackers” about dangerous computer viruses. Nowadays, hackathons are a norm in the techy community (there’s even a Wikipedia article which means it must be so). But basically, it means getting together for a short burst of time to work on stuff you think would be super awesome.*
Our hackathon had three rules -
- You have to create something connected to Khan Academy
- You have to demo or show off what you’ve create at the end of the hackathon.
- You have to act like a healthy hacker.
What does the healthy part of the hackathon entail? Seems a little oxymoron-ish given most hackathons work through the night and include lots of junk food; however, our HH required a) eating healthy food provided by the company (which in this case meant provided by Ben Kamens), and b) getting a good night’s sleep - none of this crazy code through the night business, so we were all kicked out at 11:45pm and let back in at 9:30am.
We also like to be inclusive and had folks from every part of the organization participating. Throughout the hackathon, our folks were so nice - offering up help whenever needed. It felt so supportive and inspiring to be hacking with this bunch. There was also really cool music playing throughout courtesy of our mix-tape contest entries ( http://spoti.fi/KYRtIr ) [Thank you @jasonrr for arranging that awesomeness!).
The demos at the end completely blew me away. Amazing stuff was developed, and a LOT of it is, or near, shippable. I can’t let the cat out of the bag quite yet, but look out for some cool stuff in the near future showing up on the main Khan Academy site. I s’pose it ain’t fair to leave you completely hanging, so here’s a peak at the cool t-shirt our design intern Mary came up with for the participants.
All ‘n all, it was AWESOME - I can’t wait for the next one!
Thank you head developer Ben Kamens for leading the way!