NEW Hackathon Format A Smashing Success

At this year’s API Strategy and Practice (APIStrat) conference in Chicago we tried a new hackathon format: API Speed Hack. We introduced the format in an earlier blog post. And here is our quick wrap-up:

Made Possible By Our Most Excellent Sponsors….

We had a total blast! We had 15 teams competing to tackle eight challenges in three hours. We had food, drinks, music, nerf guns and a lot of fun. All of which would not have been possible without our sponsors — so, here is a thanks to the APIStrat Speed Hack sponsors for their help, technical support and efforts in judging. Our sponsor in alphabetic order:

How A “Speed Hack” Works

You can find the sponsor’s API challenges on the main APIStrat Speed Hack site. For successfully passing a challenge teams got one point. In addition, each sponsor could distribute five extra points at their discretion. Finally, teams could gain further extra points for performing API rhymes or songs on stage or for coming dressed up. More on that a bit later.

Prizes included:

  1. Prize: $1,500 in cash + a programmable Crazyfly Nano Quadcopter + 1 year free GitHub Silver plan + T-shirts
  2. Prize: $350 in cash + electric paper plane + a 1 year free GitHub Bronze plan + T-shirts
  3. Prize: $150 in cash + electric paper plane + a 6 months free GitHub Bronze plan + T-shirts

And The Winners Were….

APIStrat SpeedHack Winners

First Place: Excel Hell

Second Place: Backspace

Third Place:  API Hour

In addition, two sponsors gave away extra prizes:

  • ESRI: $500 extra prize which went to Shaun Langley.
  • traitify: Apple TV extra prize which went to API Hour.

 An Exhibition of Mad Skills And Creative “Expression”

We mentioned earlier that the attendees could get extra points for things like the funniest team name, being dressed up (see photos as bottom of this post) or performing on stage. We have to say people were really creative. We had, for instance, the guys from API Hour performing Still Alive” from the soundtrack of the video game Portal with an Ukulele on stage — although the original sounded slightly… well … different. We had people rapping and we had API limericks. Our favorite was Dan McGee from team Excel Hell who modified the classic “Ice Ice Baby” by Vanilla Ice into an API rap, which he then also performed on the main stage during the prize awards. Check out the video below.




We have a lot of photos, which over time we will upload and you will be able to find them here. We really enjoyed the Speed Hack and it was certainly not the last one. Next APIStrat conference is already looming.


Speedhack photos