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Hackathons – Giving Birth to Awesome Apps and Startups

A hackathon is a portmanteau of “hack” and “marathon”, which means that it’s a marathon for developers to create an application within a certain theme within a limited amount of time. Hackathons have been around since 1999 but have just hit the mainstream in the last couple of years.

If you think a hackathon is an intensive program to participate in, you’re correct! Hackathons are generally nerve-wracking, but they’re also great at testing one’s abilities and pushing them to the limits. Some hackathons last for several hours while some even last for a week, depending on the theme.

In the past there have been 24-hour hackathons that have yielded great results which turned into multimillion dollar companies in just under a year.

So, are you itching to get your hands started on that dream startup of yours? Why not host or join a hackathon?

In this article:

  • Hackathon in the Philippines (Aug. 25, 2012) and TechCrunch’s Disrupt event (Sep. 8-9, 2012)
  • Successful startups born from hackathons

What’s Special About Hackathons?

Have you ever felt the urge to finish something quickly because of a deadline? Yep, I’m talking about when you were still in school, writing that essay 2 hours before submission, or that last-minute change on your web app school project, or that Power Point presentation that can’t play the audio. All of these translates to one thing: the sense of urgency leads to something very creative and unique!

The process of developing an application for serious use normally takes several weeks of planning and developing, but during hackathons everything you’ve learned up to that point should be poured and condensed into an idea that will be made into a working application by the end of the event. Most hackathons require you to be in a team, but there are a few that will allow the lone wolves to participate. No matter what, it’s a fun event to share, discuss, and create something new in just a few hours or days!

Photo by i eated a cookie

So, what’s special about hackathons?

  • You get to know people who share the same interests
  • It might be your road to finding a co-founder for that startup you’ve been thinking of
  • You get to test your skills to the limit
  • Finally, you’ll get to see the Sun after months of shying away from the “outside”

Upcoming Hackathons

Hackathon in the Philippines

I’m very excited about this event because I will participate! If you think that you have the creative ingenuity and the patience under pressure to create an amazing web app in just six hours, then WebGeek DevCup wants you to show what you’ve got. WebGeek Philippines is inviting all web developers with an appetite for fun and excitement to join the WebGeek DevCup.

Date: August 25, 2012

Venue: Meralco Multi-Purpose Hall, Meralco Compound, Ortigas Center

Visit WebGeek DevCup for more info!

Disrupt SF Hackathon in San Francisco, California

If you are familiar with hackathons then I’m pretty sure that by now you’re fairly familiar with TechCrunch Disrupt events. Don’t miss your chance to join the next hackathon! Disrupt SF will be a 2-day hackathon, where only those who have a stout heart dare enter. If you’re somewhere near SF, then participate!

Date: September 8, 2012 to September 9

Venue: The Concourse at San Francisco Design Center – 635 Brannan at 8th Street, San Francisco, CA 94107

Visit TechCrunch for more info!

Here’s a good list I found of upcoming hackathons in the US.

Applications Born from Hackathons


GroupMe is a group messaging application that was built in under 24 hours through a hackathon. A couple of years back it was bought by Skype for $50 million.


Docracy is a free repository for legal documents, much like GitHub but for legal documents. The original plan was to just create a prototype of the idea, but Matt Hall and John Watkinson took home the first prize. After about seven months they were funded for $650k.

Plan Your Next Trip

Plan Your Next Trip is a web application that lets you choose your preferred destination and schedules your day for you!


Zaarly is a very successful service that was born from a hackathon, now funded with over $15 million, according to Business Insider.


Banjo‘s goal is to notify you when a friend is near, learn and share interests with people, and explore the world with its users!

Have an Awesome Idea that You’re Itching to Build?

I’m not saying that you should join a hackathon to actually create something, it’s just an event where you can mingle with people and have an extra boost of motivation to actually create.

If you want to feel the same pressure, why not start your own hackathon with friends? You can even invite other developers near you, or even the local colleges! In fact, I have heard of a company in the Philippines where every Friday, they hold a company-wide hackathon for their employees. Why not do the same?

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