Over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending the second annual Hack2o in Willmar. There were 20 some guys who met to code. The event started with a dinner and ideation on Friday. The attendees were mostly students – the youngest was 9th grade, there were a few from Ridgewater College, a few from St Cloud State, a few recent graduates and a handful of folks from the work field.
Saturday we gathered again – more brainstorming, selection of projects, got into teams and took off. We started with a list of 5 topics. By 9:30 some ready-make solutions had been found for some those topics so some new ones got added. The teams mostly worked on their focus projects but there was some crossover help too.
I have PowerPoints and videos of the presentations that each team gave so you can get the details there. They came up with some cool things. But from an engaged observer, it was fun to see everyone work together and learn something new. On the first day we asked everyone what they wanted to learn – my favorite answer was socialization! That being said, it was a very collegial group.
On a typical team, one guy knows the server environment, one guy knows graphics and someone else knows everything in between and not only does everyone bring a talent, they really teach everyone else at least a little bit about how the best tools of their trade. Or maybe the whole team is taking on a new tool – then there’s one person driving while the others are looking up solutions on Google. In fact someone pointed out that over the weekend there was a lot of trial and error and about a billion Google searches.
These guys work late and get up early to start it all over again. We heard from Jennie-o about what they look for in IT staff. (Experience with legacy software is a plus!) It would have been a good opportunity for more employers to come check out the local talent. (That’s a hint for anyone who does hire IT staff – look for local hacks!) And it would have been nice to have a few women show up. We’ll have to work on that for next year.
Otherwise it was a great weekend, meeting a great group or guys and be really impressed with their processes and projects. The hack was hosted by Ridgewater College, MinnWest, Kandiyohi County EDC, Work Up (local coworking space), Blandin Foundation and RITA Consortium.
I think you can find contact info for the attendees on their PPTs below – but (especially if you are employer) I can help you track down someone if need be.)
(*note I am missing one video and will add it ASAP)