Creating a product from scratch is amazing. But you might know that feeling. You’re in love with a new idea, dive straight into it and somehow your passion drifts slowly away, other things are coming across and you just can’t invest the time you actually want to into your little project. It would be amazing if you could just focus on your idea for some time and hide all the other things.

Well if you sometimes feel like that, you should do exactly the same thing that I did last weekend. I’ve visited an hackathon. And this was amazing! Interested in that experience? Then grab your reading glasses, and let’s explore!

A weekend dedicated to execution

I think that’s the best way to describe this experience. A weekend dedicated to execution. But let’s start at the beginning.

Some weeks ago I’ve decided to participate at the Inno{Hacks} Hackathon in Karlsruhe with a friend. We came there on Saturday morning, brainstormed some ideas and got to know a lot of awesome guys. After the presentation of the APIs, it was team time. So after a few minutes, all people with an idea could pitch that and I’ve decided to do that! The idea? Creating interactive stories with Amazon Alexa! But doing that in a very natural and open way is pretty hard to achieve. And after some time we got to know that.

Getting started

We found a pretty nice team with 5 people. Each of them very talented, smart and creative with different strengths and focuses. So, now we had 24 hours of coding and creating in front of us. Amazing! But where to start? Actually, it was pretty hard to start somewhere with all the possibilities and ideas we’ve had. But after some while, we defined some criteria for a little MVP and developed that one in the first few hours. Magically, some hours in the work, the plan, and the product was clear, tasks were distributed and we were ready for taking off! Oh, I’ve decided to be responsible for our sample story, the front end and all the UX aspects including UX writing and the voice design! Amazing experience!

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Hacking through the night with the team

The night is dark and full of terrors

In the night our team got a little smaller. We were very good in time and decided to focus on some different things and extensions for the presentation. Two of us worked through the complete night (including myself) and polished every little detail we’ve found.

In the morning we did some final changes to bring everything together in the last hour. Then we’ve encountered a very big problem. Audio encoding. Damn, I hate encoding errors. Those are the worst! Fortunately, we could solve them 10 minutes before the presentation and everything went well!

An amazing weekend, with an amazing end

We heard 14 pitches in total and all of them were packed with amazing ideas and wonderful products! Thanks to the amazing organization of the Hackerstolz Team we could focus on the things we’ve wanted to accomplish and created amazing prototypes. Every team! Oh, and by the way, the provided food was brilliant! Never expected such a feast!

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Pitching our project

The last thing on such an event? Price ceremony! And guess what… We have won an amazing price in one of the categories! This was and is still so amazing! We’ve never imagined that because there were so many teams deserving on of the prices. But we are really thankful for the decision of the judges! Thank you! For everything!

Now what?

Well after such a weekend I really deserve some sleep, first of all! But honestly, thanks to every single one of my team members, the participants, the organizers, the supporters and the judges. It was an amazing event! We’ve discussed afterward in the team and will definitely try to continue the work on the prototype. Let’s see where things are heading!

You can check out all the impressions on the flickr album here.


Oh, little side note here. First of all, thank you for reading that blog post! If you have any questions feel free to contact me on Twitter! I will try to stick to my bi-weekly blog post routine but in addition to that, I will try to publish some mini insights from university and stuff that goes through my head. Until then, keep creating awesome stuff!