Impressions from the Techsylvania Hackathon

The much awaited hackathon held on May 31st and June 21st in Cluj-Napoca attracted 10 of our colleagues, of which 2 decided to share their experiences with us.

The hackathon was followed on June 2nd by a conference where the winners were presented on stage and seasoned specialists lectured on hot topics on start-ups like How To Go From A Startup To Public Listed Company, Common Mistakes Made, The Story Of Expanding Across Europe And Beyond and Epic Failures – And What We Can Learn From Them.

We will next briefly present Paul’s and Remus’ impressions.

Paul:

Techsylvania started for me with the good old Hackathon. I’d never taken part in anything like this before. But in my mind I said ‘Yes’ before even knowing what is all about. Listening to the others’ pitches I realized the ideas would do a great deal of good to mankind if they were actually implemented: secure bank pin entering using the eyes, heart attack detector, educational live programmable solar system. My pitch went for fun: “a toy to tantalize your puppy”. The pitch made it into the final. The team included my pal Remus, a declared web fanatic, a programmable circuit boards addict, a Moldavian iOS developer and a sys-admin from Moldova. What followed is less of a foggy coffee/coke/beer veiled memory than a tremendous experience of what a group of determined people can achieve in a very short time.

A truly amazing experience!

We won the Twitter special prize and were invited to the conference (powered by Fortech) about startups. That’s a whole different world, waiting to drown you under its menacing weight and raise you covered in more gold than you have ever dreamed of!

Remus:

For me, the Hackathon was definitely a new experience. I had the chance to do programming in a different way than I normally would do at work, so it certainly took me out of my comfort zone. But it was much more than that.
This Hackathon was about connected and wearable devices, so I was able to touch lots of devices I hadn’t even heard about. Google Glass, Oculus Rift, LEAP Motion, Jawbone UP, Sphero, I-Beacons are a few illustrative examples.

Colleagues who had attended such an event before advised me to go prepared technology-wise, with a team formed in advance and a clear idea of the project and to sleep well the night before. Of course, all these suggestions proved worthless.

When I arrived, the competitors were already pitching in their ideas. We heard some colorful ideas, some practical ideas, some feasible ideas taking the time constraint into account and some rocket science ideas. I didn’t have anything in mind at this particular point and just went with the current to see what can be done. I decided to join forces with Paul, since his idea sounded both doable and fun. The project barely passed the first elimination round, but after that team members showed up almost like out of nowhere, so we got to work. Coffee, coke, code. It’s morning. Coffee, coke, code. We’re done.

All in all it was an intense weekend and I enjoyed seeing that the effort we put into it was rewarded.

 

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