Finding And Building My Hackathon Team

Finding And Building My Hackathon Team

Finding And Building My Hackathon Team
When competing in a hackathon, the most crucial decision you can make over the course of the weekend, week or however long the event is, is not your coffee order or what socks you wear but who you choose as your teammate.

As hackathons will have moments of fun but also stress and frustration, it is crucial that you find people who at the very least can be relied upon to hand in a comprehensive presentation deck along with a working minimum viable product.

This type of balanced team can be made up of different types of people and personalities, however the key is that your team is made up of people with different backgrounds and thought processes to get the most diversified ideas.

Ideally, in hackathon terms, this can typically be one tech guru who lives and breathes code, a designer who can make things stand out, and a person who has a flare for speaking business terms and is able to identify the bottom line.

Lets deep dive a little bit more into these 3 types of personalities.

1) The Techie

This is a person who is usually (but not exclusively) a front-end developer, a back-end developer or a data scientist. It is always useful to have such a person in your team, as it allows the team to quickly check if the product they are ideating can be built.

It is useful if the Techie can use front-end developing languages such as CSS and HTML. These types of coding languages can be used for website development which is good to have alongside your MVP.

Back-end developing skills can be useful for building the central functions within the MVP itself. Will your idea be able to come to life, the back-end developer can help make this happen?

While the Techie provides immense value, they can only bring the product so far, it is the designer who can use their skills to make the product ‘pop’ in the eyes of the judges.

2) The Designer

This is the person who makes the MVP visually appealing to the judges. When you participate in a hackathon, you often have days to ideate, create and produce your product.

However you have a maximum of 10 minutes to present the product or MVP to the judges. That is why first impressions matter a lot, especially in a short and rapid presentation. It is human nature that something that is visually attractive will catch the eye, and this is clearly applicable to the hackathon judges who must make decisions in a short amount of time.

Unbiasedly it can be based on image. If the interface of the MVP or website is attractive to the eye and stylish in nature, you are likely to draw in the audience’s interest and hold it.

What makes designers useful in hackathons is that they can take something scrappy and rough and make it stylish and user friendly by adding colors, text, branding and making the innovative differentiators come to life in a visual way.

They can do this through brainstorming with the Techie as to find out what is possible and what the team wants to highlight as being the core features of the product to make it stand out amongst competitors.

3) The Business Head

In a hackathon, the final part of securing the interest of the audience and the judges is to sell the product in the most fitting way.

People don’t remember statistics and numbers. They remember stories and emotions.

This is where the business head within the team comes into play.

They should be a powerful storyteller and have an aptitude for selling a product.

They should be aware of all the key features of the product and how it is different to its competitors.

They should have good persuasion skills, be personable and clear, and have a natural aptitude .

The presentation deck will be a team effort. However, the business head should have a stronghold over the presentation flow and how to deliver the message with an impact. he business head should ideally also create a business plan, cost -benefit analysis, and competitor analysis..

Nobody will buy something that already exists in the same format.

  • What is new or what is different about this idea?
  • Why is the status quo not sufficient?
  • Is there an unmet need in the market?
  • How are you validating your hypothesis of the problem statement?
  • Is your target audience willing to pay for this product?

The business head needs to think through these questions carefully.

The business head, ideally, is a person who understands the intersection of technology and business.

They can translate technical language and product features into value propositions for different stakeholders.

They can simplify the technicalities of the product and explain it in a digestible manner.

But most importantly, they can tell a compelling story that leaves the audience inspired and convinced in the vision of the company.

Now that you know how to build a great hackathon team, come join us at Startup Weekend Global and meet your future co-founders!
October 12, 2021