Wednesday, 5 November 2014

My Experience at Garage48 kampala

Garage48 was a hackathon that I attended pretty much one of my first involved hackathons. The hackathon involved pitching ideas, then attendees had to chose which teams to be part of. I pitched an idea and I was lucky to have gotten people to join me to make a team. Thanks to the geniuses Sarah, Benjamin and Kevin because we shared the passsion of the weekend together. The idea we implemented was a software market that uses mobile money as a payment method. We gave it a code name “Macerdo”  which is a spanish word to mean “market”.
After the pitches, the idea owners stood near their chats waiting for people to join them for the next 48 hours. This was the chart for the Macerdo team with stickies bearing the names for the team members.

Mercado-The Uganda software store
Well this session ended and there we were; the count down for the 48 hours began. Where the actual hacking began.

These 48 hours were the most fun for me. The idea of working with people you just met at the hackathon was so interesting. We brainstormed our scope for the weekend as a team and began hacking. We all and by all I mean all of us on the team worked so hard to have the macerdo product in the 48 hours. These hours were full of passion,hardwork and fun  because we looked at it as a time for us to make history. I think of all the code I have ever written , I value the code I wrote during this time because you had to look for the fasted solution for the problems you were to solve in order to have a viable product in the 48 hours.

What stood out most for me was not the product we came up with at the end. It was the fact that people that just met for those few hours could cooperate and actually have such milestones.This was epic.During these few hours we did not have time to focus  attention on our diffrences as a team but our focus was on the product we wanted to have. It was more than passion because different team members even switched to roles they were not familiar with just to deliver this was even good because they learnt something new as they switched to those unconfortable roles. Not only did we learn how to work in different roles , we also interfaced new technologies ; some team members got to learn how to work with sinatra since it was their first time to use it. As if that was not enough we even spent the whole saturday night hacking to get our product done. Now personally if my mum heard I slept in a code lab hacking; she will confiscate my laptop  for atleast a week to teach me a lesson.If you are reading this dont tell her am not in the moods of not having my computer for a week.

There was generally a lot to learn from the hackathon from technical skills all the way to the entrepreneual skills. I learnt how  to pitch an idea ; this has never been fun for me but now I feel the next time am called upon to pitch I will be glad to. We learnt that software is built for the people and if you want them to enjoy using your software ; then you have to talk to them as you develop to get feedback that helps in improving the product; even in those few hours we had to talk to the people who are potential users for the products we built. This has really shaped my operations after the event. I have made a schedule to meet some relevant people to the projects am working on.

We also learnt how to market and used this skill perfectly to create publicity for our product infact , we beat all the teams at the hackathon in marketing because we had the most likes. In otherwards we were the most liked team during garage48 kampala by the public. If you doubt this we have proof.

Special thanks to the garage48 team and all its sponsors for such a resourceful event we cant thank you more.

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