TADHack St Petersburg: Lessons we learned on TADHack 2017

by Pavel Katunin, Vlad Berkuta

Hi there, we are the team consists of two developers that  won 1st place in Saint Petersburg, and we would like to share some of our thoughts on the two days we participated in the Tad Hack. It was a great event and we had a chance to learn a lot of useful things from other participants. This is just a compilation of our own suggestions for the dos and don’ts of the hackathon. We hope that some of you will benefit from our review lessons we learned on TADHack.


This may be  obvious, but the right team is the most important thing for any hackathon. It doesn’t matter how big your team is, you just need to be on the same page and be sure that everybody is willing to complete what you came up with. Your goal is not to win (we didn’t even dream of imagining that we were going to win) your goal is to complete a working prototype which is not going to crash during the pitch. Only bring developers who can make a real impact to achieve your goal.

Do your homework

This was our downfall . We hadn’t collected information about sponsors’ APIs and hadn’t decided on what we were going to implement before the hackathon started. Again, do your homework. Before any hackathon, collect information about tools and APIs you are going to use and decide on what you are going to implement.

Development process

Tight deadlines are not the reason to get rid of issues tracker and git flow during the development. We created a Trello project, added some tasks and started implementing them one by one. We used  a Bitbucket project, and implemented every feature in a separate branch. This approach saves you time even if you have a 2-day competition.

Code freeze

Make some time before your pitch to do a code freeze, at least an hour. You need this time to run your prototype in the environment you going to use during the pitch. Run the use case from the beginning to the end, fix all bugs if needed, stub what hasn’t been implemented or can’t be showcased.


What you want to be a part of your pitch presentation:

  1. A high level project description
    1. Problem
    2. Solution
  2. One detailed use case to demonstrate how your customers are going to use your service, step by step
  3. Description of implementation of some cool feature
  4. Live showcase of your prototype

You should show your live showcase on the big screen so that everyone can see it, some guys tried to show their prototypes on a 4 inch phone display, obviously it was impossible for anyone to see those projects.  (On Mac OS you can use default QuickTime player to present your device screen)

Be honest, don’t say that your project is going to change the world if you don’t think so. Admit all issues, bugs and non-resolved problems you may have. (You had only 2 days for this! Everyone understands that.)

Our project

RomboApplication and service which provides safety while you are using taxi services. It collects information about the driver’s driving style. The mobile application runs on the customer’s device and is based on location services, heuristic and accelerometer generates a report during every ride, which can be sent to the driving department, service management and Rombo global data base. Description in more details can be found here.

Features implemented by us:

  1. Select ride destination
  2. Order a ride with Uber API
  3. Speed limit braking detection
  4. Send SMS to relatives when the passenger gets into the car using Apifonica

Our Last Thoughts

We had a lot of fun and would definitely participate in the next TADHack. This is a good chance to implement some ideas you have and create your own project while dealing with  such tight deadlines and with a specific mindset. We are going to continue to participate in hackathons and update our newsfeeds, please subscribe: Pavel’s twitter, Vlad’s twitter

Pavel KatuninVladwk.katunin@gmail.comhttps://github.com/pavelkatunin


Vlad BerkutaVlad2berkutvlad@gmail.comhttps://www.linkedin.com/in/berkuta