Guide to TADHack Global 2019

TADHack LondonThis weblog provides a guide to TADHack Global 2019. TADHack Global is a hackathon where locations round the world run in parallel over a weekend. TADHack helps people learn about the latest Internet, IT, and Telecoms technologies; and use those technologies to solve problems that matter to them.

Past hacks have included programmable telecoms (voice, video, messaging), internet of things, cloud computing, robotics, machine learning, speech and face recognition, mobile payments, enterprise communications, decentralized web, blockchain, encryption, open source, and many other technologies. Check out previous years’ hacks from 2018, 2017, 2016, 2015 and 2014.

TADHack is for Everyone: its an event where people (e.g. students, graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, product managers, IT Managers, coders and non-coders, interested individuals, and subject-matter-experts) collaborate on a software project. Occasionally, there is a hardware component, for example we’ve had some impressive IoT (Internet of Things) hacks over the years, including a dancing robot.

Some important points in the above paragraph are:

  • You do not need to be a coding expert to take part, TADHack is for everyone.
  • A hack, is a software project. Its an idea (we’ll come back to how to get ideas later in this weblog), a demonstration of part of that idea, and as importantly a presentation – a pitch of the hack. You do not need to have a complete demonstration, just a bit of it. The idea and its presentation is just as important as the demonstration.
  • We have few technical restrictions, the formal hackathon rules are here, you can use whatever language and APIs you like, and your preferred development tools. We only ask the hack includes at least one of the global sponsors’ resources. The more sponsor’s you mash-up the more chances to win.

How do I prepare?

1) Check out the Locations section on the main TADHack Global page, click on the location you can attend and then click on the register button. Else you can always take part remotely, so click on Remote in the Location section and register there. You’re now on the TADHack Global 2019 list!

2) Next review the TADHack Global Sponsor’s technologies. From the main TADHack Global page scroll down to the Developer Resources section and click on each of the Sponsors’ names to read about their resources. We’ll be updating these sections with challenges and more information in the coming months.

3) And finally remember to set your alarm the night before TADHack 🙂

How do you get an idea for a hack?

This is the question that puts many people off taking part in a hackathon. Some people are fortunate to just be constantly having ideas. For most of us however, the act of trying to come up with an idea chases them all away from our mind.

The secret for a successful hack is to think about all the problems you see in your life and those of friends, family, colleagues, and community. We all have problems in our lives and thinking about them is easy. As you consider those problems, have a think about how the sponsors’ technologies can help you solve those problems.

I guarantee after you do this a few times, you’ll have several ideas to choose from. And best of all they will be ideas you care about, check out this one from Justin at TADHack-mini Orlando, it was a personal challenge he faced in his life so it mattered intensely to him.

The usual flow of a TADHack on Day One is:

  • Please note every location is different, this is just a general guide, check your specific TADHack location for details.
  • 10AM people start arriving and getting to know everyone.
  • 11AM most people have arrived, the ice is broken, people are discussing ideas, understanding the sponsors’ technologies, and the noise level jumps up considerably. We usually have a few short videos to introduce TADHack, some celebrity speakers, and the sponsors’ resources. You must include at least one of those resources to win a prize.
  • Your location leaders  welcome everyone
  • Then we play from the TADHack Resources playlist my welcome, and the Global sponsors (Simwood, TeleSign, and VoIP Innovations) present their technologies.
  • Local sponsors present their technologies at the location they are sponsoring, for example hSenid Mobile in Chicago.
  • Q&A
  • Noon – Lunch
  • 1-6PM – quiet, people are settling into turning their ideas into reality, getting to know the APIs, SDKs, GUIs, and setting up environments.
  • 6-8PM people start to break, relax as they can see what is required to complete their hack, and start to network again while others continue in quiet concentration.
  • 8PM wrap-up, some leave with the look of a long night ahead of them, while others are ready for a drink. Though some locations run through the night, so check your location page to confirm timings.

Then on Day Two:

  • Please note every location is different, this is just a general guide, check your specific TADHack location for details.
  • Slow ramp up through the morning, by lunch everyone is there and the noise level rises.
  • We kick off the pitches normally by 2PM. Usually most people want to go later in the running order, usually there are a few that are ready to go first.
  • Pitches are the great reveal, the ideas and applications are always interesting and stimulating. We stream the pitches live and record them for later viewing. You are can give your pitch in your local language and have someone repeat every couple of sentences into English. You can see how this works at TADHack-mini Japan.
  • We try to spread the prizes as widely as possible, even if you do not win a prize there are lots of other benefits, see below.
  • We then wrap-up the weekend with some drinks and snacks to congratulate everyone, and the discussions move onto next steps, as we encourage everyone involved to take their hack into a real service and perhaps even build a business around it.

Who gets involved in TADHack?

  • Web developers learning about the latest technologies;
  • Coders and non-coders (students, graphic designers, interface designers, project managers, product managers, IT Managers, interested individuals) discovering how easy its become to use new technologies – TADHack really is for everyone;
  • Enterprise IT – some basic scripting skills and cut ‘n’ paste is enough these days to build impressive hacks.
  • Analysts and other business types, people interested to experience the journey of discovery that is a TADHack weekend.
  • First-timers coming in to chat, learn and see what a hackathon is all about. Building confidence to hack at their next event. We have the highest return ratio of any hackathon as people enjoy being part of TADHack.
  • We also have young teenagers with their parent(s) take part, learning and building confidence and winning!

The benefits of being involved in TADHack include:

  • Learning – its a great opportunity to learn not only the sponsors’ technologies, but also tools and services you’ve discovered but simply not have time to play with;
  • Prizes and global recognition are always nice 🙂
  • Networking –  You’ll make new friends.
  • Have fun! We’re friendly, I know this may sound a little odd, but it is important to make people feel comfortable. Coming to an event, where there is no one you know is daunting. Here is a quote from one of the winners from TADHack-mini Orlando, ” I wanted to thank you again for organizing this event. I really enjoyed it and I felt very comfortable being there.”
  • Hiring – its a great place to discover impressive talent, and for students to find exciting local start-ups. Adding to your resume pitch video links showcases your creativity, development and presentation skills. People get great jobs through being involved in TADHack;
  • Business development – often people, teams, and sponsors discover they have common business interests with the people attending;

Below are some Q&A from old weblogs I include here as well.

Q) Who should participate in TADHack?
A) TADHack is for everyone, from hackers (coders), through hustlers (business people) to hipsters (designers).

Q) I’m not a developer, why should I join, what will I learn?
A) The focus of TADHack is learning about the latest technologies: guaranteed you’ll find this relevant to your life and work.

Q) What tools can I use? Who do I talk to about them?
A) Check out the sponsor’s developer resources on the main TADHack Global 2019 page. You can use your preferred programming language / environments. You can also use webhooks and a graphical user interface (GUI) with some of the resources to avoid coding all together. Plus join a diverse team with a mix of skills.

Q) Can my hack be something we are working on ahead of the weekend?
A) Yes, just let the sponsors know in your pitch.

Q) I am an individual, but want to find others to collaborate with. How do I do that?
A) Arrive early and chat with the sponsors and location leaders, let them know you’re looking to join a team.  They will help you. Also chat with other hackers,  some of the more experiences hackers will help form teams. And sometimes after chatting with the sponsors, you may decide you’re confident enough to go it alone. You do not have to be part of a team.

Q) When and where is TADHack Global?
A) TADHack Global 2019 runs over the weekend 12-13 October.

Q) What are Local and Global Prizes? How are they awarded?
A) Each location that creates 9 or more hacks has $1k in prize money from TADHack, plus some locations have additional prizes from local sponsors and partners. Hacks produced at a location are judged for the local prizes, those prizes are awarded at the end of that local event. BUT that is not all! Each of the global sponsors has $2k+ in global prize money they can allocate to any hack.

Q) How are the prizes awarded?
The people running each location decide who wins the local prizes, the global sponsors decide who wins their prizes. Their decisions are final. Its a recipe for success. We allow prizes to be split, for example a local prize could be split between 2 or 3 winners.

Q) When are all the winners announced?
A) The location winners are announced at the end of that location event. Then the global prizes are decided after all the locations have completed. We will have a live streamed event announcing all the local and all the global winners for everyone around the world to know, your moment of fame 🙂 We will do this on Monday October 14th at about 6PM CET. We used Hangouts on Air in the past, but that is not available anymore 🙁 This year we’re recording a video conference session then uploading it to YouTube.

Q) I plan to submit a remote entry, where am I judged?
A) All remote entries are judged for the global prizes. You’ll find out if you’ve won when we do the live stream announcement on Monday October 14th at 6PM CET.

Q) What is a pitch at TADHack?
A) Its where you explain and demonstrate your hack. One person or the whole team can give the pitch. The only strict limit is its 5 minutes maximum, unless you’re giving the pitch in your local language and its being translated in step to English. By in-step we mean you speak a few sentences, then someone else repeats in English. The recommended structure is:

  • Introduce you / the team (and team name if you have one)
  • Introduce the hack / showcase name and a brief description
  • List the sponsor’s resources used in the hack (which sponsors should judge your hack)
  • Explain the hack, can be done through a simple presentation / a little acting, whatever you / the team wants to do.
  • And, of course, a demo of what you created.

Q) How do I collect my prize if I win?
A) Do not worry, we’ll be in touch 🙂

Q) What if I have other questions?
A) Just add them in the comments section and we’ll answer them.