Chao Lam

Working on the next small things …

Yahoo! Hack Day

with 2 comments

Attending Yahoo! Hack Day was a big learning experience (really enjoyed Doug Crockford‘s talk), but I would be lying if I said I wasn’t disappointed that we didn’t win one of the coveted awards 🙂

A day after, here are some lessons I learned about giving demos at Hack Day:

  • Don’t do any set up – go directly to show what’s cool really about the hack”. I was given the best advice I didn’t take 5 minutes before giving my demo. Wished I’d met the guy earlier.
  • Allocate buffer time for Murphy’s Law. In my case, stage fright and fumbling with the wireless mic while struggling to type lost me precious seconds. Sorry, Weiwen, I should have shortened my script!
  • Focus on what’s novel, clever and cool, not necessarily something blandly useful. Clips on maps are perhaps a little too obvious, and we did shameless rip off Flickr’s geotagging UI.
  • Have fun giving the demo and show everyone a good time. What can I say? I got a C for “play” in Kindergarten!
  • Go “with the grain” of the event. Yahoo! had released a couple of new potentially game-changing APIs: BBAuth and Mail. Those were probably the low-hanging fruit areas to look into. If you’re new to this sort of event, don’t be one of the first presenters, see how others do it and maybe I should have attend the Beck concert too?

As to the main issue: is it compelling to have clips on maps? I’m still mulling this over. This event certainly wasn’t a validation of the concept. On the other hand, I’m still excited by the concept and I’m darn proud of what we accomplished.

Thanks to Chad, Brad and all the folks at Yahoo! for inviting me to Hack Day.

Written by Pseudonymous

October 1, 2006 at 12:42 pm

Posted in Uncategorized

2 Responses

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  1. Bah! Don’t fret about it. There’s always next time (Oh yeah, and that “Jump right into your hack” thing? I almost never remember to follow my own advice either.)

    For what it’s worth, I liked your hack. Glad you had fun!


    October 1, 2006 at 6:20 pm

  2. […] Chao Lam’s Hack Day Advice […]

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