Hackathons: Not Just For Hackers

theman Blog

Read this article now! This is great. Three more things you need to do:

(1) Participate in Hackathons in whatever capacity you can, when you can.

(2) Follow:
Andrew Mager on Twitter: Hacker Advocate at @Spotify.

(3) Who else and what other events should I follow? Hit me on Twitter.

At this point I am an intermediate hacker. I do PHP, HTML, CSS… a little this, a little that. And at heart I’m a Business Type. The two together have let me participate in multiple technical specifications, and enabled me to vet dozen of Web music apps around each SF MusicTech Summit. In 2011 alone I wrote proposals to completely redesign two “vintage” Web music tech properties. These are expensive endeavors that have not come to fruition as of yet, but the opportunity to participate has been invaluable.

It was fun seeing myself in a little bit of every person Andrew writes about in his article….

Designer: Forget your fancy wireframe software! I have made sharpy and cardboard UI’s that have made engineers say, “I want in on this one”. Do you see a missing button? I vetted the new Facebook App for musicians developed by Dan Peachy called “Chat With the Band.” I could not tell if my Web cam microphone was working. I suggested, “A VU meter would be great right under this button.” Three days later it appeared. Bingo! Side lesson: help people out – even if you don’t get a job out the gate, you at least get the reward of helping them…and often, a new friend.

Business minds: I can network with the best of ‘em and I can connect the dots. And, you can too. What product needs what partners? What type of integrations are needed? I can’t tell you how many engineers need some gentle help and pointers. Participate in your community. Give and it may give back.

Marketing sharks/product ninjas: Product! That’s your vision of design, the flow of the product, the virality, the needed marketing channels. You don’t have a resume full of “Product Manager” jobs? Me neither! Get together with engineers and use caveman, sign language, dance moves, you name it to get your point across! Sometimes you need patience, sometimes what you thought was a fit, is not. Keep searching for your dream team that values your insights and input.

What are your strengths? Dreams? Does Andrews article empower you? You dig music? I do!

I’m also a salesman so I got to add one more “to do”: come and meet like minded people like yourself at the 2/13 SF MusicTech Summit. Use code promotoddtate for 20% off. Check out NARM’s “Music Startup Academy” use code ‘ msa-toddtate’ for 20% off. Music Hack Day is full but you can get on the wait list.

The time to motivate is now. Digital music is moving into a very exciting phase.