Today in APIs: Banglore Hosts Hackathon for Women

100 women attend hackathon in Bangalore. Tips on presenting a successful Hackathon Demo. Plus: LinkedIn's Network Visualization tool is heading for retirement, and a Singapore hackathon focused on improving commuter experience.

100 Women Attend Bangalore Hackathon

What's the secret to getting women involved in hackathons? The Anita Borg Institute has a great formula: partner with others and don't do it just once. In late July, the Institute held a hackathon in Chennai, with 25 women attending. Last week the group, in partnership with Venturesity, 'Girls in Tech' and Intuit, held another one in Bangalore, where attendance topped 100.

Bangalore ABI hackathon

As Shilpa Phadnis reports in the Times of India, the apps produced by the group covered a diverse array of objectives:

Some of the apps that the women developers worked on include Kaam Hain, an app project that will create a Platform to connect maids, cooks, drivers and low end job seekers with potential employers through human networking. E- Swaraj is a project driven by NGO which aims to use mesh of mobile and web technologies to create an intelligent system which will facilitate real time reporting of local issues such as electricity, water and transportation issues. Connect 4 a cause is an app that allows people to receive reminders & alerts on vaccination schedule.

Another part of the formula is acting on the fact that we are no longer at the dawn of the age of women in computer science. While there are plenty of vital projects geared to introducing girls and women to coding, some events need to be structured for those who need no introduction. This event was one of them: women came from Tesco, IBM, Microsoft, Dell, Cisco, PayPal and Intuit to build their apps.

Tips on Presenting a Successful Hackathon Demo

As hackathons evolve, strategies and tactics start to become increasingly complex, from how to select your team to how to design and approach your app, or whatever you are building. Now come some notes on the end game, the perfect demo. Brandon Kessler is the founder and CEO of ChallengePost, a company that helps people showcase their efforts. Writing in Techcrunch, he points out this is a critical and sometimes neglected phase that comes after often crazed sleepless nights. He suggests four key things to keep in mind. First, set the scene concisely by naming the problem in a way the audience will totally get it. As in: People hate math homework, so I created a robot that does it. Second, demo the project in working condition, in a way that shows what it does and which key components are complete. Third, sell the potential of the long term impact. Kessler offers a last counterintuitive tip:

Most hackathons require you to submit your projects online first so you get maximum exposure, and because judges use the platform to determine finalists. Start early as it will pay dividends and help you crystallize your thoughts. Like your verbal demo, a great online presentation will describe the problem you’re solving, show what the hack specifically does, and highlight its potential impact.

And then after it's over, keep updating the project to keep your fans close.

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