Here's what teams are trying at the Sydstart hackathon

A panorama of the hackathon at SydStart

The SydStart hackathon is on, and competitors have until 2pm on Friday to create something using the Freelancer API – phone apps, web apps, plug ins etc.

An API is a set of programming instructions that allow developers to build products that interact with other services. The Twitter API, for example, allows a developer to build an app that can write a tweet or follow someone.

When it comes to Freelancer, developers could build something that leverages the multitudes of freelancers on the site, or they could try and tweak the site itself, making it more user friendly.

The first team I approached were strangers at the start of the day. Alison is a translator, June just finished university, and Vincent is a marketer.

From left: Alison, June and Vincent

Based on Alison’s experience in translation, they have decided to build a Freelancer-based marketplace for translators called Langpia.

Alison says there are lots of problems when hiring translators, especially online.

The problem is the screening process, as companies can’t really get a good idea of how competent a translator will be, or if they have the right skills for the job.

And Vincent has experienced this first-hand when trying to buy content online.

“I use a lot of content marketplaces but I’ve never done it online” says Vincent.

The three aren’t as technically inclined as some of the other groups, but are counting on Vincent for front-end development, and Alison’s history in computer science.

The next team I approached are Zia and Will. Zia is a co-founder of a travel startup called AFTR and Will is a coder. They are trying to add a functionality to Freelancer itself: teams.

Zia and Will are trying to make it easier to form Freelancer teams

“Freelancer is great but it can also be quite isolating” explains Zia.

She says there are number of jobs that have been posted on Freelancer that could benefit from Freelancers being able to pool resources and expertise.

“Obviously you need a raft of skills to do those projects, you need collaboration”.

All of the concepts from the hackathon will be pitched at 2pm on Friday, with the judges handing out $50,000 in prizes.

The winner will get $25,000 in cash and some credit for Amazon Web services.

Teams will retain ownership of what they have created so they can pursue commercialisation themselves, but a condition of entry is that Freelancer receives a royalty free copy.

Staff explained Freelancer wouldn’t commercialise the product, but they would like to take a look at the code.

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