How To Survive A Hackathon

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[credit provider=”Boonsri Dickinson, Business Insider”]

After spending all weekend at AngelHack, I learned a few things on how to build a product from scratch. Here’s what to do at a hackathon:

1. Get a team: Ideally, you will find a designer, front end engineer, back end engineer, and a project manager. But sometimes you won’t get that lucky, so it’s OK to be missing a few spots.

2. Pitch your ideas: Try to solve a problem. Don’t say Pinterest of x, or Airbnb of x, or Facebook of x.

3. Settle on an idea: It may not be the best idea, but it has to be something everyone is excited about. It’s OK to fight, but make sure you don’t lose too many people in the process.

4. Split up the work: Don’t try to do it all yourself.

5. Use available APIs and open source projects: Don’t put in the hard work when others may have. For instance, you could use Phonegap to turn HTML into a phone app.

6. Do market research: It doesn’t hurt to “ask” what other people are working on too, so you can see who your competition is.

7. Listen to your stomach: Eat pizza and all the other crappy food.

8. Take a break: If the sun is out and you haven’t seen the light of day, it’s probably a good time to go for a walk. Save the Red Bull for later.

9. Don’t sleep: The code isn’t going to write itself. Even if your other team members decide to go out drinking, you might feel better if you just stay in and focus.

10. Build a working prototype: There will be bugs. Don’t freak out. The important thing is to show how it works.

11. Pitch well: Give some context as to why you’re building it or what problem you’re solving.

And remember to have fun and talk to other teams.

You never know what could happen. Zaarly was first built at a hackathon, and has now raised more than $15.1 million in funding.