It's not much about the product that you finish but about the experience of doing a Hackathon.
Can you introduce yourself to our community?
Hi, I'm Tom Haywood, I'm from Melbourne and I just graduated from Le Wagon Melbourne with batch #348!
Why did you decide to do this hackathon?
I know some people studying code and computer science who are doing Hackathons as an extra-curriculum activity, so I looked it up on Google if there were some I could join. Even if a lot of them got canceled because of the virus, there were also a lot of global ones. After I found the 'Hack the Crisis Australia', I just sent a message on my batch's channel on Slack to see who would be interested to join with me, and that's how the team was formed!
Can you explain the process of the event?
First, you register either alone or as a team, online. The sign-up process was a bit weird to be honest because there is not much information. Then, we got added into a Slack, where we received more details. At 6pm on the day of the Hackathon, we had a kick-off session on Zoom, where we were given all the instructions. It was really open: we could do any product as long as it was related to health and wellness during the COVID-19 crisis!
Can you introduce the product of your team?
We decided to go with something related to mental health and socialization
because everyone felt pretty lonely.
It was quite difficult to come up with a product as a team as the instructions were very broad. We decided to go with something related to mental health and socialization because everyone felt pretty lonely, and because it's something that affects us a lot as well. But even if we knew that it was the path we wanted to go down, it took us a while to decide on the actual product: Iso Court. It is a remote court system that enables you and your friends to be kept accountable for your action, meaning that both the health of the community, and the mental health of the individual are taken care of. Instead of being an entirely negatively focused interaction based on dobbing people in, users are encouraged to provide intelligent and fun "penalties" to their group members which will help them build steady routines, focus on the positive aspects of life, and benefit their mental health.
What was the best moment? What was harder?
The best part was definitely getting back into coding and working with people again, since we were pretty isolated since the beginning of the crisis. It felt like Le Wagon's project weeks of the bootcamp, but on steroids. The most difficult part was definitely to delegate work, as the product evolved a lot during the process. We also have regrets regarding the front-end part... We needed to work a lot on the structure of the app and on the back-end, so we didn't have time to make it look very pretty and finished. That's probably the thing we would change for next time.
Would you recommend people to join a similar event?
And if you feel like you don't have enough tech skills to build everything, there are still a lot of things you can help with (design, Figma, pitch, idea process...)
I would definitely recommend it. It's fun, it's a great creative outlet and a great pretext to code. It's not much about the product that you finish but about the experience of doing a Hackathon. If you don't feel like joining because you don't have a team, you can team up with other people joining by themselves. And if you feel like you don't have enough tech skills to build everything, there are still a lot of things you can help with (design, Figma, pitch, idea process...). We've been told that the best team are actually the ones with one tech person, one marketing person and one design person, so the skills are very well split. So you will always have something you can help within your team!