Disrupt NY 2013 Wrap-Up
No, that picture doesn’t do TechCrunch Disrupt’s hackathon this weekend justice. With presentations and awards lasting nearly 4 hours, an incredible 183 projects submitted to HackerLeague, and over 500 people packed into a grand ballroom in Manhattan huddled over laptops, it’s by far the biggest hackathon I’ve ever been to. So many props and thanks need to be given to Leslie at TechCrunch for organizing and emceeing such an event. A few notes and highlights of my favorite hacks below.
Since I started as Foursquare’s Developer Advocate a few months ago, I’ve attended a decent handful of events giving API presentations and support, but this weekend was my biggest event yet. Still gotta work on my live coding skills, but if you want to see the little hack I threw together (do you need a haircut? the Foursquare API can tell you!), it’s up on GitHub.
Working through the night with some teams on API issues was surprisingly fun and was engaging enough to keep me awake (fine, the free pizza+beer they started serving didn’t hurt) (even though it was Coors). I thought I had been in touch with most teams there by the time I left around 3am (after tacos!), but I was amazed to find out that in a sea of sponsors that offered prizes (we didn’t) still a total of 17 apps used our API.
While we didn’t sponsor a prize, we did offer up some balls to the lucky 60 hackers or so that nabbed them up. You can say they were a hit (skip to 4:17 for the good stuff) (and the pun).
What do you think we should give away at future events? More balls? Or back to shirts?
Below are some of my favorite projects for various reasons, either for using the Foursquare API or just being a badass hack. Kudos to all the teams that went and presented though. At first I was skeptical that just having a hack and presenting on stage got you two free Disrupt conference tickets… but I now see they’re totally deserved.
Obviously gotta give props to the first-place winning team. Rambler visualizes your credit card transactions over time on a map and incorporates the Foursquare API. Built by the fine folks at Plaid. Best of luck on the big stage, gents!
Learn to Drive
The amazing thing about this hack wasn’t its do-good mentality, utilization of text-to-speech, or its fancy statistical logging, but the fact that it was built by a team of high school students. This is the second hackathon I’ve been to now where high school students have showed up and done a really fine job. I think it’s such a good thing that we’re in a community that is inclusive and encouraging their attendance—I only wish I was part of such a community when I was still in high school. The kids (yes I can say that) behind Learn to Drive definitely deserved their win of overall runner-up and nabbing one of the GM cash prizes.
Out of Bounds
This was one of my personal favorites that used the Foursquare API. Out of Bounds is essentially a system that allows venue managers on Foursquare to place a physical light (which was 3D printed!) in the window of their shop that lights up whenever there’s a Foursquare special going on. The obligatory Vine demo:
Built by Isabel! Tracks your gas usage in your GM car, and finds nearby gas stations on Foursquare when it knows you’re gonna be low. The second winner of GM’s cash prizes, she pretty much needed a bodyguard walking in Manhattan with her purse.
Conceived by a few Grouper employees, Bounce is going to be one of those apps that I’ll actually use long past when the hackathon ends. It solves the “paradox of choice,” which in laymen terms means when I’m with a group of people trying to settle on a place to go for dinner, it’ll take 5 seconds, not 45 minutes. (I’m looking at you, Sid. I don’t really care that the service was meh once. I just want to eat.)
Hang Out Later
Don’t have time to hang out now with people who are checked in nearby on Foursquare? Just Hang Out Later. The app gives you a centralized location to meet up later based on where everybody is around you. I’m sure there’s another paradox of choice thing in here somewhere too.
Loved this idea. A dating service that hides your profile pic first and unveils it slowly as you keep chatting with your connected stranger. It unveils your pic section by section now, wish it did something with blurring too.
StopBy is Foursquare Explore in your GM car! Explore what’s around you without even pulling out your phone. But probably pull over first at least.
Not what it sounds like. If you have one of those “all you need is one line of JS!” services, Script Injector lets easily put it on any artibrary web page to demo. I can see this being super useful given the prevalence of these types of services lately.
Much thanks to Ak and Anna for showing up to help out over the weekend! Had a great time, Disrupt. See you next time.