From Purdue University to the University of Toronto and many
more, hundreds traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan for a chance to
compete at the fist international
event. Co-hosted by Facebook (NASDAQ:
) at the University of Michigan, MHacks 2013 drew hundreds of
eager hackers from all over the United States and Canada. "We
have over 500 university students that have been brought to
University of Michigan's campus," Daniel Friedman, Director of
Fundraising for MHacks, told Benzinga. "In the span of the 36
hours, they're here to build Web and mobile applications, so
they're essentially programming the whole time. They form teams
of typically two to four people, and after the 36 hours they're
going to present to a panel of judges in order to win prizes and
Friedman, who is a senior at the University of Michigan,
boasted about the opportunity that students will have to showcase
"We're setting up a room where every hack is going to have its
own table," he said. "People can go around and essentially
showcase all their hacks to the different sponsors and judges.
From that expo showcase, the top 10 hacks will be chosen. Those
top 10 will be presented to everyone, and we'll be awarding the
top three jury grand prizes. Facebook is giving away $1,500 for
the top prize, and I believe the top three all have interviews
with three venture capital firms, including Lightbank and Detroit
To design a great program that really stands out, Friedman
recommends that hackers develop something that people can
"Something that would help out the common man consumer," he
said. "We're not really pitching to enterprises as much as
consumers here at the hackathon, so I think something for the
Next, hackers should create a program that actually works --
and one that solves a real problem. "When we look at it, the
companies that survive and are able to have a sustainable
competitive advantage are the ones that are able to innovate and
actually solve people's problems," said Friedman. "Whether
putting that at a lower price point or differentiating their
product to make it useful above a competitor or starting
something really new and creating a market for that.
"I think that really solving the problem is the main testament
to will this hack survive and can they build something of good
use that will be judged well and can continue on through a
startup or a business."
Finally, hackers should brace themselves for a nearly
"We had an open nap room in the basement where we had a few
airbeds, blankets, pillows, things like that," said Friedman.
"Probably about 200 people will literally fall asleep on their
desk for a few hours. But we have Red Bull coming in, food,
energy drinks, so we're going to keep them as awake as possible,
because at the end of the 36 hours, there's going to be some
great hacks. You don't want to sleep through that."
"If they can get it done in 36 hours, have something ready,
create something from start to finish, that's the best way that
they're gonna win the prize and fit the rules best," Friedman
(c) 2013 Benzinga.com. Benzinga does not provide investment
advice. All rights reserved.
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