• HackerNest posted an article
    A short podcast interview on why you should or shouldn’t run a hackathon! see more

    HackerNest has produced very many hackathons, and we're here to tell you things that many wont. Check out this 50 minute interview by the Developer Marketing Podcast (run by SlashData) where Shaharris (HackerNest CEO and quarterback for all the banner hackathons that we have run) talks about why you should or shouldn’t run a hackathon! This topic comes up all the time and groups, companies, individuals are running a whole gambit of them around the world - unfortunately, although many look spectacular, the net effect of these programming competitions and the goals sought by the producers fall short. 

    Very rarely do you see a hackathon producer (we’ve run them in dozens upon dozens of cities around the world in the last decade) take a contrarian stance and actually tell you to avoid them if your goals don’t align with what these programming competitions actually produce!



    From Slashdata:


    Shaharris, CEO of HackerNest joins us on our first episode of season 2 to discuss hackathons. He talks about the benefits of running a hackathon, the reasons why you shouldn't run a hackathon and what aspects make a group of developers a real community.


    Here’s a fleshed out 12 reasons public hackathons fail (Disclaimer: No flowery language or elegant arguments; just a list of reasons why your company/organization shouldn't run public innovation hackathons.) that’ll give you more insight into the gaps in this overhyped innovation method! 


    1 Hackathons don't solve important or persistent problems

    2 Output isn't likely to be "something amazing"

    3 Winners aren't always winners; cheating is common

    4 Hackathons are wasteful, inefficient, and demoralizing

    5 (Good) Hackathons get expensive

    6 Judges don't have magical skills

    7 Judging is pretty ridiculous

    8 Hackathon demo and judging processes are usually an afterthought

    9 Participants aren't experts; mentors can only help so much

    10 The overwhelming majority of teams don't (plan to) survive the weekend

    11 IP is handled really, really awkwardly. And badly

    12 Hackathons aren't great for ideation


    Many of the people at our Tech Socials have also participated in and mentored at hackathons (both ours and others!). Meet them at one of our events!! Here’s our list of Tech Socials and also a short read on why it’s easy to make friends there.

  • HackerNest posted an article
    HackerNest is pleased to announce a fantastic new partnership with the U.S. Department of State to p see more

    HackerNest is pleased to announce a fantastic new partnership with the U.S. Department of State to produce their Fishackathon global hackathon series. To see the U.S. Department of State’s original, full release, click here.


    The U.S. Department of State’s Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships (S/GP) is pleased to announce a new partnership with HackerNest, a nonprofit organization and movement that builds local tech communities worldwide, to carry forward Fishackathon.
    First organized by S/GP to coincide with the “Our Ocean” conference in 2014, Fishackathon is a public-private partnership hackathon that aims to capitalize on the expansion of digital solutions to address sustainable fishery challenges. Hundreds of technologists and entrepreneurs around the world spend a weekend competing to build practical tech solutions to endemic problems defined by fisheries experts. Panels of distinguished judges evaluate these demos to select winners from each participating Fishackathon city, awarding the very best team the coveted Global Grand Prize.


    Five cities across the United States took part in Fishackathon’s first year. By its third year, Fishackathon had expanded its reach to aquariums, tech hubs, and participants in more than 40 international cities. Fishackathon 2016: The third annual hackathon series was in 43 cities, 27 countries, 6 continents.


    A veteran producer of blockbuster cause-hackathons with partners that include Facebook, Airbnb, and the UK and Canadian Governments, HackerNest has run tech community-building events in 33 cities across 14 countries on five continents. The organization’s global reach and mission of economic development through tech proliferation make it uniquely well-positioned to continue growing the Fishackathon crowd-sourcing model and brand.


    HackerNest and S/GP will launch Fishackathon 2017 on the weekend of November 18-19 in celebration of World Fisheries Day on November 21.


    For more information, please visit—

    Fishackathon: fishackathon.co | @Fishackathon

    HackerNest: hackernest.com | @HackerNest | fb.me/HackerNest

    Secretary’s Office of Global Partnerships: state.gov/s/partnerships | @GPatState | fb.me/GPatState

    For media inquiries, please contact Anita Ostrovsky at OstrovskyA@state.gov or HackerNest at fishackathon@hackernest.com.

  • HackerNest posted an article
    Inspiring. Amazing. Brilliant. This is DementiaHack - the world's foremost dementia hackathon. see more

    Inspiring. Amazing. Brilliant. These are just a few of the words our attendees used to describe the third DementiaHack on March 4-5 in Toronto.

    At a completely sold out, standing room only event at MaRS Discovery District, over 300 participants forming more than 60 teams worked for two straight days to craft and create tech solutions to problems facing the dementia community. In attendance were co-chairs Jordan Banks of Facebook Canada, and Kevin McGurgan of the British Consulate, and Toronto Mayor John Tory to help kick off the event.

    Split into four challenge sets, DementiaHack was once again the place to be for anyone passionate, interested, and curious about how to improve the lives of people living with dementia, their caregivers, healthcare professionals, and researchers.

    Mayor John Tory delivered the opening remarks at MaRS! Then an esteemed roster of Mentor Judges adjudicated the Science Fair Demos to choose the best of the best from each challenge set.

    The challenge set winners then performed a live, on-stage demo to the entire crowd of their peers and VIPs including VCs, heads of industry, and subject matter experts. Each team was given 3 minutes to demo, and 2 minutes for questions from the judges. The Finals Judging panel consisted of leaders from the dementia and Alzheimer’s community and Toronto’s tech ecosystem.




    Finals Judges


    David Weigelt  |  Vice President, Innovation, Home Instead Senior Care

    Gerry Gallagher  |  Acting Director General, Centre for Chronic Disease Prevention, Public Health Agency of Canada

    Dr. John Preece  |  Sector Development Officer, Life Sciences, City of Toronto

    Megh Gupta  |  Senior Associate, OMERS Ventures

    Phyllis Fehr  |  Board Member, Ontario Dementia Advisory Group

    Robin Tooр  |  Chief Technology Officer, HackerNest

    Ron Riesenbach  |  Managing Director, Canadian Centre for Aging and Brain Health Innovation

    Salim Teja  |  Executive Vice President, Ventures, MaRS Discovery District



    List of winners here:


    Grand Prize Winner


    Memo is a personal assistant that passively collects and analyzes patient data through natural voice. Memo also collects the frequency of patient’s repeated questions allowing researchers to measure the patient’s cognitive ability.


    Challenge Set 1 Winners

    Bright Guide is a cognitive assistance tool that helps families tend to persons living with Dementia. Bright Guide provides secure audio-video recording and playback to create instructions for activities of daily living. This reduces caregiver stress for having to repeatedly verbalize caregiving steps. In earlier years of Dementia the care recipient can use this system independently.


    Challenge Set 2 Winners

    Rescue is the dependable and ultra-responsive go-to platform providing the professional care giving service sought by primary and often sole caregivers for their loved ones struggling with mid to late stage dementia in a moment’s notice. The platform can also provide on-demand help for institutions who may need a skilled PSW to fill in at the last minute.


    Challenge Set 3 Winners

    Connect Dem is a platform that connects volunteers who are looking to give back to the community through services with long term care homes (caring for dementia patients). The volunteer would help out with caring for dementia patients while the care homes will be able to make an informed choice about which volunteers are good choices for which patients.


    On behalf of Facebook and The UK Government, HackerNest would like to thank each and every participant who joined us, shared their passion and tech experience, all our mentors and judges, all our sponsors and community partners, our amazing volunteers, and the staff of MaRS Discovery District for an incredible weekend.


    A special thank you is required for our presenting partners, Facebook and the UK Government for their enthusiasm, dedication, and amazing contributions to the DementiaHack cause. We couldn’t have done this without you.


    Props to DementiaHack 2017 Winners!

  • HackerNest posted an article
    Tackle challenges around customer experience, transparency, and support for children and parents see more

    On the heels of CourtHack 2016’s success in Salt Lake City, HackerNest and the National Center for State Courts are partnering once again to bring you CourtHack 2.0! The event will take place April 22-23, 2017. This year, we’re in the tri-state area in New Brunswick, New Jersey at the New Jersey Law Center. Once again, carefully-curated challenge sets will aim to provide those living in the United States with greater access to justice.

    Last year, over 75 participants formed 16 teams across four challenge sets. The winner, Robot Lawyer, created a text-based app for navigating and filing court appeals and claims. For their amazing work, they took home $5,500 cash and a trip to Las Vegas to the e-Courts Conference, where they demoed for industry professionals. You can watch them present here.

    CourtHack 2.0 aims to bring together over 100 technologists, legal professionals, and business leaders to tackle challenges around customer experience, transparency, and support for children and parents in the legal system, and more. Hackers will be able to pull from anonymized data and have access to mentors from the National Center for State Courts and other subject matter experts.

    Our hackathons feature mentors of the highest caliber because we want to give each team the best shot at not only taking home a prize, but also at forming a viable business based on their solution. Partnering mentors up with teams helps ensure that the projects they’re working on are relevant and useful. HackerNest helps push hackathon projects towards market readiness.

    Registration for CourtHack 2.0 is now open! Spots are limited, so be sure to secure yours early. We’ll see you in New Jersey on April 22!

    Here’s a glimpse of how some of our planning meetings go (can’t wait for more of them!):