Kodawanie – charity, serverless hackathon

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In May, I together with my colleagues (Łukasz and Paweł) from Serverless Wroclaw and Kuba from Wroclaw TypeScript decided to organize a charity, serverless hackathon. As a serverless nutter, I always wanted to show that it’s possible to provide a complete solution within a relatively short time using serverless technologies. A hackathon form is an excellent opportunity to prove that. We thought that it would be terrific to help during the event. So we found EkoStraż – a great organization which the main goal is to help animals.

Expected solution

EkoStraż informed us that they need a solution that allows them to collect data about incidents which demand their attention. Moreover, they needed a way to manage those events. One of the most awaited features was a possibility to display the incidents on the map.

Additionally, we took into account the following things during the final evaluation:

  • authentication,
  • IaC,
  • defined CI/CD,
  • costs reduction.

What’s worked

Hackathon idea

It is known that people always want to win something. It was stressing situation because we didn’t have terrific prizes and I was asking myself if we will find enough people. It turned out that the community answer was fantastic. After the presentation of EkoStraz’ activities, I was sure that all the participants are there because they want to help. The idea to create a charity type event was great!

Teams in action
Teams in action

Mentors

Before the hackathon, we knew that the teams were on a different level of experience. We thought that it would be good to provide a group of mentors that could advise them. We invited best guys from Wroclaw and our vicinity. They challenged ideas, asked the tough questions, and helped teams when they needed help. What I admired it was a moderation between giving a final solution and a space to think and decide.

One sponsor

We made a cost estimate, and we were struggling if it’s good to have one or more sponsors. In the beginning, we decided to ask our regular meetup sponsor – Ceneo.pl. It turned out that they chose to finance the entire event. It simplified the situation because we could skip thinking about sponsorship proposals.

What’s (not) worked

Too many constraints during registration

Initially, we had limited signing up only as a team. Furthermore, we had said that it would be a serverless hackathon. I can be a serverless fan, but I have to admit that it’s still a new thing on the market. It could be stressful to sign up for an event which is close to the field you don’t know. Moreover, the hackathon form demanded to give up 24 hours of your own time. Because of all these constraints, when we wanted to close registration, there were only four teams.

We decided to open individual registration for one more week. We ended up with eight teams – two of them resigned day before the event. It turned out that six teams were enough for the venue that we booked.

Acknowledgments

I want to say big thanks to:

  • all participants for their passion and involvement,
  • EkoStraż for the solution idea and their commitment,
  • our fantastic mentors ( Paweł, Piotr, Michał, Paweł, Antoni, Przemek, Wojciech ) for their time and great pieces of advice,
  • to cloud providers and their representatives (Jakub, Tomasz, Bartek, Rafał ) for the free coupons which allowed teams not to worry about costs,
  • Mariusz for such an epic t-shirt’s design,
  • Ceneo.pl for their contribution and people from Ceneo.pl for their help,
  • Kuba, Łukasz, Paweł for being such a fantastic team that I’ve never dreamed about.
Team of organizers
Team of organizers

Summary

After the hackathon, we asked competitors about filling a questionnaire. I want to share the most important results:
> 100% answered that they would like to participate once again,
> 100% responded that they had learned new things,
> ‘missing microwave for pizza’ was the most frequent complaint.
Finally, Kodawanie got an average note 4,7/5! Even now, I’m impressed!

It was a pretty intensive weekend, but it was worth it! Now, it’s time to chill and to think about new initiatives. However, I feel in my bones that Kodawanie will come back!

Kodawanie 2019 Recap

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