Help Me Plan a Developer Event for OpenWorld

It’s not to early to start thinking about Oracle OpenWorld 2012 (@oracleopenworld), which will be September 30 through October 4.

Actually, if you want to get the Early Bird pricing, you’d better act fast, since it ends this Friday. If you want more, Kellsey has a great rundown of the event and the WebCenter activities.

I’ll be attending this year, after missing last year, and I’m in the planning stages of a developer challenge. Without giving too much away, it’s looking like a hybrid hackathon. Given that this challenge will run during a conference, I need to bend the concept a bit to fit attendee’s schedules. Very few will want to spend 24 or even 12 hours in a room hacking during OpenWorld.

So, it’s a work in progress.

Anyway, I’m interested to hear your thoughts. Generally, what makes a hackathon (codefest, hack day, etc.) fun and engaging? What would motivate you to join one during a larger conference, e.g. prizes, exposure to a specific product, camaraderie, whatever? What do you think about running smaller, daily challenges vs. a longer, conference-running challenge?

And finally, what do you expect to gain from any hackathon event in which you participate?

Find the comments.

Update: I should have mentioned that Justin (@oracletechnet) has graciously opened the OTN Lounge for this developer challenge, which makes a ton of sense. After all, the OTN Lounge is always developer central at OpenWorld.




  1. Motivation: kudos, recognition from peers, gurus, and the industry, and so on from deliverables. opportunity to build relationships with cool people. t-shirts, swag, never money. don’t like event tickets too hard to use globally and to plan anyway.
    What makes it fun: Everybody, of all ages, ability, sizes and backgrounds working to the same broad objective and getting there however they like. Maker Faire approach. For example: solve a business problem using whatever technology you like PROVIDED that it runs in a browser. Example problem: going on a business trip, ordering a laptop, recruiting, doing expenses, whatever. Nintendo, laptop, iPhone, Arduino, Raspberry Pi, who cares?
    Duration: Day long with built in time for food, goof off and socialization.

  2. I’m w you on motivations, pretty much the same list. I’d love to chat live about the sample problems, especially the Maker Faire approach.

    The typical duration won’t work during OOW; we can’t hijack a full conference day and expect to get much participation; people will be attending for work and will need to report back on their activities, etc.

  3. So far I’m not heading to OOW this year, but for me the best part about hackathon are the people and access to the people who wrote the APIs. Getting key product developers from big O to hang around would be really helpful. Being able to meet others in meat space that work on the same type of stuff and want to build something completely different and unexpected. We’ve talked in the past about connecting the web world to the physical world with blinking lights especially when enterprise software APIs are involved is always fun and unexpected. Get Noel to bring a bunch of his Arduino stuff or some stuff from the maker shed and lets see what can be built.

    I think if there was any way to open the space 24 hours and let people “stop by” to hack when they can during the week. Even if that means moving it to a hotel lobby if Moscone wants to kick people out at night.

    Drinks, extension cords, power strips and solid wifi are also always must. Lack of power always seems to be a limiting factor on the first day of a hackathon. Food, comfortable seats, real desks (or just folding tables) to keep people there. We don’t want people dropping out the first day because their backs hurt.If you guys need support I’ll figure out how I can swing out there for a week and man the night shift.

    Oh, and an all expenses paid trip to Uncle Larry’s new personal island for the coolest solution would be great too.
    Maybe a couple different categories for solutions, mobile, physical, web app, etc. would be nice too.

    I wonder if you could make it in a place you don’t need an Oracle conference pass to attend, might get some of the local startup crowd there to help out.

  4. You can also run shorter session and/or continue online perhaps? Online also facilitates sharing.

    I love the way Silicon Valley Code Camp (I’m attending) has a wiki for each session.

    Yeah, I’m interested in learning from the Make crowd too. I also have the outline of a tech hackathon in my backpocket that I must revisit post-OOW. I believe the Maker Faire/hackathon/designjam/ space is a the place for UX to innovate too.

  5. An online component sounds interesting, but I wonder about the legal red tape for that. Worth investigating. Drop me a note, and let’s have a chat about your ideas.

  6. All good ideas. I’d like to run something longer, but you know how OOW buttons up at night, even assuming attendees would bite on a long-running format when faced w a day of sessions and nighttime shindigs.

    Interesting point about opening up the event to non-attendees, although I wonder about how startups would mix w the enterprise conference crowd. Will ponder that.

    We can always use help, so figure out how to make the trip 🙂

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