One regret I have in my life is not attending Hackathons as soon as I discovered what they were! Why? Because Hackathons have become one of the cornerstones in my life that shapes who I am as a person to this very day. Let me explain...
To me the main reasons behind why I attend Hackathons include more self-development aspects rather than technical skill development. The Hackathons that I am fortunate to attend are put on by an awesome software company, RokkinCat and are called Hack-N-Tells. Because of the cool cats at RokkinCat, I was able to discover the additional benefits of Hackathons that are outside of the technical perspective.
With the help of Hack-N-Tells, I was able to forge relationships with friends that have taught me so much and are always willing to support my efforts and passions in life. Friends my age, friends from Milwaukee Slack, and friends in business. I was able to develop a network of lifelong support from these friends that I will never forget. Friends that genuinely care, which I have come to learn, are not to be taken for granted and are of a rare-breed.
Learning to Keep an Open Mind
Now, the participants of Hackathons, especially the ones at the Hack-N-Tell, all come from different walks of life and bring so much more than I expected to the table. They bring different perspectives and different approaches for how to solve complex problems or how to complete a goal they set themselves for the project they will be working on. Because of these people. Because of these friends, I learned to keep an open mind. An open mind that opened up the positive opportunities in my life. If you personally know me, I am a stubborn man. I sometimes can't take no for an answer and sometimes am quick to dismiss people. Now, I have eased up a bit in that department and learned to LISTEN AND REFLECT BEFORE I ACT.
A new spark to light the flame
To keep this blog post short and readable, this is the third reason why I attend Hackathons. Being away from home, studying hard at MSOE, taking care of personal matters, I slowly extinguished/suppressed the flame in my life to keep moving forward. I lost purpose and did not see benefit in what I was doing day-to-day, week-to-week, month-to-month. Thanks to Hack-N-Tells, I was able to rekindle my fire and discover why I am in the field and place that I am in. All I received from the Hack-N-Tell and my new friends are positive words and encouragements to keep succeeding. These friends witness what I do when I don't even expect it and appreciate the road that I am traveling on. Without these friends, my flame in life would be non-existent.
Just to note, Hack-N-Tells are open to anyone. Yes, you don't have to have any experience of any kind. You just show up and create something. Create a blog post (like I did for last Saturday's Hack), Create a prototype, Create long lasting friendships. To my new friends and everyone involved with putting on Hackathons such as Hack-N-Tells, you have my sincerest thanks. Thank you friends. Thank you RokkinCat.