Hack24 is this weekend and even though you can't start coding until midday on Saturday there are some simple things you can do and bear in mind now to maximise your team's chances of winning some of those awesome prizes...
1. Plan ahead
You can't start coding yet but you can start figuring out what you're going to do. Get together with your teammates, check out information for hackers, review the challenges. At past hackathons my teammates and I have had a lot of success running mini Google Ventures design sprints ahead of the hack.
2. Simple & working beats clever & "oh we didn't manage to finish this bit"
Make something really simple really quickly and then build on it, that way if that clever feature you thought of takes you down a 12 hour rabbit hole, you still have a minimum viable product to show to the judges.
3. Done is better than perfect
The best hacks aren't polished - you might not be able to logout without clearing cookies, they might pretend to have a database but instead have a big wobbly pile of JSON hidden under the hood, maybe it only works if your name is Roger.
What matters is that it's a smart idea and that smart idea is done well, don't worry about the stuff around the edge.
4. Pick the challenge that inspires you
Coding for 24 hours is tough, but the great thing about having a good idea is that it energises and inspires you - powering you through the 24 hours.
Don’t forget, at Hack24 we have a hardware library with Oculus Rifts, Thalmic Myo, Leap Motion, Spark Cores, Estimote Beacons, Pebble Watches, Lego Mindstorms kits, Nokia Treasure tags and more to lend to our hackers on the day.
5. Get everybody on the same page
The hardest part about coding as a team is making sure you’re all on the same page - who’s doing what bit and when? How will the different bits talk to each other?
A short planning discussion every hour or two and a very simple Kanban works wonders for co-ordinating your coding - and there's glassboards and whiteboards all around the venue to use to communicate your ideas.
6. Take regular breaks
If you don’t don’t get away from the code regularly, by 8pm on the Saturday your brain will melt and dribble out of your ear and you’ll be good for nothing.
Head to the TDX Lounge to get away from the code and relax. Play a board game, build a Lego model, give your brain a break. The best ideas come when you’re thinking about something else.
7. Have fun
Hack24 is about having fun, building cool stuff with your friends - if it stops being fun you’re doing it wrong.
At 23:00 on the Saturday we’ll be running a programme of entertainment in our very own cinema - we can’t tell you what we’re doing with it yet but rest assured it’s going to be awesome :)
8. Relax and reflect
After the prizes have been awarded, our friends at UNiDAYS are throwing an Afterparty at Das Kino for all the hackers to sit back, chat, relax and reflect on a hard weekend's hacking - there'll be free drinks and ping-pong too!
9. Spread your bets
You can enter as many hacks as you want, and one hack can be entered into as many challenges as it meets the criteria for so be creative and maximise your chances!