The SXSW Hackathon

With so many developers attending SXSW, it seemed only natural for someone to run a healthy tech completion, which is what AT&T did with its Mobile App Hackathon.

The company lined up Chicago Bears Pro-Bowler Lance Briggs, a self-admitted comic book fanatic in search of a mobile app.

With prime real estate on the first floor of the SXSW Convention Center, AT&T invited developers to create a design for the app, within 24 hours. As added incentive, AT&T tossed in $46K of cash and prizes.

“The developer community is driving the economy,” Said Ben Nelson, marketing manager of the AT&T developer program, based in Redmond. “The hackathon is a chance to show what they’re capable of.”

The company set up facilities in the main lobby of the Convention Center where, after a Friday night intro, the developers were provided the time and space to go to work.

While the SXSW event is not AT&T’s first hackathon, having produced several, most notably one for the city of San Diego focused on improving the quality of life there, the Austin challenge may be one of the most intense.

The apps can be platform agnostic and the final judge at the end of the cycle is Briggs, who wants an app to communicate with his fans.

The teams can be anywhere from one to several people.

Coding like crazy in the AT&T room at SXSW was one three-person team created the night before. Two of the members are engaged to each other and the third member just met them at the kick-off event.

“It’s not about the money,” said Stephen Wylie, one of the team members who came in from Dallas. “It’s the idea of doing something cool.”

Now only if there was a way to get this developer talent and focus into mainstream business.

 

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