My Experience at YC Hacks (Y Combinator’s First Hackathon)
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect. At 33 years old, I knew I’d probably be older than the vast majority of the 400+ people attending Y Combinator’s first YC Hacks hackathon. But other than that, I didn’t have many expectations.
YC Hacks was my first real hackathon. Many years ago, I went to the first SuperHappyDevHouse (and then 19 out of the first 20 of them), but I never had built and launched a web app in a weekend. Even though I’ve held down full-time jobs as a developer, I still have trouble telling people “I’m a developer.” I’m not a whiz-kid 19-year-old who grew up programming games in his bedroom, nor do I have a Computer Science degree from a prestigious university (I’m a dropout.) I program because that’s how I get to see my ideas come to life–and because it’s fun and addictive for me. And that’s why I signed up for YC Hacks.
With my startup having been acquired a few months ago, YC Hacks seemed like the perfect opportunity to meet new people and get exposed to the latest Silicon Valley trends.
Team? Team? Will You Join My Team?
My first exposure to the other attendees came through the YC Hacks Facebook group, where people seemed to be in desperate need of other people for their teams. At this point, I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to build, and despite a torrent of private messages and emails from people asking me to be on their team, I didn’t commit to anything prior to the hackathon.