[Footnotes] How to run a IRL hackathon? 2023

Hacker House, spend 3 days buidling your project

The Web 3 ecosystem requires people compromised with buidling high quality products that can be delivered to the users. With a high component of innovation around. And giving value to the ecosystem.

Hacker House, Hackathon, or however you want to call it, is a time-boxed event where attendees (buidlers) spend 48 or 72 hours of their time developing a prototype.

After the experience organizing hackathons on Open Web Academy, you can find a serie of footnotes if this is your first time organizing a Hackathon, or even if your want to have another point of view.

About the venue, it needs to fit some basic things:

  • Electricity, to plug as many computers, monitors and coffee machines that you could need. Ensure that the venue can support multi-contacts if needed.
  • Internet, ¡Yes!, Realy. Having a stable internet connection can ensure you and the hackathon mates have a soft experience. Nothing worse than having a low quality connection that makes everyone do anything else but buidling.
  • Tables and chairs, so you can be comfortable spending hours hacking. The tables should allow the team to work together.
  • Private rooms, not mandatory, but useful, so you can run private advisory or a private talk without disturbing general areas.
  • Drinks, ensure that anyone has enough water, coffee or other they need to keep active during the hackathon. Always remember basic human needs.
  • Find a midpoint for the venue. It has to be easy to take a bus, and close to hotels or restaurants. Make it easy for people to go and stay. Take in consideration the security of the zone as many people will be walking around with laptops and cellphones to attend the event.
  • Many times, local universities can be great venues to host a hackathon, as this has many of the past mentioned points. Additionally, you can partner with these universities to get the venue for free.

The experience is far beyond the venue, you can include extra activities to make the hacker house a real experience.

  • Networking session, where anyone meet each others and share what projects are they buidling.
  • Snacks and candies. Keeping sugar on their levels will help to concentrate.
  • Local tours, is probably that some of your attendees are foreigners and looking to know more about the place where the event is being hosted. Help them organize an activity to get to know the city.
  • Yoga, or any other relaxing activity. A break always helps during hard work.
  • NFT exposition, as a secondary activation around the hackathon. Here you can be creative and propose other secondary activities around the hackathon that can enhance the experience.
  • An after party, where anyone can dance and share with others. Many local bars would be happy to receive your participants.

The hackathon needs challenges to be solved during the competition.

A hackathon follows an open innovation methodology where the attendees propose a wide variety of solutions to specific problems. In some cases, the challenges can be focused on creating a specific solution that does not exist. In other cases it looks for creative solutions to attend to an unsolved problem.

  1. Make icebreaker activities to create teams. Nothing better than having a multidisciplinary team with people from different backgrounds. Forcing to meet new people is a major in hackathons.
  2. Publish challenges previous to the event. So people can prepare. Leave it clear how it will be evaluated.
  3. Make a mix of technical and non-technical challenges. So people can also work on their soft skills. Try with a best pitch challenge.
  4. For evaluation of the challenges
  5. Make ranges on the bounties. Maybe if a team partially completes a challenge, then they should be still able to win a fraction of the bounty.
  6. Make challenges able to overlap. So people can attend 2 separate challenges with a single project. E.g. NEAR Protocol challenge with a non-DeFi challenge can make creative solutions.

Take a look to the challenges published by Open Web Academy on its Github: GitHub - open-web-academy/owh-retos: Encuentra todos los retos y recompensas asignados para el Open Web House.

We are hoping to make a more extense document with more details about what we are doing at Open Web Academy (ow.academy). Thinking this could take longer time, we shared this previous post.

Hoping this can be useful for Marketing DAO @Dacha @satojandro and communities around NEAR Protocol.


amazing notes. Will definitely keep in this my pocket.

Thank you @cloudmex-alan

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excellent notes made from the experience of the Open Web Academy.
Point 1 about the icebreaker is very important, those who attend these events are usually unknown people who generate bonds of trust in 72 hours to build great ideas, so motivating them from the beginning is great.

I love this note.

Would be helpful to a lot of communities…

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Yeah this is good.

We are preparing a Hackathon proposal to surpass the registrations from other Layer1 on Beta.

hi, reader.

if you’re interested in reading more about how to do IRL hackathons with NEAR communities. We extended these footnotes into a full playbook.