Insights: How to Win the Hackathon? [HackAdTech Special]
Some say that it’s not about winning, it’s about taking part, but let’s be honest: these words never belong to the winners. And the real thrill and happiness of a competition is when all the participants work for a victory and strive for the best results.
This is why in today’s post we are not going to deliver motivational speeches only, but also give you some practical tips on how to increase your chances of winning the Hackathon.
These tips come from people who do know something about it: Konstantin Kuznetsov, the Chief Product Officer at AdTech Holding and a jury member at HackAdTech, and Aleksa Lazarevic, the leader of a team that won the main Hackathon prize last year.
Aleksa Lazarevic and his team’s way to victory
Aleksa is a Software Engineer at Ananas E-commerce, the platform they developed with his team. Ananas is a digital space where sellers could rent ad space using blockchain and NFT. As Aleksa explained to us, “each ad space (in our case – website banners) is a minted NFT, which can be assigned to a seller for a specific period.” This crypto-solution for programmatic advertising is aimed at removing the intermediary between publishers and advertisers.
We contacted Aleksa and asked him a couple of questions. Here is our conversation:
– Hey Aleksa! So, tell us about the main challenge you and your team faced during the Hackathon 2022.
Hey Maria! Well, since the UI part of our platform was a mobile app, the key challenge we faced was smooth integration of our app and crypto wallets for ensuring secure user authorisation. Also, it was a challenge to implement everything we had in our mind into a fully functional prototype in just 40 hours of coding 🙂
– And you’ve done a great job! Okay, it’s obvious that the participants of Hackathon 2023 will also have their own challenges. What would you recommend to our participants?
I would like to encourage future participants to be bold with their ideas, to take the bull by the horns and try new and exciting technologies, no matter if they had previous experience with it. Also, always have in mind how this idea can be monetized. In the end, it is the main factor whether the app will succeed or not.
I also encourage them to discuss their ideas and implementations with mentors, who have a lot of experience in development of cool products and are always ready to help. It’s not everyday that you have AdTech Holding experts as mentors, so take advantage of that.
–That sounds motivating. And could you share some insights into your team’s presentation and pitch strategies that helped you win the main prize?
The key factor when it comes to pitching your idea is time. It can be pretty challenging to fit everything you wanted to say about an app in only 5 minutes, so focus on three main points: the problem statement, the brief solution for the previously mentioned problem and monetization model. Also, remember to allocate the time for the demo!
– Did participation in Hackathon 2022 have long-standing effects on your team? Did you come up with new projects and ideas during this time?
Last year victory definitely gave me and my team a tailwind for further development of our idea and generally apps on blockchain. We have met some cool people on the spot and we expect to bring new ideas to the light shortly. We are excited to participate in this year’s edition, as well!
– Sounds amazing and it would be really great to meet you, guys, again. In conclusion, looking back, what are the main factors that contributed to your team’s success?
Since the beginning of the event, we had a vision of what we wanted to achieve, not so clear, but the main points were there. We had a good organization when it came to delegation of work, and each team member had a clear idea of what he had to do. We didn’t have much sleep, but the interesting fact is that one of our team members (Mihailo Radovic) even had a time to wash and dry his beautiful long hair during the last 6 hours of coding, which was really necessary but also very funny 🙂
– Great, Aleksa, thanks for sharing with us! Good luck with your new projects – we are looking forward to seeing them at further HackAdTech events!
Konstantin Kuznetsov and his insights about winning the Hackathon
And now let’s take a look at Hackathon victories from the other side of the stage! Konstantin Kuznetsov is sharing his ideas.
“To understand how to win a Hackathon, you need to know which criteria will be evaluated by the jury. There are four of them, so let’s take a look…”
- Your prototype must be functional in the first place. Don’t get into the trap of vibrant presentations and attempts to surprise the jury with a wide range of features. Instead, think about the main aspects of the project, those that reflect the idea of your product as fully as possible. Think about it beforehand and make sure that this idea can be realized in two days and one night. This is the type of a project you should take for the Hackathon.
- Your project must have business potential. Do you create a product for a wide audience to solve a problem of broad relevance? Or do you aim at a small audience with a very specific issue? How large is the market? Are there any opportunities to develop and distribute the product further? Don’t be afraid to think globally – the legendary products start with daring ideas!
- Make sure that the technological solution is efficient. Since we live in the world of informational technologies, simple solutions are being replaced with complicated high-tech products. The HackAdTech jury keeps up with the trends and pays attention to the essence of the product as well as to its technological part.
- Your presentation should be clear and insightful. Remember that presentation is an extremely important part of the project. If you create a really cool product but fail to present it and deliver your ideas to the jury, this would be sad, right? So think about the structure of your presentation and mind the time limits. Which message do you have to deliver? Which effect and reaction are you looking for? Do a small research, watch some prominent speakers, and don’t be shy to have a couple of rehearsals before the Demofest.
As Konstantin sums up, “these four criteria result from numerous inner Hackathons we have held during years. We did our best to test, refine, and improve these principles before using them in our public events.”
He also ads:
“I want to remind you that Hackathon is more than just a competition, but also your chance to meet new interesting people. Last year, we had numerous teams of talented experts who didn’t know each other before, but due to the Hackathon they’ve had a chance to unite around amazing ideas and implement them in life together. And yes, you can also have fun at the afterparty and meet other teams and guests of the event!
What is more, if you have a life-changing idea, but don’t have time/people/expertise or other resources to embody it, Hackathon is an opportunity to do so. This can be your huge step towards bringing your dream to life, isn’t it great?
And the last thing: have fun! Live, develop, create, and we will do everything to make sure that you will remember this HackAdTech for long!”