A Night Of #Hackfest With BetterWorks

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Welcome to the accelerated version of Startup Weekend. I dropped in to check out the contest a few times during the competition and the environment was uplifting and exciting. Brought back fond memories of my weekend at Startup Weekend. walking around seeing coders buried deep into code, focused on completing their product before the clock expired.

In case you were out of town for the weekend, BetterWorks and Coloft of Santa Monica put together an amazing and area stimulating HackFest (#hackfest) on August 14th. Participants were setup and encouraged to use open source projects such as Apache, MySQL, Hbase, Cassandra, Ngnix, Erlang, and more. Development languages varied from team to team. Some used Java, Ruby, jQuery while others used PHP, HTML, and CSS.

The event included eleven participating teams from around the area, all with various backgrounds. Some experience developers, project managers, and even some designers. All coming to join in on the fun. Just like Startup Weekend most had never meet their team mates until the day of, and came together to develop a possible prize winning product in eight hours.

At the end of the development time allotted for each team, They get up to present their days work. There were a lot of the projects that had the possibility of being the starting point for real enterprise solutions that the business world is lacking.





Sparqlight – parts prebuilt before competition

Where is my Shit?

Better Goals

Cool Car Pools

Quick Web App Builder (QWAB) – parts prebuilt before competition




After the presentations, the judges broke for a meeting and decided the winners. Throughout the whole event the energy was so high and showed the excitement in the community for such an event. The judges were judging each product/hack on the following criteria

1. Product Design

2. Development

3. Would it work as a real world solution / Product feasibility

As the judging went on, everyone took the time to chat amongst themselves about their projects, experience at the event, and waited in anticipation of who would get the big check for $3000.  Finally the time came and the winners were…

1st (prize: $3000) – DodgeBall (congrats to Blake, Chris, Philippe, Ron)

2nd (prize: $500) – ViewTopia

3rd (prize: $250) – CoderTie

Judge’s Choice (prize: $250) – Cool Car Pools

The coolest part about these products was that most of the were live working demos. Cool Car Pools for example, an application to help co-workers locate each other that they could carpool with, demoed an entire use case for us. Other teams offer the audience very similar visuals.

As the night wrapped up, I was able to catch up with two of Betterworks finest, Sizhao Yang and Paige Craig on their thoughts of the event’s outcome.

Sizhao Yang, COO of BetterWorks – I’m just super happy about the turn out, the thought behind each product, even the quality each team put into them. Usually you go to various events like this and get various quality and UIs, no shows. But this event was special. Lot’s of product that could be transitioned into real applications. Just shows to the growth in the Santa Monica area with people like the CoLoft helping to fuel the ecosystem.”

Paige Craig, CEO of BetterWorks – “The event turned out great. We want to continue running events like this to keep stimulating the development community here in the Santa Monica area.”

**JOB ALERT: Team Sparqlight has a few openings if you’re looking for some work. If interested contact Brian Reisgen at brian@sparqlight.com. They’re looking to fill the following spots,

1. A senior marketing director that will run online marketing, customer acquisition, and customer development efforts,

2. Several junior sales associates to handle online customer acquisition and orientation; and,

3. Senior and junior Rails and mobile (javascript) developers familiar with b2b software.

Kyle Ellicott

Co-Founder of @EventifyMe, CEO of @Codeita and Heavy Cloud Media Group. I have a strong love and passion for startups. Some say I’m a serial entrepreneur, coder, idea creator, and a nice guy.

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