Info: How to do Hackathons?

For organizers

For hackers

Presentation tips

    • First impression:
      • Be humble.
      • Show passion.
      • Don’t say: this is the best app, only app, first app, etc.
      • Make sure your app works. Be ready. Have fallback screenshots.
      • Say: “We are like …” for a quick reference, but don’t show you stole an idea.
    • Have:
      • A 10 sec  overview: What issue it solves, What it does, How it works.
      • A business model.
      • A knowledge of your audience and what you are asking for (who you pitch to).
    • Justify why it is unique.
    • You’ve got 10 sec, then 2 min, then 3 min, etc. Don’t lose your audience.
    • Don’t give too much detail, long statements.
    • Move demo, less PowerPoint.
    • Observe your audience reaction.
    • Spend 10 times your pitching time practicing.
    • Don’t force funny.


  • Remember you’ve had many hours to hack, but only 1 to 5 minutes to present. Make the most of your time!
  • Come up with a description of your hack that is under 5 words. Keep it short, easy to understand and easy to remember. Think of this as the only part people will remember and repeat, so open with it, end with it, and mention it again when you can.
  • Focus most of your time on the product demo itself.
  • The basic elements of an ‘elevator pitch’ that you can consider using:
    • The Problem Statement. What is the issue that you are solving, what are the pain points, what is the size of the opportunity (in potential users or $)?
    • The Solution. What does your product do, how does it work, what platform is it on, can people access it today? If so, how?
    • Differentiators. What makes your hack different from anything else out there? What is innovative about it? What have you thought about that no one else has?
  • Be sure to name the APIs that you used! That is what makes you eligible for the awesome API prizes.
  • Have a good backup. Demos often fail right when you need them most. Have a backup, such as screenshots or simple slideshow in case your demo doesn’t work out just as planned.
  • Practice! You have to practice to know how long 2 minutes is — they go by very quickly. Practice a few times to get your timing and pacing down.


  • Don’t spend time introducing your team. Everybody here is brilliant and accomplished, but you’re only being judged on what you accomplished this weekend.
  • Don’t go into detail about the business model or financial projections. No one is expecting a fully-fledged business to be formulated already; focus on the product, if you do have an idea of how you want to build a business around your product, that’s great, mention it. But the focus should be on what you built.
  • Don’t use more than 1-2 stats in your presentation. Nobody is going to remember them anyway.

Branding & Finishing Touches

  • There are hundreds of hacks that you are trying to stand out among. Get creative!
  • Pick a name that is easy to pronounce, spell and remember.
  • Since everyone here is working on hacks, your name will be easier to remember and relate to your product if you don’t use the hackathon name but some other way to describe your product.
  • Other tips for coming up with a name: put together unexpected combinations of words; create new words that convey some kind of meaning; use weird word prefixes/suffixes.
  • Do you have a website, logo, distributable build? These all add extra polish.
  • Show off, be proud of what you did, have fun on stage and good luck!


  • If there’s a chance of things breaking, don’t rely on live demos. When live      demos break down, you get distracted and embarrassed trying to fix it, and      before you know it, time is up and you’ve shown nothing. Consider making a      video of your app in action or some screenshots.
  • You may still be asked to somehow demonstrate your hack performing its      function to the judges, so even if you don’t do a live demo, be prepared for a mini demo in the questions.
  • You may also be asked to show the code behind a function – have this at the      ready.
  • All of the team should stand up front during the presentation, while 1 or more      people in your team can make the presentation. Remember, the more people,      the more choreography you need to get your message across.
  • Whoever presents should be capable of explaining the idea in clear English and make it interesting to people. Don’t ramble!
  • Make sure you are speaking into the microphone so everyone can hear. If you can’t hear yourself over the speakers, neither can anyone else.
  • Look at the audience and the judges when you present and try not to stand      between the projector and the screen.
  • Lastly, take a look over the rules, especially the judging section. The judges will be judging based on these criteria, and these alone.

For watchers

  • Do not interfere with organizers and presenters. Most of them have spent many hours working and some even did not sleep. Their temper may be short and their level of frustration high.
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