Next month, we will be welcoming 150 hackathon organizers to San Francisco for Hackcon III at GitHub HQ. With final preparations underway, we’re set for a weekend filled with learning and collaboration between some of the brightest minds in the hacker community. In addition, we’ll be hosting our first ever pre-Hackcon workshop this year, which will take place on Friday July 17.

We’re also super excited to be running the inaugural Hackcon EU in August for our European organizers. This will be based at Bloomberg UK’s HQ in London, the same place where we held MLH’s first ever European hackathon, Launch!

Hackcon II

Back in January, we gathered 230 of the most inspiring hackathon organizers from around the world for Hackcon II at Livestream Public’s HQ in Brooklyn. Folks from 91 schools across 6 countries came to learn, build, and share ideas on how to better the hackathon community.

Hackcon II provided an educational platform for community leaders to deliver short talks, hold discussions, and lead workshops in a wide range of topics such as inclusivity at hackathons, dealing with health emergencies, fundraising, inbox management, and more.

Hackcon II

It was an amazing weekend spent with hackathon pioneers, all sharing their experience in building their respective hacker communities and the challenges they’ve had to overcome. We were absolutely blown away by all the hard work and passion these organizers dedicate towards growing the hacker community.

The quote below sums it up pretty well!

“There is nothing more powerful than a community discovering what it cares about” – Margaret J. Wheatley

Below, check out some of the talks from Hackcon II that resonated especially well with our hackathon organizers – they’re a fantastic resource filled with pro-tips that could add value to your hackathon!

1. Hackathons are for hacking

“Avoid sponsorship opportunities which take away time that hackers could spend hacking”

Rob Spectre, director of developer evangelism at Twilio delivered an opening keynote about maximizing the time attendees spend hacking at a hackathon, and why this should be a top priority for both organizers and sponsors.

He also offered great examples of activities and perks that sponsors should do more or less of in order to raise hacker happiness.

2. Frighteningly ambitious hackathon ideas

Nick & Alexey delivered one of the most memorable talks at Hackcon II, introducing us to SHARKHACKS5000 – the most epically-incredible-super-premier-really-big hackathon that has ever happened or will ever happen in the history of the entire known universe, especially on a boat.

Our key takeaway? Dream big while keeping it real and remember that hackers come before egos!

3. Hackathon IT

“Every hackathon is different and has different IT requirements”

Calvin Shirley, team lead for IT & networking at HackIllinois, gave compelling reasons not to overlook the importance of having a clear vision for IT infrastructures at your event.

He offers himself as a valuable resource with various tips and tricks, including insight into the age-old question of “how do you keep the wireless working?”

4. How to inspire absolute beginners

Probably one of main challenges hackathon organizers face is ensuring their event provides a welcoming environment for absolute beginners. Jared Zoneraich runs HackBCA, an extremely popular hackathon for high school students. At Hackcon II, he talked about what organizers can do before, during, and after an event to send the right messages to first-timers.

Definitely worth a watch to help grow your hacker communities!

For more awesome Hackcon II videos…

We highly recommend checking out the full playlist of talks from Hackcon II. They’re jam packed with advice on dealing with health emergencies, running mini-events, best practices for inbox management, open hackathon data, and so much more!

For even more awesome hackathon organizing tips, check out the content from our first Hackcon in 2014.

See you at Hackcon III and Hackcon EU!