The time crunch of a hackathon can push you to do great things. Everyone is under the same deadline, regardless of the scope of their project and this can be both frustrating and exhilarating. Sometime your deadline is 4 a.m.  Sometimes success means getting a haircut from a sleep deprived hacker in a university men’s room. 

I’m talking about Dormcuts, of course, an on-demand haircut app—the Uber of haircuts—conceived by Simon Orlovsky at CarlHacks. 

haircut app

Simon had big aspirations for Dormcuts. At the hackathon, he’d built a fully operational website, but got stuck when it came to creating the actual app. Since his target audience consisted primarily of college students accustomed to the convenience of app-based services, the app was a pretty important factor. But at around 1 a.m., Simon told me that making the app would be impossible. So I challenged him: if he finished the app in time, not only would I get a Dormcuts haircut—I would film it and post it to the MLH YouTube channel.

About three hours later at 4:30 a.m., Simon came to me and said the app was finished. The gambit paid off—sort of. To be honest, part of me was hoping he wouldn’t finish because I didn’t necessarily trust clippers in the hands of a sleep deprived hacker in the wee hours of the morning. But another part of me was rooting for Simon because I knew he had it in him, he just needed a little push.

Of course, I held up my end of the bargain: Here’s me getting a haircut in the men’s locker room of Carleton College at 4:30 a.m.

“I’m going to give Hamer the most beautiful haircut he’s ever gotten.”

Hackathons bring ideas to life. Without a proper space to learn, experiment, fail and eventually succeed, an idea like Dormcuts would almost certainly remain an idea. It’s when you’re surrounded by like-minded individuals focused on creating something super dope that you’re most motivated and driven to pursue your own idea.

What I love most about hackathons is that failure is everywhere. When you’re not afraid to fail, you’re not afraid to push your limits, and that’s an attitude everyone can benefit from. So friends, join me in spreading the hacker ethos, and bringing hackathons everywhere!