Jerry Lee Lewis would have been proud. Even as the clock ticked past midnight at Pier 94 in Hell’s Kitchen, there was a whole lotta hackin’ goin’ on. Beginning around noon on Saturday, hackers filed into the spacious room at the site of Disrupt NYC to begin networking and scheming in earnest. As the day wore on, groups solidified, team names were chosen, and at the height of activity, we estimate that more than 500 hackers were huddled around tables, bent over screens with headphones on — doing their thing.
By midnight, Chinese food had been consumed, much Red Bull downed, and most teams had moved past the brainstorming and napkin-doodling stage to full-fledged hacking and aggressive coding. Ideas were beginning to come to life. One hacker Tweeted around 1 am that the even “Twilio cake is looking pretty good right now”. By 2 am, all the beanbag chairs had been accounted for, some were napping, and the crowd had started to thin. And, still, no rapture.
Of the hackers polled, interestingly, quite a few said that they were working creative alternatives to dating sites and apps. One hacker was creating a speed dating app, another was creating “the Groupon of dating and a SecondMarket for people”, while others said that they were plugging away at a few HTML 5 games. But will there be group-messaging apps?
Here a few hackers take a few minutes to release some pent-up coding aggression by pitching toys against the wall. You can add your pics to the crowd by tagging your tweets and photos with #tcdisrupt and #hackdisruptNYC2011, and you can always find more at the TechCrunch Flickr page.
And some, perhaps, were enjoying a few too many adult beverages during the wee hours, which always ensures that the presentations this morning will be nothing if not entertaining.
For those keeping track, my colleague, TechCrunch engineer Rob Saurini, said that, of the hackers he observed with his keen hacker sight, about 90 percent were using Macs. Take that as you will. I personally am using an Apple 2GS.
This morning at 10:30, the hack-teams will begin their rapid-fire presentations, given a few short minutes to try to wow the judges with their ideas. The presentations will wrap up by 3 pm, at which point one lucky project (the last Hackathon’s winner was WiseDame) will get a chance to compete with our Startup Battlefield companies on stage during Disrupt proper. Remember to stay tuned during our live broadcast.