Participating in hackathons is nothing new in certain parts of the world, especially Silicon Valley. Once in a blue moon, a small team of people creates something exciting that generates buzz, potentially selling to a larger company.
One developer took on 80 competitors at a hackathon called “TVnext” and won with a solution to save you from reading spoilers on Twitter with an app called Twivo. The developer has nabbed an internship at the company she built the hack on top of — Twitter.
This particular developer’s story took on a life of its own, not just because the app was really cool (I often don’t pay attention to my feed during Saturday Night Live, because all of the people on the other coast ruin it for me), but because Jen Lamere is a female developer who was up against an all-male group of hackers. She was 17 at the time. An attendee discussed the scene with Mother Jones, explaining: “the only other females in attendance, that I saw anyway, were an organizer, two camerawomen, a caterer, three judges, and a participant’s wife.”
The news of Lamere’s summer internship, which looks like it will be with the Crashyltics team specifically, came via Twitter, naturally:
There’s no word on what she’ll be doing, but the experience that she’ll get will be incredibly useful.
Whether you want to take this news as a win for female developers, teenagers or technology as a whole, the story is a great one. At its very core, you have someone who is fascinated enough with tech to take the step and build something without a team, present it publicly at a hackathon and then take it to the next level by pursuing an internship…and that’s inspiring.
While not every hackathon project will lead to some type of fundraising or exit, or even an actual startup, this is a nice lesson to learn that the networking and experience gained at an event like this can go a long way. It’s also nice to see Twitter, a company that is preparing for an eventual IPO, give chances to younger coders. Investor Chamath Palihapitiya told the audience at Disrupt NYC that “everyone should learn how to code,” and this story is a perfect example of that line of thinking.
Imagine if, instead of a spelling bee in junior high, you had entered a hacking competition? How different the world would be.