Frog Developer Luke Bonaccorsi shares with us his experience from last years Hack Manchester, his hopes for this years competition and how events like this can impact future Frog developments.
“Hack Manchester is a 25 hour coding competition where you get a team of four together, pick a coding challenge and then have 25 hours to build it. It’s a crazy, caffeine-filled night, but amazing to see what can be achieved under pressure.
Before the event we spent some time deciding which challenge captured our creativity and brainstorming ideas of how we could tackle it. It took us a few sessions, but we came up with an idea we all liked and started working out what features we wanted. Our idea was a system to allow people to meet up with new people to do things like go to the cinema, bowling or for dinner – quite a challenge for 25 hours.
We felt pretty well prepped the night before the event. We had our idea, we had our Frog t-shirts and we had our team of four. But then disaster struck, one of our team members had to drop out at the last minute. So we were down one person, but still enthusiastic – it would be fine! At least we had the night before to plan. Then, in another stroke of bad luck, my laptop decided to stop turning on and another team member’s laptop screen somehow cracked (the wonders of technology). After a quick dash to the office to grab our work laptops we were back up and running, but this had taken up a good chunk of our preparation time.
Throughout the 25 hour session we worked as a team, utilising our strengths and keeping up good communication to make sure we were on track. Having the freedom to exercise the full extent of our creativity to build our idea, combined with the tight deadline was a great experience and led to some very interesting solutions that we might not have otherwise thought of. The atmosphere of the room was electric and it was so exciting to be competing with all the other teams. We capitalised on each other’s strengths and it really helped us build something that we were proud of. These are also skills that are part of our everyday jobs building FrogLearn, so we had a wealth of experience to pull from.
Our team got various amounts of sleep. I ended up having about 45 minutes and the other team members ended up having about 1.5 hours, but even after that small amount of sleep, we all felt refreshed. We also had our breakfast sandwiches to look forward to, which helped!
Our idea finally started to come together, with us adding the last bits of polish just before the 12:00 deadline.
Overall the event was really fun and the atmosphere was great. There were pinball machines and arcade machines which were ideal when you needed five minutes away to clear your mind.
In the end we didn’t win, but we had a great time and it gave us something cool to present to the other developers at Frog. I can’t wait to dive in again this weekend! We’ve taken the experiences from last year and plan to have an even stronger entry this year. Wish us luck!”