54 hours to take an idea, with people from various backgrounds, and run with it. An insight into my first Hackathon, #HackDCU. 


Day 1 – Introduction & Brainstorm 

“It’s not about idea’s, it’s about making ideas happen”

Hackathon’s provide people the opportunity to learn, network, build and most importantly have fun. Often, they provide the opportunity to meet a potential co-founder for a business. Hack DCU saw the coming together of young leaders, designers, developers and innovators to create a feasible business which solves an entrepreneurial challenge.


Once introductions and ice-breakers had been made those who had an idea to pitch were asked to do so in a 30 second space. Here is an insight into some of the key observations made from listening to 30+ pitches at 30 seconds each….

  • Trends: A common trend noted amongst the ideas pitched were those of App’s and Websites. Every entrepreneur that pitched their idea sought a technical person or a designer, of which were difficult to come by. This is almost a mirror reflection on the jobs market today.
  • Environment: In excess of 20 individuals pitched a potential business idea to the room. Most notably, some people pitched ideas to the room that they thought of on the spot. Incredibly, one of these ideas was chosen. Create an environment where it is ok to put yourself out there, you never know what might happen.
  • People: It became clear to me early on whilst hearing pitches of what I was looking for in the Hackathon over the weekend, a great leader and a great team. My three idea shortlist was chosen based upon the fact that I felt I could work with the CEO over the weekend to bring their vision to reality. I believed in the person as much as the idea.

Team 5 – ‘Wink’ – “The newest online flirting app. Send and receive winks to those in your location. Act on Impulse, Act on attraction & get winking”.

Day 1 Interesting Fact: Before the Hackathon even began I met the person who took over my Intra position, which lead to a great throwback to the memories we had in the job.

Day 2 – Let’s get to work

“Life begins at the end of your comfort zone”

Over the night a Facebook group and Group Chat has been set up by the founders. A survey has been created with 60 responses prior to coming in for the morning session. An e-Mail account had been set up and the founders went into day two will a clear plan of action.


‘Wink’ hit the ground running. Before the first morning speaker a Facebook, Twitter and Instagram account has been established. The group also established a fundraising account.

The founders of ‘Wink’ sought to get the App developed post-hackaton. You have to be realistic with time-frames in a Hackathon. The goals of the day included establishing a social media presence, seeking funding to get the app off the group, create a video to promote the app and develop a blue-print upon which the app can be developed.


In the evening we planned for the presentation ahead however at a briefing it dawned upon us that we were slightly off where the Hackathon expected us to be at. Focus required us to shift towards having a product and market research to pitch. The team leaders identified two groups of pairs to conduct primary research out in the field. Late in the evening the focus shifted towards potential revenue models, which stirred much discussion. At the same time, and quite excitingly, progress was being made on developing the app. 24 hours prior, this app was just a concept drawn with wireframes on some software.


Day 3 – Let’s smash this

“Designing a presentation without the audience in mind is like writing a love letter to ‘whom it may concern’ “

The final day began with preparation for the pitch. All goals set out by the team leaders were achieved over the weekend. The app was in development for both the Android and App store. The most important goal for the team leaders today was to pitch their idea proposition as best they could, whilst receiving feedback on how best to carry the idea forward.


A pitch presentation was provided to the team looking at a number of areas to cover in a tight 4 minute pitch. Preparation for the presentation begun. Time and deadlines became the major barrier over the next few hours. Topics to be covered in the pitch include a problem/solution scenario, sell yourself and how you are better than competitors.

Final Prep

Within the next 30 mins, ‘Wink’ will present to the DCU Ryan Academy….


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