Been to some hackathons? Felt like you’re just helping rich people make more money? Or maybe you’ve been to none, but are interested . . .
Being a RHoK Star
“Ok, it’s gig time. What T-shirt am I gonna wear?” – Maybe a Random Hacks of Kindness (RHoK) one?
UN Secretary General gets his very own RHoK-star threads. Photo credit: Flickr RHoK New York City
You have some time and some skills. You like to practise them, and also to help people. It’s hard to do that on your own, especially in short timeframes. But people want your help and your unique value proposition.
You get to fulfil your proposition, help real people, help communities, make the world a less sucky place. Oh, and a T-shirt, some pizza, beer (if that’s your thing). You get to network, potentially some job opportunities. A feeling of accomplishment. All the feels. Maybe even some hugs!
A RHoK Band
So, we start with some changemakers. These are people from communities, and not-for-profits, who have a problem that they can’t solve on their own. Sometimes they’ve got ideas for solutions, too. I, personally, have worked with rural firefighters and fire-prone communities, Somali taxi drivers for wheelchair accessibility, council members engaging youth in politics, and a bunch of people in between and on the outside.
People self-organise to form teams around them, maybe based on the problem, or tech choices, or gaps. Gaps could be in experience, expertise, domain knowledge. Each RHoK hackathon needs people from all kinds of professional backgrounds. Business analysts, user experience and interface designers, testers, programmers, engineers, security experts, lawyers. If you have a background, it’s probably going to come in handy. And if you don’t, that’s cool, too. People will help you.
Melbourne RHoK hackathon 2015. Photo credit: RHoK Melbourne Twitter
This goes on all Saturday, with a break for lunch wherever you like, and pizza & drinks supplied for dinner. Hack a bit more after dinner. Come back in the morning. You should have something to demo just after lunch. Make a quick presentation, for judging and token prizes. Then hang out at the pub with nibbles and chat. You’ll be amazed at how much your team got done, and all the others!
Tours, Roadies, Crew, Label
Before, after, and during, there are helpful people about. We try to make sure things run smoothly, teams are balanced-ish, dietary preferences are accommodated for dinner . . . changemakers exist and know what they’re doing, internet works, etc. If you need anything, they’ll usually be free and eager to assist. It’s a community effort.
RHoK’s main objective is to provide sustainable tech solutions for community problems. We want to start what we finish, not start a bunch of things to get people’s hopes up, then ditch them. Creating shared value only works if the value goes back to the community.
So, between the main events there are other little events (RHoLLs), to help finish started projects. There are also, in the lead up to the main, an ideation night (to spin up new changemakers), and an info night (mostly meet and greet before the hackathon).
Join the Band
If you’re interested, jump in a local Meetup group! They’re mostly up the east coast of Australia, but also a heap of other countries.
Sydney RHoK hackathon 2014