API Hack Day Chicago 2011

#APIHackDay stormed through Chicago on Saturday. Hosted up at the offices of Morningstar, about 50 post digital people huddled up and built things during an eight hour hackathon. Mashery, Apigee, Twilio, and SendGrid threw in sponsorship love, but it was great to have people from those companies to help us all figure how we can build fun, useful, or playful things using APIs.

The teams only had eight hours to build something. Thinking small is really hard, but that challenge is what creates the energy of at hackathons. Some of the apps were intentionally a technology proof of concept, others went through their first sprint to produce the minimum viable product, and a couple others had some really great ideas that needed more time to execute. I didn’t get to hear the conversations going on in the other room, but it felt like something was missing.

This digital thing has given us the opportunity to do and make fun, playful, useful or memorable services and experiences. Most of them have built new ways of doing old things, but alongside it built a webservice that allows technologists to blend up those new things to create even new things. When I talk about what’s ahead for the space, I’m not talking about mobile, or social, or augmented reality, or geo, but the collision of those things. APIs and webservices allow for that to happen, and I can’t wait to see what that produces.

I am stoked for everyone that stuck around for the hackathon. I can imagine what kind of pressure and anxiety that must create, but it was a riot to watch people fight through it and build things. I hope the hackathon trend continues, pushing along with it lean, mvp and customer development-based thoughts so that people can keep calm and carry on get excited and make things.

Congratulations to Dave Kam and Kelly Meath from The Nerdery for winning first place, and to the rest of the teams who hung in there all day. If you’d like to participate in a 24 hour hackathon for good, be sure to check out The Nerdery’s Overnight Website Challenge in Chicago this August..