Are hackathons being hijacked by opportunists?

Credit: flickr/

Treehouse CEO Ryan Carson tells young developers ("monkeys in a cage") that hackathons are being organized by profiteers.

While agreeing that non-technical founders need developers to create a "minimally viable product," Carson says the hackathon ethic is being abused. Add in the "hacker mansions" enticing young developers to spend a summer in a Red Bull haze working with other young hackers, and the idea of family time for developers becomes becomes a quaint notion. Opportunists have twisted hackathons into for-profit development, not social advantage.

GigaOM echoes that the "general underlying cultural trend seems to be there," with people convincing young hackers to help them build "The Next Big Thing." Hackathons can be fun, but they can also be exploitive.

Rattling my cage

I couldn't agree more. I have been to a Startup Weekend last month and it was horrible seeing all the "biz guy" trying to vulture all the hackers to work on their MVP for 54H for FREE.

CopyPastaa on

the problem is with the ‘bad seeds’ only as you point out and over selling with each organization trying to have one.

sachin on

I think it's time to dust off the word "carpetbagger".

rabidsnail on

I like my cage

I've lived in 3 hacker houses (still living in one now), and it's been a nice place to live with like-minded individuals. It's equal parts fun and hard work.

jmtame on

24 hours is invaluable when you're wracked with indecision, and a good way to get criticism for an idea.

salabando on

Developers don't go to hackathons to be "code monkeys", rather they go to build something cool in a fun environment.

olivercameron on

Not all developers have families or lots of bills to pay. Even those with lots of responsibilities enjoy the occasional hackathon.

reledi on

Wider view

That ad is for an internship, not a hackathon. It offers room, board and $3333/month. That's a better offer than most summer jobs for college students

Zak on

Usually the difference was the the folks disagreeing where young and excited and the folks agreeing where older and more jaded.

Ryan Carson on

You can always write more code, make more money, and invent and innovate cool things. But you can't get more time.

Justin Steele on

Dear hackers: never attend a hackathon where you don't either keep your intellectual property, get a decent part of ownership, or both.

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