Community Leadership Summit Wiki


  • Dave Nielsen - Session Leader
  • Mark – Director of Open Source engagement – wants to throw better hackathons
  • Shelly – OCLC – work with libraries, wants to run hackathons
  • Ed – sustain contributions after hackathons
  • Russ – Zen Project – 
  • Michael – OpenMRS – Run Hackathons
  • Oshluck – Red Hat – how to get them to focus on something
  • Dan Allen – Archilian project at Red Hat –
  • Ferdinant – From Paris – Run events for developers, maybe a hackathon
  • David Hurley  - Joomla – Code sprints for hackathons and are successful
  • Jeffrey – Hackathons
  • Kara – Puppet Labs – planning some hackathons
  • Barbara – California Digital Library – hackathons have flopped. Want a successful. Work with openoakland
  • Jason Hibbets – CityCamp Raleigh, CityCamp NC, NC Datapalooza, and CodeFor America Brigade in Raleigh (also project manager at
  • Francesco – Communty Manager for MongoDB, also around Financial Technology (SF, NY, London)


  • Saltstack is doing WW hackathons in 20 cities

Other Types:

  • Triage-athon from puppetlabs
  • Trianglewiki day
  • Writeathon

Sometimes don’t want newbiews

  • bugsquash evetns – have 277 people, via virtual (skype, irc) for people who have no idea what they are doing. Doesn’t take away from code spring with high end developers


What is the hackathon?

  • learn about a technology (less of a focus on a hackathon)
  • demonstrate your skills, win a prize, get funded
  • bug squash
  • social good hackathon


  • A vendor promotes a hackathon
  • A conference has the hackathon (DevOx Java event)


  • For CityCamp, its better tools to engage with government. Ex: real-time trash collection.
  • There is an identified area/place where things need to get made.
  • Helps your community focus on their projects together
  • Recognizes the contributions the community makes
  • Facetime helps them feel involved 
    • Online only doesn’t always overcome the cultural differences (ex: some cultures are more direct)


Dedicated deadline w/prizes helps make things happen

-       Onsite tech support via experts or other hackers

-       Try new stuff:

o   Can be a good place for new community members to try new stuff

o   Companies do hackathons over the weekend to try new stuff

-       For the experience. Some people are just trying to get something that works so you can play with the api or new technology. Anything that’s not that technology, then get it out of the way.

-       Why not?

o   Complex products don’t lend well to hackathons

§  If nothing else, then integrate with something else

§  Do pre-workshops if you aren’t sure

-       I get to learn other people’s tricks

-       Networking aspect is important. Get to meet new people.

-       Promote a certain set of tools, data, etc. (open data event by a city)

Idea formation

Idea ptich

Idea validation (criteria)

Pitch in front of whole group



-       Datapalooza (from Whitehouse)

  • -
  • How structured?

    -       Xen – 2 day event. Publish a list of things were thinking about ahead of time

    -       CLOUDSTACK Conf: Start as an Unconference. The vote. Then create tables to hack.

    o   Some ideas may not be coding

    -       MVC – BeMyApp

    -       CityCamp –

    o   ½ day of talks from gov. & business. Inc. lightning talks

    o   Saturday is Unconference

    o   Sunday is build day

    -       Startup Weekend -

    o   Get in a line and pitch your idea. Helps people connect with projects. CityCamp does it up front

    -       DataPalooza

    o   Idea generation - 6 different rooms, some with topics and with moderators.  People can choose what room. 90 min brainstorming session.

    o   Split up into roomss. Do it by birthday? =)

    o   Then 90 day sprint. With mentors. Then Do it after your teams form.

    -       Joomla Days

    o   Tak on a bug squash session to Joomla day

    -       MongoDB March Madness

    Nuts and Bolds

    -       Workshop before to make sure you’re setup. Provide guidelines

    -       Walk thru via webinar to trouble shoot the

    -       Have facilitators to help hackers get started

    -       When a bug gets squashed or fixed, yell out “We got another one squashed” or “Ring a bell” ß creates energy for group. Gets a lot of done!!

    -       how to find developers

    -       Need testers for bug squash events

    o   For bugsquash evetns, have list of bugs listed ahead of time. This CAN be done virtually.

    -       Github pulse is awesome to see what has happened

    How provide scope for competitors

    -       how get working on right problems.

    What can go wrong?

    -       Need facilitators to help keep people on track

    -       People want more guidelines to know what will win

    o   Virtual needs more guideline structure. What license?

    -       Do workshop. How to package software for the project.

    -       “If you want a spontaneous meeting, you must plan”

    Right Prize

    -       Cash is king. Credibility. Credit.

    -       Meeting with famous people

    -       Jobs

    -       Gift cards may not work internationally. Amazon works, but must by

    -       Datapalooza – mentorship. Get to pitch idea to investors.

    -       Communities don’t need as much prizes

    -       Vendors need to provide more reason to do ti

    -       Give prize to charity of their choice. Provide list so not controversial.





    How make competitive in positive way

    -       How about non-competitive?


    -       Evernote uses them

    How do you get follow-up


    How keep engaged.

    -       Series of hackathons on a recurring basis

    -       Follow-up with blog articles

    -       Monthly meetups to keep momentum

    -       Weekly hacknights for CodeForAmerica Brigades (see youtube. How to run a hacknight)