Battlehack – create an app to solve a local problem

battlehackBattlehack is a coding competition to create an app that solves a local problem. It takes place around the World with local winners moving up to an international competition.

There are 14 cities, including Sydney for the first time, taking part in the PayPal-backed competition. The process is pretty simple: You have an intense weekend to create an app that does good in your local community.

BattleHacks are full of 24+ hours of awesome stuff. In general, on Day 1 registration opens, you arrive, scope and share skills, create teams, meet judges, and then hacking begins. Add food, food and more food all the way till day 2. You hack thru the night, grab a nap, beer break, maybe even a massage, and on Day 2, we have more hacking, more food, until hacking ends around noon. Then judging begins & prizes are awarded. 

Sounds like a lot of fun and a great way to focus coding skills on worthwhile ventures. Examples include helping charities match donors and improving public transportation planning. The Washington DC winner last year was Philanthrofeed. The team created an app that allows someone walking by a homeless person to donate money to them as a credit for the homeless person to later redeem for food with a participating restaurant. The idea was that many people might donate but simply don’t have the cash or want to ensure that the money is being used for food. The app doesn’t have to be charity-based though just something to ease life in the local community – the winning team from Berlin last year created an app to help find cleaners for apartments.

I don’t know if in the real World you can fully buy into “The quest to find the ultimate hackers for good.” but I certainly like the whole idea. It would be nice, though, if the fantasy theme didn’t lend itself so much to muscled warriors and buxom women. If you browse the pictures of the winning teams there are a lot of women involved and a more sensitive portrayal in the marketing wouldn’t go amiss.

Anyway, this is a good idea on many levels. There are prizes and glory to be won; and if you win the international competition there is serious money available. Battlehack Sydney is on July 26-27.

For all the dramatic details on Battlehack Sydney see the website.

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