‘World’s best hackathon’ almost settled on its paradise island

  • Psychological test is a key part of the criteria to being accepted
  • Needs more sponsors too

‘World’s best hackathon’ almost settled on its paradise islandMOST of us would be happy to have and be able cherish one awesome experience in our lives: An experience that we can relive time and again in our memory.
However, in the case of Walter Heck, a Dutch programmer who lives in Asia, he wants to create an event that tops the coolest experience he has ever had. He wants to create a hackathon that can recreate the amazing experience he had in Alaska (pic) in 2009 when he spent time hacking at a remote place with a group of equally passionate and perhaps, slightly crazy, people.
Recalling the experience, he says: “I was at a couch-surfing collective for three months in Alaska in 2008. It was an extremely magical event that I want to recreate today, but with some small differences.”
The weather, perhaps, and some actual surfing would be fun, he thought. Thus was the idea revived, in Kuala Lumpur of all places, where Heck was living until recently.
This time he and a Malaysian partner, Inbaraj Suppiah, decided to go for the obvious and come up with the idea of hacking on a tropical island. Thus ComeHackWithUs was born.

“Why can we not recreate that [Alaskan] experience in a tropical and remote location so we can really focus on our projects?" he posed in July.

Hackers from all corners of the planet are welcome, though only the very serious, very smart (the website says “geniuses”) and hardcore need apply as the event will be two months long.

Idyllic island or not, that is a long time to be away from family, friends and work. Plus, participants have to make their own way to the venue and pay a small fee to enter.

Which is perhaps why a psychological test is a key part of the criteria to being accepted. “It is actually very important because we need people who can at least be a little social. The social part of being in that secluded environment is actually very important for making it a harmonious event,” observes Heck, perhaps applying a key lesson from the Alaska experience in 2008.
‘World’s best hackathon’ almost settled on its paradise islandAnd while in reality, everyone will work during their own preferred hours, Heck says that they will try to maintain it as a must for people to be available to meet from noon to 5pm.
Showing a media-savvy bent, Heck is also planning for at least one room in the bungalow he eventually rents to be kept for the media, should any want to come onsite to cover the hackathon. There will also be a video guy “who knows very well he cannot disturb anyone.”

Getting publicity for such an event is not hard. For instance, they have already been profiled on the BBC and other portals. Heck now needs to convert the media publicity they have received into locking in some key sponsors.

As of now, ComeHackWithUs has two main sponsors, Catcha Group’s iProperty and KL-based iTrain.

The Facebook page has some pictures of the resort in Bali that Heck is about to confirm. Looking at the opulence of the villa he is about to confirm, Hack needs a few more sponsors for sure.

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