2015

Summer Jam

Summer camp for hackers

Inspiration

The majority of ChallengePost users are student hackathon participants. Activity on the site drops off during the summer months when school’s out and hackathon season dies down, so we needed ideas to boost engagement during this slow period.

Two of my colleagues posed the question, “what if hackers went to summer camp?” and brainstormed a series of online hackathons around that idea. Excited by the fun concept, I jumped on the project to help – I’m down for anything that involves s’mores.

Goals

  1. Keep users active on ChallengePost over the summer months
  2. Successfully run a summer camp themed series of online hackathons

Solution

ChallengePost hosted 8 online hackathons for users to sharpen their skills, stretch their imagination, and most importantly, have fun. Each hackathon ran for 3 weeks and was open to hackers around the world.

Summer Jam landing page

We organized, managed, and marketed the hackathons ourselves, partnering with a variety of awesome sponsors to create entertaining themes for each competition. We also hosted happy hour events in New York and San Francisco to promote the series and encourage participants to meetup in person.

I led branding and design, and had a blast with the summer camp theme! Hackathon logos were suggestive of summer camp patches, and s’mores definitely made an appearance.

Summer Jam series logo and badge icons for each hackathon

We designed, wrote, and implemented the project with minimal engineering help. I used my front-end development skills to build the landing page, and we hosted it on GitHub pages. This setup allowed us to run the project without slowing down our regular product/tech development process.

Summer Jam resulted in 974 registrants, 105 new projects created, and excellent feedback from everyone involved.







Sampling of Summer Jam hackathon sites