Fostering Innovation at the American Underground Hack-A-Thon - 1

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Fostering Innovation at the American Underground Hack-A-Thon - 1
If you're a creator of any type, you know the feeling. That magic moment when disparate points of view, mistakes and sidetracked efforts coalesce into something wonderful. Like when a guitarist in a band plays a killer riff during practice and the bass and drums fall into a hook that no one in the room can get out of their head. Its the kind of feeling that creators and entrepreneurs live for.

Its also the kind of feeling that Kristian Bouw, CEO of Thryv, is facilitating with the American Underground Hack-A-Thon on Saturday March 2nd.

For those of you unfamiliar with the concept of a Hack-a-Thon, it is an intense 24 hours of programming and designing with the goal of creating something specific (e.g. a mobile or web app built around a certain API).

No salespeople or marketers allowed. No pre-Hack-A-Thon code or designs may be submitted. Simply, creators walk in to a room well-stocked with food and caffiene and one day later walk out with sleep deprivation and a fully functioning web or mobile application.

Oh, and they may end up creating it with people they've never met before.

Sounds like fun, right?

Well, it is.

Krisitan, a self-professed business development guy and entrepreneur, wanted to bring an open Hack-A-Thon to the Triangle after cutting his teeth in Washington, DC. There, he learned to love the inclusiveness of the area and saw that Hack-A-Thons played a big role in instigating creativity within the region's entrepreneurial community.

Upon coming to the Triangle, and despite all that our region has to offer entrepreneurs, he saw the lack of structured Hack-A-Thons that are also open to the community at large as a major missed opportunity.

But what he did see was a team willing to support it, the same team behind Durham's Epic Hack Day in September of last year. So with American Underground, Adzerk, and ShoeBoxed on board, and adding accelerators Groundwork Labs and Triangle Startup Factory, he began organizing the second version, now called the American Underground Hack-A-Thon.

The goal is the same: To bring together the Triangle's brilliant creators, front-end designers and back-end programmers to cultivate new ideas, new innovations and, perhaps, even new companies.

To top it off, the AU Hack-A-Thon isn't just for those with raw talent and a good idea. Rather, to help the top two teams at the Hack-A-Thon take a step toward monetization (if they're so inclined) they're guaranteed an interview with the Triangle Startup Factory and Groundwork Labs accelerators. So real businesses can be created out of the Hack-A-Thon experience.

But even if a new company doesn't sprout out of the AU Hack-A-Thon, the more excuses our community can provide for bringing together creators the better it is for all of us. After all, there's no such thing as a bad reason to try your hand at innovation.