It was June 6th and my husband and I walked into a hack-a-thon at the AT&T foundry in Atlanta. We didn’t know what to expect, but were told in advance to bring our laptops and a good attitude. We had both. What made this experience so interesting was that neither my husband nor I had any coding experience, we just had an idea for an app and were looking to meet developers who could help us bring our idea to fruition.
Hackers aren’t quite what you’d expect, especially if you watched a lot of movies growing up in the 80s & 90s and took those stereotypes of ripped jeans, heavy metal t-shirts and dungeons-and-dragons speak, to heart. This event almost felt corporate. The developers were geeks but they were well dressed geeks. I’m talking khakis, jeans and button down shirts. They were an extremely diverse group of people: Black, White, Indian, Far East Asian, Young, Mature, Women, Men and kids. Yes, some of the developers brought their kids to the event!
Most developers came with backpacks, opened up well-worn and decal-adorned laptops and plugged them into outlets attached to all the available desks. Day One of this event was crowded. The energy in the room was high. I couldn’t wait to hear what these developers wanted to create that would make life at home more efficient.
No one appeared aloof or agitated when they found out we weren’t coders but were helpful in directing us to resources we needed to help us with our project. We simply leaned in and struck up easy conversations. People there seemed proud of their accomplishments and despite being developers by trade, participated in hack-a-thons for fun. Amazing! I couldn’t imagine being a writer all week and then going to a marathon writing weekend just for kicks. Fascinating indeed!