Friday Night Hacks – August 2011

A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to participate in Austin’s first Friday Night Hacks hosted by Damon Clinkscales. When he first told me about the concept, I was intruiged:

Friday Night Hacks is an opportunity to connect, share ideas, build cool stuff and launch projects into the community. We typically do this into the wee hours of the morning while indulging in delicious snacks, brewskies and copious amounts of caffeine.

Friday Night Hacks Idea TimeAbout 8pm on a Friday night we gathered and the geekery commenced. First, we took some time to collect. Everyone put an idea or two on the board and had a chance to pitch. Some ideas were just to share while others were shared with a goal of recruiting other team members. We had ideas ranging from better ways to collaborate, communicate, and share information to tools for pranking your friends and lots of things in between.

Since this was the week before the Lone Star Ruby Conference and this was mostly a Ruby crowd, it was quite a bit differnt that most events. In fact, the best aspect about the whole thing was just hanging out and chatting with people with completely different perspectives and ideas.

As part of the event, I got to pitch and demo Twilio Client and some of what you can accomplish in a matter of minutes. Still, the fun thing is showing how quickly you can build cool things with little code and even less effort. I live coded a simple SMS response/logging system, a phone conference system, and demo’d a simple voting tool.

The other lead sponsor – Infochimps – came out to show off their stuff. I’ve chatted with them on a number of things – and we’re even collaborating on Austin’s Startup Week – but it was really the first time I saw regular developers sitting down, playing with the API, and working to build cool things.

Unfortunately, since I had things to do the following morning, I couldn’t stay through the night. Instead, I left just before midnight and came back by 8am to see the results. By then there were few people still standing coding and even fewer were coherent. Regardless, I’m looking forward to next time around.. I’ll just prepare a bit better on the sleep front.

Friday Night Hackery!

Disclosure: I was there representing Twilio as a sponsor.