Wednesday, August 17, 2016

What you should expect at your first ProtoHack

My first ProtoHack was successful one, in so many different ways.  But before I went to one, I had no idea what to expect.  Only the fact that I was going to this event (alone-ish) scared me a little,  but then when I found out that a few people that I know would be there, it calmed me a little.  As it turns out, this was one of the most welcoming event I have been to, so don't worry if you plan on going alone!

The ProtoHack was well organized with their own Slack group for people to connect before the event and also a mixer on the day before for people to meet up, pitch their ideas and perhaps form their team.  I didn't get a chance to attend the mixer, but I had no issues finding a team and connecting with people.

When it came to finding your team, it really was just by luck who you end up with and completely random if you don't know anyone there.  Even though I knew some people there, I went out on a limb because  I guess I was feeling adventurous that day and I also wanted to give this event a fair chance and experience it fully.  With that said, team dynamic can get a bit interesting if you end up with people that have strong personalities or have different personality than you in general. This is really part of the experience when you team up with complete strangers for one whole day!

There was also a friendly reminder at the beginning of the event about this too - be respectful and play nice =)

So what if you don't find a team? I really don't think that would be an issue.  Teams did have a limit of four people, but there were also people that really wanted to soak in the experience from afar.  There were also people that couldn't attend the whole day, so there is a bit of flexibility on that.
For the serious ones, ProtoHack really knows how to keep you focused and nourished with a kitchen stocked with snack and refreshments, 3 full meals and some creative juice (beer) throughout the day.
One thing that surprised me and made me feel at ease was the environment that we were "competing" in.  Even though we had pitches and judges, it was all very friendly and nobody took it too seriously.  Before this, I was always very shy about sharing my ideas - probably because they were always in my head - but I was completely at ease sharing our ideas and concepts with everybody.  Maybe it was the fact that we all believed in the idea that I felt confident in presenting it in front of a audience

So what happens after you pitch your idea with your group? What if we want to take it further? That's a very good idea.  One that we were faced at the end since we had such great feedback from it.  Well, as much as our team liked our idea and concept, nobody loved it enough to take it further.  This made it easy for us to part ways and saved us from any complications.  With that said, we as a team did debrief after and hashed out the details just to make sure we haven't missed anything.

So if you're looking for a day of creativity, ProtoHack's the place to be!

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