The Joplin, MO Hackathon this weekend hits close to home. Dubbed by some “the tornado Hackathon” this event is a cooperative venture between the City of Joplin and Kansas-based Civic Plus. Here’s how the organizers set one of the tangible goals for the weekend:
The result will be a new “digital town hall” for the City that will facilitate continued healing for the community but also create a model for all cities and counties as they look to increase government-to-citizen interaction and communication. The City of Joplin will become a showcase for how governments and citizens interact not just day-to-day, but most importantly, when disaster strikes.
The event hits close to home because I grew up in Missouri, I got my engineering degree at the University of Missouri – Rolla, and I drive through that historic Route 66 town frequently. The city experienced a horrendous EF5 tornado about this time last year. It’s hard to overstate the devastation this storm wrought — it was more than a mile wide as it ripped through the southern part of the town.
I mention this Hackathon because is should remind us of an aspect of Hackathons that is easy to forget when you’re in the business of developer recruitment. Organizers may be interested in identifying the best developers to hire or the best businesses to fund. But there are a lot of developers who attend hackathons for completely non-commercial reasons. Some want to do something good with their talent, like creating a web presence that might save some lives the next time a storm rips through south-western Missouri. Others attend because they’re just plain fun.
So the next time you’re planning a hackathon, and you’re putting together the speadsheet to justify your company’s investment, remember not ever developer will make their decision based on cash.
To follow the hackathon, watch twitter for #joplinhackathon or check out the video feed.
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