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Journey of a Data Warrior

Data Monster — A Data Hackathon by Indix (Recap)

Idea:

At Indix, we’ve always wanted to connect with the developer community. As a first step, we planned on hosting a Hackathon. At the same time, we wanted to create awareness about the importance of (virtual) Data. So we held a Data Hackathon on March 29-30 at Indix’s Chennai office. And, to make things spicier, we created a Data Monster for the warriors (hackers) to slay.email-confirmed-warrior

Plan:

Within 3 weeks, we got over 170 registrations from all over India wanting to attend the Data Hackathon. We picked 50 participants based on their profile and the interest they showed towards data. We laid out a detailed plan and agenda for the event.

Event:

The Beginning:

The sun rose and the warriors started assembling on the Battleground for the huge event. While they were settling down and enjoying the ambience, we were prepping the monsters – the Data Sets. We had 48 warriors. To break the ice, Arun Buduri (Director of Architecture and Program Management) talked about the agenda. Then Rajesh Muppalla (Co-founder and Director of Engineering), gave a talk about Hackathons in general and how different the Data Hackathon is from the rest. He also gave a brief overview of what we do at Indix, and how we are building the world’s largest product database.

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After that, Shailesh Kumar from Google gave a presentation on “Map-Reduce and the Art of Thinking Parallel” and “Co-occurrence Analytics” via G+ Hangouts. The warriors had lunch before going into battle. At 1430 hours sharp, we let the monsters out. We gave the hackers a bunch of Datasets hosted locally for them to play with. Of course, they were free to hack on anything they wished. Sampath Jagannathan (Product Manager) gave an onboarding talk about the Indix API for interested developers.

It went on…

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Ideas started flying in the air. We wanted to make sure that none of the developers felt lost. So a group of us were always around to support the warriors in any way we could, from mentoring to getting extra LAN cables. We planned on musical performances from Arun Buduri, Praveen Selvam and Agnibha Kumar during dinner. It was rock and roll. The battle went on overnight. Though we had arranged for mattresses, most of the warriors stayed up all night hacking on their idea. Impressive! We also set up a projector to show all the live tweets about the event.

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Happy ending!

At 1430 hours on Sunday, we asked the developers to take their hands off the keyboard. It was time to present what they had done in the past 24 hours, or should I say, showing off the monsters they had tamed. Warriors were grouped into three classes based on what part of the Data spectrum they worked on: scraping/parsing (Scouts), structuring/analyzing (Scholars) and visualizing (Craftsmen). There were a total of 16 teams who presented their ideas and all of them amazed us. Size of the teams varied from 1 to 3. The judging committee – Rajesh Muppalla, Satya Kaliki (Co-founder and VP of Engineering and Architecture), Nikhil Ketkar (our Director of Engineering) and Anirudh Venkatraman (Product Manager) – examined all the hacks from various perspectives. We chose 9 winners, as below, in no order of priority:

ChennaiNerd, 3Girls To Hack, Cre@+!0n, Sowmya, ByteMeMonster, DoubLXL, css(chence), Avengers, DataCrunchers.

The winners were awarded Raspberry Pis, Arduino kits, Github vouchers and interesting books. We didn’t want to have any hierarchy in distributing prizes. So we distributed the prizes to the most interesting, useful, and unique hacks.

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Takeaway:

Though this was the first time we conducted such a huge event, it went very smoothly, and was a tremendous success. We achieved our main goal of strengthening our relationship with the developer community, and creating an awareness about the importance of Data. A big thank you to our partners 3Scale, GitHub and O’Reilly. A few Tweets from the event:

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From more Tweets, click here.

We will definitely be hosting more events like this in the upcoming future. Please stay tuned.

–        A Data Warrior

 

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