Once you Hack, you don't go back! Hack Manchester 2014 Preview

Jack Simpson

Head of Marketing and Communications

Those who believe in telekinetics, raise my hand.

One working week to go, and competition at Windsor Works is running hot. With two official teams, and at least one and a half unofficial teams, its safe to say there will be an abundance of Webbies at the annual event this year. Headline sponsored by our sister company, angel investment organisation WA:UK Tech Angels, we’ve been looking forward to Hack Manchester 2014 since last year’s ended.

L-R: Brodie, Ben, Lora, and Damir. The dream team?

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The epic 24-hour coding competition is a demanding test of mental and physical fortitude, though hopefully the comfort packs provided by Tech Angels will alleviate some of the stress. I caught up with Ben Nawaz (above, centre left) and Lora Lovchalieva (above, centre right), one half of our official IP (Industrial Placement Student) team, to see how they were feeling with only a few days to go.
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It’s your first time at Hack this year. If you had to sum up the way you feel in a few words, what would they be?

Lora: I cant – I’m excited, but not nervous, despite the fact there is a lot of work to do. The extra hour [because of the clocks going back] this year will be a big help.

Ben: Not adequately prepared. Im joking! Nervous. Excited. Determined? Game-face!

Lora, you’ve been named as team captain for your team. How have you been preparing the guys?

Lora: It’s been easier than I thought. We work well as a team, there’s been a great atmosphere, no arguments, and ideas have been flowing in our talks. There’s a good work-ethic and no laziness. I’ve had some new ideas for the presentation video, actually, I’ll have to see what the team think.

Speaking of the presentation video, which teams typically begin work on around the time they start to lose their sanity – how do you feel you’re going to cope with the 24-hour aspect of the hackathon?

Ben: (laughing) I’m not. I’ll be done by 8. That said, I have had some great advice from a few veteran Webbies. Simon told me the key to success is grabbing a beanbag early, so I’ll be all over that.

Lora: I’m way more worried about Monday morning!

There’s a well-known urban legend around here that Ian Munro began to lose his mind towards the end of Hack Manchester one year – do you think anyone will go insane this year?

Lora: Probably me – I don’t think I will be able to sleep until the job’s done!

Have any hints for us about what you’ll be working with?

Ben: Watch out for some AngularJS and some PHP. That’s all you’re getting!

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Inspired by the advice Simon gave to Ben, I looked to see if any other veteran hackathon participants had advice to first-timers this weekend. Developer Safder said the trick is to set achievable targets for your hack. “Break it down into clear, smaller goals. You’ll find it’s easier to stay motivated when you keep hitting your targets.”

So there you have it. All that remains is to stock up on some high-octane energy drinks and morale-boosting junk food. Good luck to all teams at MOSI this weekend. Code hard or go home!