My first AOL Hatch Day was unlike anything I've ever experienced. The event ran for a full day, on June 6th, and was focused mainly on enhancing MapQuest's ability to help users plan summer getaways. Roughly 15 teams gathered from across the globe and AOL's talent was well represented in this mash-up of developers. After finding our way to the 5th floor, we took our spot and anxiously awaited the event to begin. At 10'oclock, the teleconference kicked off and the projected ideas started getting bounced around and discussed. The hatching had begun!
The real beauty of Hatch Day is the ability to draw creativity from everywhere. My teammate and I didn't have any solid ideas going into the event, however, the creative atmosphere helped us come up with our own plans while listening to other project ideas get thrown around. Once the necessary tools and development-kits were downloaded, we were able to dive straight into our coding.
When the time ran out, we weren't anywhere close to being finished. Our idea was well crafted and halfway implemented, but the day seemed to slip away too quickly! Shortly after 3:30pm, the judges began to evaluate the finished projects. The other groups presented their projects one-by-one. A couple that stood out to me included a full-scale trip planner that let you calculate every aspect down to the price of gas; a tool to gather your friends in one spot; and Facebook integration to seamlessly match your likes with other users' to determine a hangout location. The creativity and ability involved with these projects was mind-blowing!
Even though our ideas never came to fruition, we walked away from the event with more code and insight than we had when we entered. My first Hack-A-Thon, was overwhelming to say the least. Hatch Day exists as more than just a Hack-A-Thon. It serves as a creative hotbed for all of AOL; the products produced in just one day for one platform were outstanding! Given more Hatch Days, one can only imagine the amount of creative property that would be produced. I know I'm hooked on them already!
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