Collecting trophies at TNW conference

This is a repost from an article I wrote for Devhouse Spindle

A couple of weeks ago, we went to The Next Web Hack Battle in Amsterdam. It has been the third year in a row that I participated in this event, and I love it. It is the best organised hackathon I know off. During The Next Web Hack Battle, you are being challenged to create a website or app within 36 hours while using one of the API’s of the API partners.

Please do this for me

Our team of nine people decided to build something with the Todoist API. We built an app called “Please do this for me” that allows people to publicly list todo’s by simply adding a @public tag within Todoist. We also used the UBER API to get the people who can get the job done at the places where they are needed.

Participating = winning

The team from left to right: Mark Leenders (Spindle), Rene Santing (Spindle), Maarten van Gijssel (HackerOne), Luuk Hartsema (Spindle), Yi Ming Yung (Spindle), Mark Vletter (Spindle), Sythe Veenje (Buro Baum), Egon Rijpkema (Spindle), Gijs Brandsma (Spindle)

Our team won the prize for best integration with the Todoist API. We were rewarded with awesome prizes! Of course, we were all very excited. But there is much to win at this event even without actually winning. So no reason to be sad if you don’t win anything, these five things will make it a great experience no matter what:

1. Meet awesome people

You get to talk to awesome people who are just as excited as yourself about the things you love. Also, you can talk with people in the tech industry who are attending the conference. I encourage you to talk to as many people as you can. Compared to most conferences, The Next Web Conference is less populated by sales/marketing people. There are a lot of technical people who are actually building products and often face the same problems as you do.

2. Share knowledge

Everyone is happy to share their knowledge and insights into their development processes and code stack. This often results in great new perspectives on specific issues.

3. Experiment with new stuff

You get to experiment with new techniques that may inspire you to do things different/better or solve faster in your own work.

4. Have fun

Participating is a lot of fun (disclaimer: as long as everyone has had enough sleep and nobody gets grumpy, of course ;)). During this short period of time you get to know your team members/colleagues well. You can also attend the talks at The Next Web Conference. The stages are awesome and the people giving talks are too!

5. Feel inspired

All these points together make you feel inspired. This, I believe, is the most important takeaway of going to conferences or hackathons.

So I hope to see you next year at TNW! Until then, you can read about this year’s presentations on The Next Web and here’s a funny movie made by the guys at Vooza.