Believe it or not, the SICK Solution Hackathon 2023 is the 67th hackathon that Sam Larsen-Disney is attending! In addition to participating as a hacker, he has also been a guest speaker and has even written a book all about hackathons called "The Hackathon Survival Guide” - the guide that helps you through every hackathon to make the best of it!” Actually, he used to think they were pretty boring. Here you can read more about why he changed his mind, why he wrote his book (which offers great advice and great illustrations) and what makes hackathons so special to him.
Just a few years ago, Sam did not have a positive view of hackathons. He was under the impression they were nothing but a bunch of programmers hanging out in a basement for some time. Now he is a big fan, thanks to a friend who took him to his. He and his friend created an app with a music system that determined where someone was walking and played the appropriate music for that location. For example, if you were walking past Abbey Road, it would play Beatles songs. "The app was pretty clunky …it looked awful!" laughs Sam. They left the hackathon before it concluded but got lots of calls afterwards asking them to come back because people were excited about their idea. So, the friends tried again at another hackathon, developing another app called "Spidentitfy", which could identify a spider or snake bite based on its features. They ended up winning first prize… perhaps because the app also identified Donald Trump as a snake, Sam adds with a laugh. Thus began his interest in hackathons.