Hack Junction 2015

Hack Junction is one of the biggest hackathons in Helsinki, bringing people all around the world to hack on certain topics with different partners such as Finnair, Uber, Shopify, and so on. There are hackers, designers, developers, engineers all working on different ideas for this one weekend. It was a pretty exciting event and I was fortunate to be part of it.

Check out their aftermovie for 2015:

How we join Hack Junction

Long story short, I was asked to join the team by my high school friend - "GGM", who was introduced to the Hack Junction event by his friend - "Jessie", who was asked to find a team from Taiwan for Hack Junction by her friend "Ivy", who was working as an intern at Reaktor in Helsinki, which is one of the partners for the Hack Junction event. That's how I got into the team.

By the way, Reaktor, Finnair and Finavia were the three partners in the "Air travel" track for Hack Junction. (There were a dozen of tracks in Hack Junction!)

In order to enter the Air Travel track, we have to submit a video to introduce our team and propose some ideas for the hackathon. We spent a couple weekends in October to put things together and the result was great. And luckily that’s how we got picked to join Hack Junction! Big thanks to Reaktor, Finnair and Finavia sponsoring our tickets to the event.

Here is the website & video we submit: http://bit.ly/team-tii
(We are Team Tii, including GGM, Yi, Zora, Lucien and me.)

Before Hack Junction

We arrived Helsinki a day before the hackathon so that we can spend some time exploring the city and of course adjusting jet lag... We also visited Reaktor's office and met with others who are joining the hackathon. On the next day we were invited by people from Finavia to take a tour inside Helsinki airport which helped us better understand how the air travel experience is like currently in Helsinki airport, and hopefully come up with some ideas for the hackathon. We even took a bus to one of the hanger to check out the interior of a retired airplane, quite an interesting experience! After the airport tour we went straight to Hack Junction’s venue and started our hacking weekend!

Street of Helsinki

During Hack Junction

The event started on Friday evening and ended on Sunday afternoon. It’s designed to let people spend the first evening meeting with other people and grouping into teams, and then spend the next two days coming up ideas, prototyping and preparing final presentation.

Hack Junction

Since we already have a team, we started to brainstorm ideas on the first evening, using the energy drinks to build a wall for us to put on sticky notes. (By the way people were amazed by how we used the energy drinks!) We thought about ideas around the experience on the airplane, and also the whole experience from your home to your destination. During our ideation stage there were people from different partnering companies or staffs from the event came to us to talk about our ideas and see how we are doing. We also got to spend some time walking around the venue to hear other people’s ideas not just from the Air Travel track but also other tracks. It’s like a great tank of ideas floating around in this room, hoping someone to grab it and make it happens.

Team Tii

After several hours of discussion, we settled down to one of our ideas - using Uber to deliver your luggage from your home to your destination, a true bagless air travel experience. We made a poster to introduce our idea, and also made three apps to showcase how a customer order the service, how a driver receive a luggage, and how user track their luggage. You can check out the full description of our project here: http://devpost.com/software/briopack


The Results?

After taking turns to sleep during the 48+ hours of hacking, we finally got everything ready for the presentation. We were the second one to present in the Air Travel track, and we only had about 5 minutes to present (including demonstrate our prototypes). Even though I talked a bit fast during the presentation, things went pretty well, people came to us to learn more about our ideas and our thoughts about the event.

Hack Junction

So, the results! The result was that we didn’t win the Air travel track, but we got lots of positive feedback from Reaktor, Finavia and Finair. They even asked us to present again at Reaktor to help them learn more about our idea and how we thought about the air travel experience! (But we already got plans for the next couple days so we didn’t do it…)

Overall, the Hack Junction experience was quite fun and at the same time exhausting. It’s definitely a great and memorable experience for me and I would love to join more hackathon in the future! Well done Team Tii and keep hack on!

Team Tii