Nerds Converge At 2018 SXSW 24 Hour Hackathon Photo Feature



The SXSW 24 Hour Hackathon Experience

David Smooke, founder of, invited me down to check out the Hackathon this year. I have always been too busy to attend this kind of stuff, but decided to make it happen. I am very happy I did as it was a really cool experience. I showed up on the last day for the presentations and watched each team do their thing. I was thoroughly impressed with the caliber of competition and the fact that people traveled from all over the world to attend.

My main take away from this event is to encourage more people to step out of their comfort zone and attend something like this. You will not only increase your dev skills, but you will also meet a bunch of cool people who are just as passionate about developing as you. Most importantly, it will teach what it’s like pitching a project to a group of potential investors. Rather than bore you with a bunch of words, I took some photos so you could see for yourself what goes down at Hackathon.

What is the SXSW Hackathon?

“When you think of SXSW, depending on who you are you either think of the best new music, technology, or movies,” said Travis Laurendine. “As a polymath myself, I co-created the SXSW Hackathon to be the blender where all of the elements of SX are united as one and the incubator to give the winning teams SXSW itself as their initial and very fertile testing ground for real world users.”

“This year as the ultimate nod to the importance of innovation at the intersection of technology and entertainment, we have some of the most valuable companies in the country sponsoring and sending engineers to help participants build things for artists and their consumers to use,” Travis continued. “I can’t wait to see what these super star developers build on these consumer platforms that translate to over $1 trillion in market cap. Especially when they see what’s in the new sandbox that Capitol Records is bringing into the mix and the other music, film and API surprises we have waiting for them!”

Over 25 teams from around the world developed ideas utilizing the sponsors technology or platforms in 24 hours and presented to the judges. The projects all had to be music or entertainment related which made it really interesting. Capital Music Group opened up their entire catalog of music for the hackers to use at their disposal if they so pleased.

Many teams worked all night without sleep to create a working prototype for their presentation. There were literally hundreds of laptops and mobile devices in one room creating a wireless, magnetic nerd apocalypse. Everyone was getting down to business.

Each team presented their idea to the panel of judges who asked questions and commented on their presentations. There were also mentors on deck to help and guide the teams along the way.

2018 SXSW Hackathon Judges

·Tuhin Roy (Universal Music)

· Ryan Walsh (Floodgate)

· Tiffany Zhong (Gen Z Whisperer)

· Jay Zalowitz (Hacker Noon)

· Jeremy Gardner (AUSUM Ventures)

· Waco Hoover (XLIVE)

· Jeff Liebenson(Liebenson Law)

· David Sikorski (Earmilk)

· Lucy Guo (Scale API)

· David Smooke (Hacker Noon & AMI)

2018 SXSW Hackathon Mentors

· Lily Chen (Universal)

· Gerome Vanherf (Leansquare/ Wallfornia Music Tech)

· Ty Roberts (Ty Roberts Innovation)

· Danny Lee (YG Entertainment)

· Andee Gardiner (Founders Embassy)

· Dano Leman (Reven8te/Ticket Galaxy)

· Louise-Marie Marguet (Emojam).

The dialog between the judges and teams was both constructive and to the point. One of the main questions for teams integrating blockchain to their project was Jay Zalowitz’s “Why does this need to be on the blockchain versus an existing SQL database?” It became somewhat of a joke.

Practice Hero, who ended up winning second place, developed a prototype that integrated a keyboard with the Amazon Alexa api designed to help teach you to be a better musician.

One of the teams integrated a VR head set with the Facebook API that would allow people to watch an event from multiple angles. David Smooke, the man behind Hacker Noon, strapped on the VR headset and took it for a test ride.

There were some funny characters at the Hackathon. This team brought their ‘A game during their presentation and were pumping up the crowd with WWE type chants while throwing out FREE swag! It paid off as they took home one of the prizes.

The sponsors stepped up with food, refreshments and a bunch of awesome cash and prizes for the teams. The table on the right was filled with cool stuff for the winning teams to pick from.


USAAUSAA, known for its innovative approach to bringing banking and insurance to its members, is joining us for the SXSW Hackathon as the presenting sponsor.

Amazon Alexa. Alexa is a cloud-based voice service from Amazon. Alexa is the brain behind Amazon Echo and other Alexa-enabled devices.

Amazon Web Services. Amazon Web Services (AWS) is a secure cloud services platform, offering compute power, database storage, content delivery and other functionality to help businesses scale and grow. Millions of customers are currently leveraging AWS cloud products and solutions to build sophisticated applications with increased flexibility, scalability and reliability.

Capitol Music Group. Capitol Music Group (CMG) is comprised of Capitol Records, Virgin Records, Motown Records, Blue Note Records, Astralwerks, Harvest Records, Capitol Christian Music Group, and CMG’s independent distribution division, Caroline.

ConsenSys. ConsenSys is a global formation of technologists and entrepreneurs building the infrastructure, applications, and practices that enable a decentralized world.

Cloudinary. Manage web and mobile media assets with Cloudinary, the leading cloud service: image and video upload, storage, manipulation, optimization, digital asset management and delivery.

Additional partners are Devpost and Hacker Noon. 🙂

When it was all said and done, there was a beat box competition with two world class beat boxers who were also developing a beat box battle platform. Their app would allow beat boxers to battle real-time from anywhere around the world.

Travis was the dude making announcements and running the show. He had a very colorful outfit and cool hair. Don’t hate the player, hate the game!

During the closing ceremony, each sponsor awarded prizes to the teams they felt integrated their products best. These are the winning teams who developed projects on the facebook API. For more photos of the winning teams, please check out the photo gallery.

Scalp V by Ryan Constant was the 1st place winner. He took home 6k. USAA double downed on prize money for the winners. Not bad for a few days of hustling.
The Practice Hero team (Sun Soravis, Matthew Li, Eduardo Luna, and Amer Din) took second place with a 4k payday.
The Focus team (Andrew Clasen & Remington Griffin) took 3rd Place with a 2k payday.

More Event Photos

There are more event photos HERE of all the teams doing presentations and accepting awards. Please feel free to use any photos royalty free. All we ask is that you credit hackernoon/@piratebeachbum.

>>>Click Here To Access More Photos<<<

Special thanks to all the sponsors, judges, mentors and participants. I hope to see all you at next year’s SXSW Hackathon. Extra special thanks to David Smooke and for helping to get me into the event.

Find me on twitter @piratebeachbum or Hackernoon/@piratebeachbum

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