EL Hackathon 2.0 project experience at #Latism14 #TopBloguera

Disclosure: This post is part of my all expense paid trip to Los Angeles, CA  provided Latinos in Social Media to attend the TopBloguera Retreat. However, all opinions are 100% mine.

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Ever since I started programming I had always wanted to immerse myself into the hackathon culture. At #Latism14 I finally had that opportunity! I signed up for El Hackathon a 42 hour hackathon in Anaheim, CA sponsored by Mobile Future. ¡¿Un jaka-qué?! It MUST be a place where power hungry hackers get together and contemplate a way to take over your bank account and the world….right? WRONG! A hacakthon is a 24-48 hour event for developers, entrepreneurs, innovators and designers to join forces and cresting new technology aimed towards solving problems in their communities. A sort of launchpad for ideas where anyone (no prior coding experience needed) can connect with developers create new projects. El Hackathon aimed towards the Hispanic community.

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The hackathon started with an intro and mingle session where individuals connected to find teammates and to start coding and creating. I, unfortunately, was not able to make this session and decided to create my project on my own.

This years hacker pool consisted of 75% females compared to 20% of women in the tech work force and the amount of women that attend hackathon which is only 15%.

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For my project I created a spin off version of the app “My Fitness Journey” which I presented at the White House as part of the ESA LOFT Video Game Innovation Fellowship. My new app is called “Hot or Not: Vegan Edition”, my app is aimed towards anyone in the mood for vegan food and helps find delicious local vegan food. Veganism is an ever-growing community which is why I created this app ,to support the vegan community. My second app was “LatinoOpp”, an app created to help the Latino community find opportunities like scholarships and local activities to help them advance their careers and build their self-esteem.

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Me presenting my app for the first time.

On the last day of El Hackthon each team had to present their “hack” to the judges, Felix Ortiz (@FWOIII), Sal Mendoza (@salmendoza), Giovanni Rodriguez (@giorodriguez) and Nydia Gutierrez (@ nyds007). As each team went up to present I became more and more nervous, I thought “How could I, someone who has never been to a hackathon and had to present in front of esteemed tech judges, ever compete with these experienced college students?” It was finally my turn, as I headed up to present I let all my nervousness wither away and called the stage my home. I presented my first app “Hot or Not: Vegan Edition” and then my second app “LatinoOpp”. I was asked multiple questions from the judges such as “How will you create revenue”, and “How will you make your app appeal to multiple audiences?” to which I responded promptly.

After presentations were over all the hackers awaited the results. Oscar G Torres (@Oscargt), one of El Hackathon’s head organizers, approached the hackers and named the 1st, 2nd and 3rd place winners (The winners also had to demo their tech in front of the ENTIRE conference on stage).

As the winners were announced my mouth dropped…….I WON 1ST PLACE for my “Hot or Not: Vegan Edition” app! I was so surprised, just goes to show even if the odds are stacked against you, keep going and try your hardest.

Here I am demoing my app to the entire Latism conference.

I met so many great developers and entrepreneurs and learned so much from each of them. I am so glad I went! Thank you Ana Roca for this opportunity to be a TopBloguera, you really make dreams come true! Here are some pictures from the entire conference 🙂

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