Lim {Cheng Soon}

Hackathon No More

04 June 2012 - Penang, Malaysia

I love hackathon: teaming up with other programmers, trying out new things, building and shipping side-project in the sleepless and caffeine-filled weekend. It's fun and I used to do it once every couple of months.

But approaching my 30s, I have a different thought.

See, here's my typical hackathon now. The first 5-8 hours were good. Excitement set in. I found somebody to team up with, worked on couple of ideas and started building stuff. Hours later, I started to feel tired and I somehow couldn't get this new thing to work. "Not a big deal", I told yourself and drank a Red Bull. I kept munching on the chips on the table and felt I was on the right path to get this to work. I eventually solved it, only after another couple of hours. By that time, fatique set in and I really felt like going home and have a good night sleep. But I didn't want to let your fellow hackers down, and I really needed to ship this. So I drank a couple more Red Bulls and kept going...

The whole weekend turned out to be more painful than fun. I felt horrible (especially if I didn't manage to finish). And what's worse? It took days to recover.

Hence, I would like to make a modest proposal -- a healthier hackathon!

Wouldn't that be great? Hackathon like this would rejuvenating instead of draining the energy. It would be the perfect weekend retreat.

But, I don't think this would become a reality. Hackathon has been around for ages and it's unlikely to change. Besides, most people think hackers are superhuman and they shouldn't need to sleep.

And for me? I guess I'm too old for this shit.

Lim Cheng Soon is the founder of Hacker Monthly.