I, if you don't already know, am a huge fan of alternative ways of getting women into this amazingly exciting field. I had a great lunch the other day with a woman named Elena Silonok, she's pretty much what I want to be when I grow out of my eight colored hair and little kid hands. Not only is she beautiful, but she's brilliant and making the world a better place. Meeting women like her gets me all inspired again and reminds me why I do this in the first place (besides, you know, loving it).
I got this article sent to me in a DM from my friend Amrit Richmond (dropping names like it's my job). I appreciate the attempt by Fast Company to get ladies interested in hackathons, lord knows that we can use it. In the past, even I have expressed the overwhelming abundance of hot guys in software development. However, I need to clear up, that a hackathon is the last place you want to go if you are looking for developers that share your love of ST:TNG (don't judge me, I didn't grow up on the original).
This is a picture of me from the last hackathon I did. Breadpig had an awesome event where we all got to play with legos overnight, and our legos battled each other in the morning. Wait, what, you can't see me you say? Oh, well that's because at this point my eyes are pretty red, my hair looked like something the cat threw up, and to be honest I probably wasn't smelling all that great either. See, I had just been working on this dang little feisty robot for 12 hours in a row. From 7pm to pretty much 7 in the morning. I showed up dead serious, and ready to work.
If you try to show up at one of these things all "heeeeeey, I'm here for the drinks and the small talk" no one will want to work with you. No one else is there to meet people (especially the guys, if they are there to meet anyone it's other guys, or they are extremely illogical in nature). They will smell it on you if you are, and no one wants dead weight on their team.
Why go to a hackathon if you are just going to get smelly and gross and you aren't able to make guys take your Myers-Briggs to see if you're compatible? I can only tell my story. About 3am at the Breadpig Hackathon I took a look up from my laptop to see a bunch of girls that weren't competing talking and giggling with some guys in the corner (this is not a knock on giggling girls, I have been one a few times in my life). I then looked around to see my friend Alexis (and my new friend Danielle) working on their bots, and a whole bunch of guys around them cranking away at theirs. I was super proud and in my mind I said "We're fucking awesome."
That's why you go to a hackathon, for the pride that you can hang, and to be happy in what you built. Now, go forth! Build cool shit! Tell people about it!