Chicago API Hackday Recap

Wheels down ORD at 6 AM Saturday morning. It was another redeye for me, but I had more energy than I thought I would. A coder’s high, if you will. Though this past Saturday was Chicago’s first API Hackday, we were all set to make it the best one held anywhere. Daniel, Keith (whom you’ll meet next week), and I joined our friends at SendGrid, SimpleGeo, Mashery, and Apigee at Morningstar’s massive office in downtown Chicago to get things underway.

About 60 people showed up and the morning started with breakfast, brainstorming, and live demos from each company. After that, everyone was let loose to hack for the rest of the day. Teams formed and worked straight through, breaking only for Statest Pizza and 312 beer.

By 6 PM, it was time to submit code and about 20 teams presented. At a hackathon, getting things built quickly is key, and we were proud that many teams—including all the winning teams—were able to quickly integrate Twilio into their hacks.

The Winners

  1. Friend Checkin – sends you a phone call when one of your friends checks into a place on Facebook Places.
  2. Twhoacoder – call in, record your message, get a callback with your message vocoded.
  3. Interpretio – live phone translations to other languages.

The winners received $500, $250, and $100 Apple gift cards, but everyone left having learnt something new. This was my first time in Chicago, and despite the weather, I had a great time meeting the folks that power Chicago’s tech scene.