Beer, brats, polka and code: a recap of Twilio's first annual Hacktoberfest!

What do you get when you combine the best parts of Beer Fests, sausages, sexy code and German culture without requiring the transatlantic flight?  Twilio’s first-ever Hacktoberfest, a portmanteau of epic proportions! The beer, brats and polka set the stage for a night of crowd-stumping trivia and hack challenges. I buzzed around the event, rocking my Twilio swag instead of Lederhosen and finding out who could yodel out the best code.

Citizen Space, a co-working space just around the corner from Twilio HQ, hosted Hacktoberfest. Once the crowd of about 50 people settled down, Developer Evangelist John Sheehan took the mic and greeted the eager crowd. “How many ways can you kill a Python race?” remarked Sheehan before the first showdown. (Oh, let me count the ways)

Although trepidation swept the crowd as the initial games began, two developers — buidling on Python and Ruby, respectively — stepped up to the keyboard to show off their coding skills. The goal of the race was to write code that displayed the 999th prime number first and the winner was handsomely rewarded with a Kindle DX. Regrettably, I forgot to ask the winner if Goethe or Rilke would be the first e-book they decide to read.

Other challenges included Hacker Jeopardy, testing intelligence and agility in the hopes of winning a twilio messenger bag. As if questions about fonts, code history and founders weren’t tough enough, geeks at the fest sunk their hands in tubs of ice water to type the phrase “FizzBuzz”.

Patrick, an iOS developer at Will Call and winner of the FizzBuzz challenge, shivered over the perils of hacking in ice as cold as the Alps. Despite numb fingers, a short circuiting keyboard and a laptop that was inclined toward shutting down, Patrick was the victor, claiming the Kindle DX as his prize.

The final challenge was an act of extreme programming: writing a script to generate the lyrics of “99 bottles of beer on the wall.” On par with the theme of the game, the winner was handsomely rewarded with a beer brewing kit. The winner, Zephyr, like a breath of fresh air succinctly described what made Hacktober Fest so fun, “Cool prizes, smart people. Smart prizes, cool people.”