I consider myself a developer. Yet, as I'm sure is the case with most people who start a business, the more your business grows, the less you get to do of the thing that got you in to business to begin with. I spend a good portion of my day working with clients, answering emails, paperwork, etc. A very small sliver of my time is spent writing code. Which is a bummer because I really enjoy it. This is why I love hack-a-thons.
Earlier this year I took part in a weekend long event called GiveCamp. It was an absolute blast. My team built sites for two different non-profits here in Vegas. There's also been a series of events here in town called Startup Weekend. I haven't taken part in one of those yet, but plan to one of these days. Another that was a lot of fun was something a friend and I put together called Finish-up Weekend. We had joked about how going to Startup Weekend sounded like a lot of fun, but you end up on Monday with another project that you want to keep working on. For Finish-up Weekend, we decided that you couldn't start on anything new, but had to FINISH a project that has been sitting on the back burner. Even though it was only two of us, we had a blast and actually got some stuff pushed out the door.
As awesome as these weekend long events are, I don't always have an entire weekend, or even an entire day, to skip out on work and family to take part in a hack-a-thon. So when I get invites for events like ‘Night Owl Cowoorking', I jump at the chance to attend. Like I did tonight.
Night Owl Cooworking is a casual 3 hour event that takes place every couple months, typically at a coffee shop. The few times I've attended, they've all been at Grouchy John's, which is a great place with a nice sized lobby, free wifi and plenty of tables, chairs and couches.
When I attend these events, I like to consider them mini-hack-a-thons. I leave the house with my laptop primed to get to work on a specific project that I want to work on. Hack-a-thons, for me, are not for working on client work. They are for working on one of those back-burner projects that is begging for attention. For me, right now, that project is the WP Time Tracker plugin that I talked about yesterday. I absolutely love this project and I have a nice long list of features that I want to add. And a 3 hour block of time devoted to working on means I can usually knock out one or two small tickets, or maybe put some polish on something that's already in the works. The latter is what I did tonight. It was very gratifying to finally be able to click the ‘resolved' button next to a feature I have been working on for a short while now.
Not only are these type of events great for helping me move a project forward, they also have the power to recharge my excitement for what I'm doing at work.
want need more of them.