11436 SSO

Need API and developer adoption? Try a Hack Day!

Mar 09, 2011

Want to launch your API with a bang?  Or get more internal adoption?

Hack Days (or Hackathons) give developers a day off to build anything they can dream up. No rules. At the end of the day, developers demo for glory and free beer.

LinkedIn had a great one. And there are independent Hack Days.

If your API is only available to developers inside the company - even more reason. Why?

- Get the word out - Hack Day is a high profile way to drive adoption and build grass-roots excitement internally.

- Showcase innovation - with great new Hacks and product ideas you'd never have thought of.

- Get those example apps! -  need example apps and code on your developer portal?  Don't DIY or pay someone -use the best Hacks!

- Eat your own dogfood -  Find bugs before releasing your API to partners.

-Get recruits! -   Need good hires for the API team but don't want to ask?


Here are a few tips:

- Dedicate time  - give developers a full day with no distractions.  

- Team up!   Encourage developers to team up and mix skillsets.  

- Demo for glory.  Get your CEO and execs to judge demos at day's end.   The Hack doesn't have to be finished.  Prizes are nice but recognition might be enough.

- Feed me!  Beer and free food can take a OK Hack Day and make it a *great* hack day. ;-)

- Start small, but rinse and repeat.  Your first Hack Day might be small and a little rough.  Buy the 3rd or 4th time - you might have Beck playing on your lawn.

- Productize!  Have a labs page or a way to turn great hacks into real product.  

- Provide tools.  Give your developers an API console to learn your new API and debug API problems.

(Thanks to SimpleGeo for the image above)

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