Alex's Tech Thoughts

Can Developers Really Be Bought Off To Build At Hackathons?

I was at TC Disrupt this past weekend and was talking to a ton of developers asking them what they were working on. It seemed like every other person I spoke with was building off of Mobli’s API. I found that a bit odd as Mobli is not super popular. I soon found out that Mobli was offering a $10,000 prize to the best use of the Mobli API. $10k is a lot of money and it all made sense- Mobli was buying off developers to use their API.

I’m singling out Mobli, but there were tons of companies giving out incentives to hack on their platform. I haven’t seen a single company give out quite as much money before, but offering prizes to use an API is nothing new. It’s a great thing for both companies and developers.

I think it will be interesting to see: 1) Will people continue to use the Mobli API once this hackathon is over? Does the big cash prize carry over post-hackathon? 2) Will anyone build anything meaningful on Mobli that lives on for more than a week or two?

Who knows, my gut tells me no, but you never know.

I guess the real question is whether developers can be bought off to build at hackathons and if this is a worthwhile route for companies to take or just a waste of money?

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  1. jordankoala said: I think this’ll depend a lot more on the overall experience of using the API — is it easy to integrate, are the Mobli people responsive to questions/concerns, etc.
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