Lehigh Valley Tech, a local technology and entrepreneurship enthusiast group, will be throwing the inaugural hackathon event in an effort to draw designers and developers to the Lehigh Valley for a weekend of fun and collaboration. These self-proclaimed geeks, affectionately known as “hackers”, come together to experiment with new technologies and to test out new ideas in an environment where they can team up with other hackers that they may not have worked with before.
Although hackathons have been taking place for awhile, especially in places like Silicon Valley, they have gained recent popularity from the movie “The Social Network”. The movie portrays the future CEO of Facebook hosting a hackathon in order to vet potential computer engineers for the burgeoning social network. In his letter to investors, entitled “The Hacker Way”, Mark Zuckerberg writes, “Hackers believe that the best idea and implementation should always win — not the person who is best at lobbying for an idea or the person who manages the most people. To encourage this approach, every few months we have a hackathon, where everyone builds prototypes for new ideas they have.”
Some might think that “hackers” are those cyber-criminals who are trying to steal credit card information or break into the FBI’s computer systems. This is certainly the image that has been portrayed by Hollywood. However, the organizers of Lehigh Valley Tech are quick to downplay the stereotype.
“We are by no means advocating any illegal activities during Lehigh Valley Hack 2012. We simply want to bring together a group of very smart and very talented folks who are interested in building some really cool things over the course of a weekend,” explains the group’s founder Mark Koberlein.
Apparently, Lehigh Valley technology-based businesses believe that this hackathon is worth investing in. Two local companies, INetU and EcoTech Marine, have signed-on as lead sponsors for the event.
When asked why they felt it was important to sponsor the hackathon, Duane Zoscin, Marketing Manager at INetU explained, “As an IT company that has grown up in the Lehigh Valley, INetU is excited to support the local developer community. Participants in [Lehigh Valley Hack 2012] could be our future clients, partners or employees.”
Patrick Clasen, Director of Finance at EcoTech Marine, expressed his excitement for the event, “The Lehigh Valley Hack is the first event of this kind in the Lehigh Valley. Finally, an opportunity for unconventional minds to work together and create opportunity.”
Why has Ben Franklin Technology Partners opened their doors to this unfamiliar event? “Ben Franklin Technology Partners understands the power of collaboration in creating innovative solutions to difficult technical problems,” explains Wayne Barz, Manager of Entrepreneurial Services at the organization. “We view an event like [Lehigh Valley Hack 2012] to be an important part of building the technology economy in northeastern Pennsylvania and we’re happy to offer our facility and support.”
“Ben Franklin TechVentures is the perfect place to host this event,” adds Lehigh Valley Tech co-organizer Anthony Durante. “Ben Franklin Technology Partners is the premier organization in the Lehigh Valley and Pennsylvania for driving innovation and technology. That’s what the Lehigh Valley Hack is all about – finding new and innovative ways to solve problems.”
If people are curious to see what was built during Lehigh Valley Hack 2012, they are invited to come to Ben Franklin Tech Ventures on Sunday, April 1st at 1:00pm. Each hackathon team will be showing off what they built and prizes will be awarded for the best hacks. Doors will be open to the public and everyone is welcome to join in the fun. For more information or to register for the event visit http://hack.lehighvalleytech.org
Founded in March 2011, Lehigh Valley Tech is a group of designers, developers, engineers, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, investors, and technologists dedicated to promoting technology and entrepreneurship in the Lehigh Valley. Though its efforts, Lehigh Valley Tech hopes to help transform the regional economy into a vibrant, self-sustaining environment that creates jobs and wealth for the 21st Century Lehigh Valley and its surrounding regions. Lehigh Valley Tech views the Lehigh Valley as one region within a greater network of economic regions, where the success of one leads to the success of all. In order for this to happen, everyone must be willing push the boundaries of technology, education, and states of mind beyond what are traditionally accepted limits.
# # #
Lehigh Valley Tech is a group of designers, developers, engineers, enthusiasts, entrepreneurs, investors, and technologists dedicated to promoting technology and entrepreneurship in the Lehigh Valley.