Category Archives: How-to

Why #in50hrs doesn’t declare winners

Time and time again people ask us who are the winners of In50hrs and what do they get. I stop and ponder for a while and I realize that there are a lot of hackathons where there areprizes and winners being announced.

We had written a post earlier on how In50hrs is an Idea-to-Prototype event and not a hackathon. The difference is that, a prototype becomes a product and a product becomes a startup.  a hack… err, what do they become? Well, We havent quite figured out the answer to that. Most of the times, it doesnt become anything.

We realized after a few editions of In50hrs, that the “winners” we announced were the first to drop off. Teams dispersed and never did anything beyond that. Whereas the ones that built a prototype but didnt win, went off to do something beyond it - sometimes just to prove that they were the better ones.

On analysing this we realized it was a matter of satisfying vs gratifying. One a team has “won”, the mindset is that of a milestone crossed, mission accomplished and it is very hard to rally a team to still stick around. Once goals are met, teams dispurse. But with nothing more than a prototype in hand, you still have the onus of customer development, to go into the market (aka, get the hell out of the building) and talk to people and validate what you started off with. If you don’t follow up with that step, the prototype building process was a weekend getaway, with nothing to show for.

As per our statistics, one third of the teams that come together at In50hrs stay together post the event and ship the product - at the least an alpha launch page. Its a huge gulf crossed, because once people sign up, wanting to test the product the team gains momentum to wanting to launch it.

We try to delay the gratification and are consciously steering clear to give any signs that you have crossed the well. Until you hit customers, launch, and get real users behind your product you haven’t. And when you do that, the market will tell you whether you won or not, or if its time to go back to the drawing board. In any case, none of us - not even the jurors (who are mislabelled at in50hrs) have a say in that.

How to make a pitch (at In50hrs)?

We’ve done a post earlier on how to pitch to a team mate. Since we are scaling up to a few more locations, we thought it would make sense for folks to understand the format of what goes into a pitch when you attend In50hrs.

Each Pitch in In50hrs is timed at 3 minutes. For an effective pitch, this is the outline to follow:

1. Introduce yourself.

2. Explain the problem statement.

3. Explain the solution you are proposing

4. Briefly mention what your strengths are, what you bring to the table, and what you are looking for.

If you’d like a breakup of the time, the recommended format is: 30 seconds - Two Minutes - One minute and 30 seconds.

Now, remember what the adage says, “Practice makes perfect”. Practice your pitch before you arrive at the event, it makes all the difference.