eventgetLIT didn't start out very bright.
Three young woman from Atlanta ventured into the Big Orange Country with little idea of what to expect out of Volhacks. (But all great stories start with naive heroines, right?) Having never attended a hackathon and two of three members not coming from strict computer science backgrounds didn't make for a promising start.
We just want to make something work, they said. If we don't embarrass ourselves, we'll be fine, they said.
They expected many scenarios to come out of Volhacks - many of them centered around frustrations with their abilities (or inability) to accomplish their goals, insecurities about knowing what the hell was going on, potential feelings of incredible triumph of surpassing insurmountable odds -
Yeah, none of this really happened.
Perhaps looking back, it's strange to think that this experience could have been any different than what it has been. Our three heroines expected a dungeon out of Min Kao: no fun, no sun, snacks only for Android developers (but seriously, at the very least a marginally tense environment filled with people panicking to code at every moment). Yet, within their first hour they found that perhaps some of their fears were exaggerated if not unfounded. And at the very beginning of this 36 hour journey they were charged by a Knight of MLH to learn how to weave a story with a Vessel of Knowledge: the Amazon Echo.
At this point in the story, it should be noted that our beloved main characters were chalked full of adrenaline and Moe's. So they're up for anything. Taking the Vessel of Knowledge in stride, they retreat to their mattress fortress to answer the questions: how do we program with this thing, crap, can we even use python?, how do we turn Alexa ON????, IS IT ON YET? - but as with every hero's journey, there is a mentor, a wizard who can speak magical words and things become clear. In this case, there are two: Marsal and Andrew.
Marsal and the three heroines actually hail from the same kingdom. However, he took time out of his schedule trying to spread the Gospel of the Mighty Yak Overlord to check in on the team. Quite honestly, just the fact that at least one person had some genuine interest in the hack gave the young heroines the extra push to ground themselves and remember: if they can be okay with no showers for the weekend, they can write some damn code.
Andrew was an unknown to the young women. Indeed, he went out of his way to seek them out. As fate would have it, in the past Andrew, had been such a wielder of the Vessel. Time and time again throughout the 36 hours, he would offer words of wisdom and suggestions on strategy.
More than their mentors though, throughout this entire process, these women were reminded that they were more self-sufficient than they remembered. Getting a masters degrees comes with a complementary masters in Googling which came quite in handy to learn how to tackle different aspects of the Hack. They collaborated and throught through all logic structures to ensure that as many parameters and edge cases that they could think of would be solved. One hour bleed into two hours into four hours.. and as time passed, the things they learned grew exponentially:
Intent Schemas, Utterances, Lambda Functions, APIs, GitHub, Pull Requests, Slack Slack Slack, Terminal Commands on Crack
And I suppose this brings you to this point at this time: the end of Volhacks. The End of a Journey. Maybe you've seen our Demo, maybe you haven't yet. Maybe you're just browsing through the projects. But at the end of all this, there's only one take away you need:
Our hack works. And right now, we're as lit as you can get.