Skip to main content

Hackathons as a market

A hackathon is an event where people gather to share ideas, collaborate and solve problems, usually within a 2 or 3 day span of time. Participation is generally limited and often application based, making these events more and more competitive between applicants. To run a hackathon, organizers often ask companies to sponsor them, and in return the company gets access to an enthusiastic group of people with particular skill sets. We can consider this event to be several markets.

In this scenario, we can consider the hackathon to be a market where organizers petition companies to sponsor the hackathon and pay the costs in return for exclusive access to the talent it attracts. Organizers get the money to run a successful hackathon and gain prestige while companies get positive publicity and the opportunity to pick out potential new hires from a wide pool of enthusiastic people. Therefore this trade can only be executed between companies and organizers, effectively forming a bipartite set of organizers and companies. Organizers of hackathons will not have money to fund others and will find little meaning in doing so. Often, organizers can run themed hackathons, ones that are focused on a particular subject or problem. This has the upside of attracting specialized and niche talent, therefore becoming an opportunity of great interest to the companies in the field.

We can also consider the relationship between applicants and organizers to be a market. Applicants trade their time and resumes for an opportunity to have fun and meet with companies. In addition due to its growing competitive nature, applicants can gain prestige and prizes for completing a successful project. Since entry is application based, organizers can pick out people to maintain a wide variety of skill levels, which will make their event even more attractive to companies and get more sponsor money, creating a complicated situation involving a tripartite set of agents.

Finally, we can consider the exchange of ideas to be another market. This currency can be shared between anyone, companies, organizers, or participants. A well executed idea will be attractive to many parties, prompting more investment and prestige to the originators. In this example, everyone is nearly an equal and this ‘currency’ can be freely exchanged among any agents.


Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.