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Hack the Planet, or RVA Hackathon 2014 — maybe both

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RICHMOND, Va. (WTVR) — In a seeming juxtaposition, the RVA Hackathon will be held at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden.

But it’s perfect. Nature creates, and so do developers.

RVA Hackathon, now in its third year, is the brainchild of Richmond developer Mobelux, whose client list includes Disney, Marvel, Elixir, Tumblr and HDL.

One thing brought to my attention is that this isn’t just a techie event.

You don’t have to design an app, or an arc reactor or robot. You can, if you CAN, but there is more going on at this event.

A main goal is to bring awareness to homegrown talent in Richmond.

Organizers said that many skilled programmers and coders and being plucked from Richmond to work in Silicon Valley or New York City. Yet the reality is that Richmond boasts a huge pool of qualified workers right here, if only more tech companies would set up shop (or stay) in Richmond.

On the education front, many new jobs now requiring coding skills, and often times school curriculums aren’t keeping up.

“I’m a big believer in collaboration rather than networking. With events like this [and the 804RVA coworking space] you interact with people through projects,” said Larkin Garbee, a woman at the forefront of Richmond’s burgeoning tech and startup community. “At the end of the day, you get to see this big thing teams and individuals have created.”

“Sometimes from these projects, companies are started, which can create jobs, solve problems for people in the community and more,” Garbee added. “The more of these that happen, the more reason creative types have to stay here.”

“They learn that there are other people (maybe outside of their market/industry) than they thought. It could keep them here because they find there’s this big community all around.”

The RVA Hackathon concept remains simple: challenge area web and mobile developers, programmers, designers and other “makers” together for a day of competitive coding.

The rules: There aren’t many. Hackers can use any platform, theme or language they wish. They can win independently or as a team. The catch: Create something awesome over the course of 10 hours and then present to a panel of judges and a live audience.

The win: Bragging rights, mostly. Although, small prizes will be awarded to the best in: Show, Concept, Design, Execution. Participants also have a shot at being the Crowd Favorite.

The purpose: First and foremost, the RVA Hackathon is about having fun. It’s a creative outlet for the region’s best and brightest IT professionals and enthusiasts. The organizers designed the event to rally support for the developer community and inspire coders from all walks of life to connect and create.

“A compressed timeline gives you a deadline—it’s easy to have ideas in your head and work on them over time, but an event like this forces you to sit down with like-minded people and do it, much like putting off cleaning your house but then realizing you’re having guests over,” Garbee said.

Tickets are on sale now for just $25 at www.rvahackathon.com and include breakfast, lunch, dinner and all the coffee you can drink.

Here is the official 2014 RVA Hackathon page.

*Hack the Planet is not a force of destruction, but rather one of creativity.*


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