4 Reasons Why You Shouldn’t Join Hackathons (and 4 better reasons why you should)

4 min readSep 4, 2017


Hackathons are tech events where people come together to build something cool to try and change the world, causing even corporates to jump onto the bandwagon. There are many valid reasons why a hackathons are a waste of time and I think I have heard them all. But by popular vote: hackathons are meaningless because “continuation doesn’t exist” and to some extent, I agree.

The probability of most projects becoming short-lived, incomplete and that do not scale due to shallow understanding of real issues are very high. There have also been cases where some do continue with their ideas after the hackathon but gave up their million dollar ideas within the next few months. All because they did not consider the amount of commitment and sacrifices it required to build a successful business. As such, many are skeptical to say that nothing “real” ever comes out of hackathons. Aside from the issue of continuity, here are other reasons why hackathons suck.

1. Distraction: People feel good about shiny ideas that never have impact
2. Doesn’t create fundamental change
3. A free supply of ideas for corporates to steal from
4. False empowerment

While I do agree with the reasons on why hackathons are not necessarily a great experience, I have 4 better reasons why hackathons are more awesome than just a hype and a buzzword.

“Great minds discuss ideas, average minds discuss events, small minds discuss people.”

1. People learn better through experiences

Yes, it is very rare that something “real” ever comes out of hackathons but it provides and invaluable experience that you cannot recreate. At every hackathon, going through the experience allows you to learn something new, test your skills out and build something cool with a group of people they have never met before. Hackathons also create a platform for people to learn how to quickly take an idea that they have and build a basic level product demonstrating the feasibility of their idea. People learn how their skills can change the environment that they are in when faced with new challenges.

2. A tribe of like-minded people

Hackathons brings a community of people with the same goals and aspiration together. This is crucial for aspiring entrepreneurs because spending time with like-minded people has a direct impact (it’s scientifically proven!) on your own mindset. By seeking out other aspiring entrepreneurs like you, regardless of what industry or market they happen to be in, you’ll get fired up about being an entrepreneur. Their success, determination and confidence gives you the courage to make the next move and to keep you in the game. People in your tribe that you have found early in your journey are the ones that will push you to keep going against your worst because they are also the ones who believe in your dreams. Finding “our people” can make all the difference.

3. The opportunity to step up and lead

Sometimes, you just have to go for it and step up to the plate, ready or not. Hackathons allows you to do just that. You don’t have time to let your clouded views of what the outcome could or could not prevent you from moving forward boldly in the direction of your wildest dreams. As Benjamin Mee once said “You know, sometimes all you need is twenty seconds of insane courage. Just literally twenty seconds of just embarrassing bravery. And I promise you, something great will come of it.” That twenty seconds could be from your next hackathon and perhaps you’ll be “world-famous for 15 minutes”.

4. Support for diversity and inclusion

CEOs, students, entrepreneurs, business executives, corporate managers or freelancers, whatever the title, you probably can find everyone of them in a hackathon. They are all different in their fields, skillset, way of working but they all have the same goal: finding problems to solve. For most hackathons, the best part is that the experience brings together diverse teams and skillsets to tackle some of the most pressing issues of the moment. There is no bias to decide who joins hackathon, hence creating an environment where everyone is included and feel belonged. This provides a real fighting chance for talent and passion to be recognised. Without a doubt, there’s a little expert in all of us and together we can create amazing things.

Still not convinced? Perhaps you should join Innovation Challenge hosted by Nhouse on the 15th and 16th of September, with great people, connections, startups and prizes.

But if you are already excited about it and looking to spend that one magical weekend on the third weekend of September with entrepreneurs — from 99.co, AfterYou, TotallyHotStuffs, VersaFleet, Akin, Qisahn and many more— who are just as crazy about starting a technology-based business and forging bonds that will last a lifetime just like you do, here are some things you’ll need: extra doses of courage, some sprinkles of good intentions, some grit, a box of creativity for you to think out from and a flask full of passion with an open mind. If you have at least half of that, I promise you a life-changing experience in return.

Innovation Challenge 2017
Join to compete: https://tinyurl.com/innovationchallenge1718

Join as facilitator: https://goo.gl/forms/ksutbK1N6OvWSgYf1

Join as audience: https://goo.gl/forms/F5zkiWIniIzf3bQC2




Welcome to NUS N-House (KR & SH), the place where entrepreneurial minds meet and live next to each other. Find out more at https://www.instagram.com/nus.nhouse.