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LinkedIn DevelopherDelhi Hackday has kicked off at the SlideShare Delhi office. This is the first of its kind event in India. And its happening at the same time as Developher Mountain View, being organised by LinkedIn over the weekend. Exciting times with two co-occuring events separated by 12000 kms and a 12 hour time zone difference!

In case you missed the announcement, this is the link. The prizes on stake are Macbook Airs for the winning team, and Apple iPads for the runners up team. And the judges are Dave McClure (Silicon Valley guru, geek, entrepreneur, investor) & Rashmi Sinha (CEO / Founder at SlideShare). Rashmi is also a judge at the Mountain View event.

Its 11:00 AM and a bunch of geeky girls have invaded the slideshare office. Participants include SlideShare internal teams, a team from LinkedIn, women developers from startups, services companies, global multinationals, students. And some have flown in from Bangalore & Mumbai just for the event. The team names are getting wackier by the minute… [in]ception, Alohomora, Fire and Ice, Firebals, FountainHeads, GeekGirls, MAZ, MegaMind, RubyXX, Team Sprocket.

So what are the girls hacking? Not everyone is decided, the ones that have include FixCity – a Crowdsourced mobile tool for reporting civic problems, an Android social app to split/track expenses amongst friends, an Infographic generation tool to visualise the power of your LinkedIn network, Fetch – a natural language search tool (knows what you meant rather than said), Talkin – a tool that adds voice capability to LinkedIn profiles, a language Translator for slideshare presentations, another hack for making SlideShare accessible for the visually impaired. More to follow…

Update Day 2: After 24 hours of hacking on the trot, the teams demoed their hacks to the judges who joined in remotely via telephone, Google Hangouts & Join-Me. Most teams had working prototypes! The winning hack was Fixcity… from a two developer team Bhavana Sardana & Reena Agrawal (they work at Adobe). The runners up was Talkin … from a 3 member team Neha Jain, Priya Kuber & Abhineet Kaur. Congratulations to the winners!

So what are some of the highlights / learnings from DevelopHer Delhi?

– Given this was the first womans hackday, and organised at a short notice (7 days), DevelopHer was a thumping success. There is always a first time!

– We reached out through the wiki, twitter, Facebook, email, media etc. But most of the participants came in through a friends contact (social dynamics rule!).

– Something that stood out remarkably from other hackdays (most hackdays are men centric) – there were no dropout teams between the start and end. Every team that started finished their hack and demoed it. My previous experience with hackdays is otherwise – the dropout rate is app 40%. This shows amongst girls, only the motivated ones turned up to participate.

– Most teams stayed back at our office during the night and hacked through it! Some went home late night and returned the next morning.

– How did we manage the logistics for the event? We had anticipated the problems in organising a womans 24 hour hackday and had prepared from a security / housekeeping / transit standpoint. Some of our employees stayed back the night at the office for support.

– How did our male developers react? Somewhat amused, but overall reaction was positive. On the lighter side, its hard to imagine an event on this kind without spurring some gender banter. Check tweets here, here and here.

Here’s hoping DevelopHer comes back bigger next year.

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Wondering what DevelopHer Mountain View (LinkedIn HQ) looks like?

Yoga at 10pm! Yay! #developher

https://twitter.com/Ity/status/219329916783706112/photo/1

https://twitter.com/LinkedInU/status/219357508094009344/photo/1

https://twitter.com/LinkedInU/status/219215731018043393/photo/1

https://twitter.com/rashmi/status/219512567377301506/photo/1

MuniMobile - a #developher finalist - texts you when your muni ride is nearby

Update: Check out this great article on How to invite women developers to a hackathon.

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iaccelerator-small1 If you are looking to join an incubation program for startups, check out iAccelerator. Modeled on YCombinator, this program is being conducted at IIM Amhedabad, India’s premier business school and kicks off in May for a 5 month period.

Who’s running the show there? iAccelerator is being conducted Freeman Murray, a technology professional with excellent credentials, in conjunction with IIMA’s CIIE (Centre for Innovation, Incubation & Entrepreneurship). Details are here.

How does it work?
If you are working on a tech startup, you could apply for the program, the deadline for which is April 1st. Applicants will get to know their status by April 13th. The actual program starts on May 1st thru Sep 30th. iAccelerator will invest 3-5 lakhs INR in the selected companies in exchange for some amount of equity (between 5% and 15% depending on factors like the experience of the team, the nature of the opportunity etc) For details check out this section, whch lays down the expectations fairly clearly.

The selected startups will have to live and work in Ahmedabad out of an apartment for the 5 month period. Once the program ends, the teams will be free to move to other cities.

Is iAccelarator the same as a summer internship?
Absolutely not. The program makes it clear that they are looking for teams of serious people with the technical and business acumen to successfully start a business, develop cutting edge technology, satisfy customers, and make money. This is not for students on summer break or people who just want to play with an idea.

I think IAccelarator is very promising.
Reason #1: Its being run by somebody who has first hand experience of the technology startup space (both in India & Silicon valley) and has good connections.
Reason #2: It is being held at IIM Ahmedabad, which adds a dash of credibility to the program straightaway.
Reason #3: 5 months is a good time frame to come up with the proof of concept of a tech product.
Reason #4: I think programs like these are far more useful than participating in one of the umpteen business plan competitions that are being held all around. You get to work on a prototype and not ideate on a powerpoint. And staying and working amidst a bunch of bright, smart motivated folks for 5 months will ensure you hit the ground running once the program is over.

So if you are in this game, go for it.

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