An article in the San Francisco Business Times expounds on the events at a recently held hackathon that led dissatisfied contestants to take to the Internet and let their voices be heard. Apparently, the company that hosted the app-development contest hastily named a winning team while turning away other promising developers. Patrick Hoge reports:
Desikavinayagompillai and Rohatgi were both disappointed that unlike other hackathons in which they have competed, their work and the work of most other contestants was not displayed publicly, and teams other than the five finalists were not given an opportunity to present their ideas, a custom that affords developers an opportunity to appreciate each other’s ideas and learn from each other.
“That is the spirit of a hackathon. There is an expectation that everybody gets a chance to present in front of everybody,” Morellato said.
Also like other developers, Rohatgi said it did not appear that anyone looked at Howl in any significant manner, if at all, before the winners were announced. Others have complained that computer records show conclusively that nobody accessed their work.
Nothing can be more disastrous than for a contest to have a flawed judging procedure. While some might chalk up such a mistake to inadvertent oversight, contest promoters nonetheless have an obligation to provide fair chances of winning for all participants. Contest organizers should find it less challenging to oversee the details of each competition by means of the best custom contest software.
Contests are a great way to build brand awareness. Consumers who participate in a well-run contest are sure to remember the company behind the competition in a good light. Conversely, contestants who experience anything but fair and enjoyable play will likely remember the event and its organizers as major disappointments. In all contests, the rules need to be stated clearly, while the prizes have to be awarded carefully. Most of all, the judging method has to be impartial and systematic.
It’s hard to be “impartial and systematic,” without a clear way to organize and view each entry. Fortunately, technology can step in to simplify the process of sorting entries. A competition management platform expert such as Skild can help businesses come up with fair and orderly contest mechanics using specialty competition software.
(Article Excerpt and Image from Disgruntled Salesforce hackathon contestants rerun contest, San Francisco Business Times, November 27, 2013)