The following is a guest blog post by Christian Torres.
Last week a hand full of techies from the Vegas tech community were selected to be a part of a code-a-thon called Code 4 Health in Palm Springs, CA. This Code-a-thon was hosted by Tumbr, Jawbone Up, The Clinton Foundation and the Ace Hotel. We got to “compete” with other participants from Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco.
I just happen to be one of the 8 selected to represent the VegasTech community.
-Savannah Collins, who works at the UNLV Startup Center
-Susan Hinton, who works for Zappos, does the downtown podcast and is heavily involved in the maker community
-Jason Grotte a graphic designer who also works for Zappos
-The Wedgies Team that consist of Jimmy Jacobson, Porter Haney, Mark Johnson and Chris Moody
-And yours truly
It’s been interesting to see all of the buzz the we’re able to generate since the team that won the Code 4 Health Code-a-thon was made up of Vegas Tech members.
The winner of the code-a-thon was a Vegas Tech team that built an app called Walk It Off. It connects your Jawbone Up with Automatic to track the distance you drove your car and compared the data to see how many steps you could have taken instead of driving. To learn more about Walk it Off click here.
Here are a few tweets about the Vegas Tech Winners:
We were judged by Chelsea Clinton, the vice chair of the Clinton Foundation; Mark Mathews, a Desert Healthcare District board member; Art Acosta, the director of manufacturing at Care Fusion Corporation in San Diego a and Joel Fashingbauer, the president and COO of Silicon Springs Ventures in Palm Desert. The criteria that they used to judge us was based on our app’s design, creativity, potential impact and how well it helped people become more physically active
Now, the thing that made Code 4 Health different than any other startup weekend or hackathon out there was the big emphasis on building health-based apps while being as healthy as possible while building them.
Most hackathons run for a weekend (typically 72 hrs) where entrepreneurs, developers and designers build something from nothing. In doing so they will often stay up all night with 2-3hrs of sleep while on Heavy doses of coffee, greasy pizza, red bulls to keep you focused and beer to calm the nerves when you’re pitching.
Code 4 Health wanted to stay away from all that and that’s why they called it a code-a-thon not a hackathon.
They had catered very healthy meals for us, had stretching sessions, created an app for us called snoozercise to measure how much sleep & steps we took during the code-a-thon and even had us run a 5k (myself and 4 others acutely ran the whole thing). Looking back now it probably wasn’t the best idea to have a bunch of tech nerds running a 5k when we could of just been more focused on building our apps, but I do understand and appreciate where they were coming from.
Anyways, the winners of the code-a-thon got three years of mentoring, facilities in the Coachella Valley iHub, access to the Palm Springs Accelerator Campus and 3 of those rad looking Jawbone Big JamBox.
The rest of us did not leave empty handed, we all got to keep our Jawbone UP that they gave us at the beginning of the code-a-thon, we had our rooms at the Ace Hotel, meals & travel paid for and we got to make friends with like minded people.
Overall it was an amazing code-a-thon! We have a few more on the way and we’ll keep you in the loop.