Over 250 super smart college computer science students came to HackNY's Spring 2017 Hackathon at NYU to compete, learn and test their skills over a weekend marathon. I was there as a guest of HackNY and their partner Major League Hacking to shoot as part of my continuing Fearless Genius project ( www.fearlessgenius.org ) which documented the early days of Silicon Valley, and now looks at where we are today and heading next with new technology. The kids broke into teams and hacked all day Saturday and through the night on their ideas to be ready to present to the judges on Sunday. The prizes are awarded based on "awesomeness" of the idea and execution of the code. The students got 90 seconds to present their hacks, pressure was high.
I was personally inspired by the energy and wide open ceative mindset of these extremely diverse kids. These are the next generation of innovators and entrepreneurs that will shape our future- attention must be paid. On their website hackNY states their mission as "to federate the next generation of hackers for the New York innovation community."
In NY startup culture I see a similar passion and idealism that infused Silicon Valley in the early days- they wanted to build tools to improve our lives. Money was secondary, at first. They had purpose. At this hackathon the top prize was for the best idea to benefit society- very cool. So I'm hopeful these kids might help build a better future, maybe even save the planet.