Hack the Dot Dublin

On Wednesday the 22nd of February, I took to the southside to take part in Hack the Dot, a domain-name-driven hackathon organised and hosted by Rightside.

I am a big domain name watcher, and a vocal fan of the new generic TLDs. Rightside are a Donuts competitor, and I didn't realise that they owned the TLDs of two of my stellar domains, blurry.video and meme.rehab (I want to host a GNU Social instance at the latter, when I get time). It was intiguing to peek behind the curtain, even if just for an evening! Competitors in Hack the Dot were forewarned of a free domain, along with a few beers, so I was excited.

It was a lot of fun! At the beginning of the competition, the teams are all presented with a domain name, the same for all teams. You then have 90 minutes to come up with a business based on that domain. The inspiration-tickler we were given was hack.live.

I was in cahoots with 3 others, all from UCD. The idea we pitched (to the CEO of Rightside, via GHangouts) was a distraction-killing browser extension that resurfaced old embarrassing Facebook posts if you spent too long on blacklisted websites. If you ignored the warnings, it proceeded to message random friends telling you to get back to work. Rather than hacking anything physical, we aimed to envision a lifehack, and this one sounded fun.

We didn't win, but I was surprised with a free tshirt and a good evening of brainjamming. There was a code distributed to get a free .live domain with name.com, the registrar front of Rightside. Alas, I was too busy working in the following 24 hours to redeem the code in time.

I had a lot of fun, and met a few new people, so I'd definitely recommend an event like this. However, it didn't really get me going like a longer product-focused hackathon, where there is the time (and expectation) to build a working prototype. The previous hackathon I was at, HackYourWayDay, had a similar problem, but there was more time there to put a prototype together.

It's nice to forget about proper work for a few hours anyway, and have a bit of craic. I'll keep my ear to the ground for similar happenings over the next few months.

Cheers to Hakeem, whose name was on the ticket and who I was clumsily masquerading as for the first 3 minutes of Hack the Dot.

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