How I got into Blockchain: Join a Hackathon!


I often get asked how I got into marketing for blockchain and cryptocurrency.

I had already worked 15 years in marketing and wanted to make a shift into the blockchain space. The excitement, energy and enthusiasm of this disruptive industry cannot be understated for any marketer. My goal is to work with interesting startups and projects focused on new technology and ideas.

My passion has always been to add value to any startup and assist them with what is one of the most fundamental and crucial steps of a startup’s success — their branding and marketing.

That said, I may never have had the opportunity to work within the blockchain, Initial Coin Offering (ICO), Token Generation Event (TGE), Security Token Offering (STO) and the cryptocurrency space if it wasn’t for learning as much as I can about this space via educational channels (websites, podcasts, videos, publications) and attending industry events like a hackathon, or in this case, a “blockathon”.

What is a hackathon?

hackathon is a single event that is usually held over one weekend. It enables people from a variety of skills and backgrounds to come together, form a team, conduct research, generate new and exciting ideas, collaborate and work on product concepts within a short period of time.

There’s a lot of pressure and long hours over one weekend, but it’s also a fun and creative weekend that may lead to producing new and exciting products, leads and networks.

What are the benefits of being involved in a hackathon?

Work with different people and learn in a collaborative environment

The hackathon usually begins on Friday night, and will run through to Sunday afternoon. You will need to form a team and you never know who might be at these events and where it may lead. A good team should consist of a balanced mix of people: hipsters (designer, creative), hackers (developer, technology) and hustlers (marketing, sales), so anyone can participate. Individual contributors can meet new contacts and form new teams, and usually there is a pizza lunch/dinner to meet and discuss ideas with the other participants.

Network and meet new friends and business contacts for the future

Working on a specific problem, teams work together to think of an idea and build a solution that will solve the weekend’s themed challenge. Collaboration is a key component to a project and team’s success, as there isn’t much time and everyone needs to work towards the same goal.

I attended a hackathon about developing new ideas for blockchain solutions even though I didn’t know anything about the subject matter. I came away from that weekend with new knowledge, new learnings and a whole lot of new contacts.

One of these new contacts introduced me to a founder of a blockchain project and I got my foot into the blockchain and cryptocurrency door. I haven’t looked back since!

Baxter and Liam are two 11 year old super coders who won the audience award at the 2018 Blockchain Hackathon! Watch out for these future superstars!

Baxter and Liam are two 11 year old super coders who won the audience award at the 2018 Blockchain Hackathon! Watch out for these future superstars!

The opportunity for rewards, prizes and bigger things

By the end of the weekend, there is a judging process where participants pitch their ideas to a panel of judges. If your idea and concept stand out from the others, you may win rewards and prizes.

When I lived in Canada, I entered the Toronto Energy Hackathon to learn about the energy industry and my team won the Grand Design Prize for the weekend. We continued with our concept to another competition which won third prize in the state sponsored energy challenge. I received prize money and even met the Ontario Minister for Energy who presented us with the reward. From the initial hackathon, it led to co-founding my own energy mobile app and further longer-term opportunities.

A perfect opportunity to have fun and be creative

Finally, for a weekend’s sacrifice, you get to exercise your brain, think outside the box, have fun, be creative and participate in an area of interest that you’ve always wanted to learn more about with like-minded people.

So get out of your comfort zone, be prepared to learn a lot, and you may even find an exciting new career on the horizon.

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