More than 4.5 billion Internet users engage in some form of online video & entertainment content, ranging from entertainment, tutorials, educational content, presentations, and vlogs. Various trends like the acceleration in content creation, evolving user viewing habits and cord-cutting have led to the convergence of VOD(video on demand) where viewers choose their own filmed entertainment.   

As people worldwide are searching for more and more ways to keep their attention occupied, big players in the industry including Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime, and Roku are expanding their technological capabilities and content library offerings to meet the increased demand for engaging content and visual entertainment. 

The recent COVID-19 pandemic has also created a shift in consumer behavior. More people are spending more time at home, whether it is for leisure or work, changing the way they discover and engage with content and also the different experiences they seek. This is only likely to contribute to consumer’s craving for excitement, information, and engagement to keep themselves occupied. According to Nielsen, users found cost, ease of use, and variety to be the most important attributes when choosing a streaming service.

As part of the means to deliver entertainment and informational content to the world, there are huge opportunities for disruption within the video entertainment industry.

The Challenge

How do we offer users a more engaging, personalized, and pleasant experience?

One of the biggest opportunities and challenges of the streaming industry is offering tailored, customized content to its users. Viewers today want infinite control over their video consumption. They want to be able to choose what to watch, when to watch and with whom to watch their favorite content. This also means that the traditional scenario of how users view entertainment content has changed. In the past, someone would arrive home after work, order takeaway, turn on their Hulu VPN and start watching. Nowadays, people stream videos during their commute to work, on their laptops, and even at a friend’s home.

There are different ways in improving user experience besides offering larger libraries of available and new content. This can include rebuilding consumer trust by establishing data collection and service offerings without infringing on their privacy or even more transparent handling practices of their data. Another aspect is how to work on the viewing experiences of users to enable them to connect and bond with their friends and loved ones over video entertainment.

How do we create new business/revenue models while still balancing the needs of our different stakeholders?

Most video entertainment companies generate revenue through monthly membership fees related to streaming content to their users(Netflix). Other platforms may also monetize user activity by selling other streaming associated devices (like TV models or digital media players) or serving display ads and publisher inventory in order to generate revenue. 

Streaming service platforms tread a fine line in balancing between ensuring that too many ads do not spoil their user’s experience, while at the same time making sure that ads served are targeted and relevant to their users. This further exemplifies the importance of leveraging artificial intelligence and customer data to create targeted ad offerings that cater to the end user’s exact tastes and viewing preferences.


Teams are assembled by forming groups of 5 – 6 individuals.

You can either form your own team by registering together with your friends or register by yourself so you can meet other talented individuals.

One of the keys to winning the hackathon is to assemble a group of strong team members. The more diverse your team is, the better chances you have of winning because different members can come together to contribute with complementary skills. Usually, winning teams are composed of team members with product management skills, coding, design and business.

Since every hackathon involves a problem to solve, product managers will be able to put together ideas while considering the end-user’s challenges and communicate that to the coders. Coders should then be able to create a workable solution, which is then made beautiful by the designer. Someone with a business or marketing mindset can then contribute by brainstorming within the team about how the solution could be monetized or self-funding itself. This is just one example of how “Teamwork Makes the Dream Work”.


While you’re still in college, there aren’t that many opportunities for you to flex your tech skills in the real world. Programmers, coders, designers, etc.: everyone attends classes and internships for a few years. But there is also another way to meet new people and put what you’ve learned to the test. You can do so by participating in a hackathon.

A hackathon is a “sprint,” so to speak. In a hackathon, you and your team will spend a day (or an entire weekend) designing, coding, and programming an app, website, or computer program. At the start, you’ll be given a presentation detailing your objectives, then you and your team will begin working on your project and a presentation to go along with it.

Hackathons are an awesome way to have fun, learn new things and meet new people. Here are 5 reasons why you should join a Hackathon. 

5 Reasons You Should Join a Hackathon

It’s an Opportunity to Learn New Things

Perhaps the most obvious reason for participating in a hackathon is the opportunity to learn new things. Whether you’re a programmer, a coder, a graphics designer, a software engineer, etc., being thrown into a real-world setting like a hackathon will throw real problems you’ll need to work through with your team.

At the same time, you’ll be able to observe other team members in their roles and see how they go about their tasks. Also, there’s a good chance that there will be seasoned veterans attending the hackathon; observing them could provide you with invaluable knowledge. 

You Can Network During the Hackathon

A degree and job experience are vital to a successful career in the tech industry. But many forget about something equally important as those two things: connections. Networking is crucial. Without a large network, doors that would be open to you will be closed, your future opportunities, limited.

Hackathons prove to be a great way to meet new people and expand your social circle. Knowing more programmers, coders, or others at a hackathon will help expand your professional network and broaden your horizon.

It’s a Good Way to Learn How to Work as a Team

There is no such thing as a self-made success story. To move forward in life and accomplish your dreams, you will have to do it by working with other people. The same applies to your hackathon experience too! You can try, but you will probably face an insane amount of difficulty in doing what only a team can do. Hackathons prove this. If your hackathon team lacks proper communication and the ability to work together, your team will lag behind fast. For this reason, hackathons are a great way to learn how to work within a team and develop your teamwork skills.

You Can Build Up Your Presentation Skills

Many go into tech with the idea that they won’t need to work on their presentation skills. And, sure, many programming and coding jobs relegate people behind a desk for most of their day. However, there will always be times where you’ll need to present your work to a group of people, whether it’s for a patch, a security update, or a whole new program.

Hackathons are a great way to build both presentation skills and social skills. Not only will you have to work with a team—sometimes filled with people you don’t know—but you’ll also need to present your project to a large group of people. This sounds scary. It can be! But it’s essential to your future success that you learn to present with confidence.

There are Plenty of Rewards

If the prospect of learning how to cooperate with a team, being able to get a head start on networking, and learning new techniques isn’t enough for you, then maybe this will give you the nudge you need: rewards. Hackathons encourage teams to do their best via rewards. These rewards vary from hackathon to hackathon, but they usually include cash prizes, hardware, trips, and vice versa. 

Money’s just an object when it comes to these events, so you can win something big if you come out on top. Competing in a hackathon is worth it just for these rewards.


Hackathons tend to only last for a day or two, but the experiences they provide last a lifetime. From learning how to present projects to creating relationships that could last throughout your entire career, hackathons are near-essential to anyone interested in working in the tech industry.


Hackathons can be extremely rewarding, even if you don’t win! That said, going in with a winner’s mindset is key to getting the most out of a hackathon. But how do you win a hackathon? Well, victory comes to those who are prepared, and since hackathons vary by theme, length, and format, you need to be prepared for anything.

If you want to win a hackathon—if you think a hackathon is a perfect place to display your competitive nature—then you’ll want to pay attention to the tips listed below. With them, you’ll be prepared to win any hackathon.

7 Tips for Your First Hackathon

1. Get Some Rest Before the Event

Most hackathons last around 24 hours, though it is possible for some to last even longer. Since teams only have 24 hours to develop their idea—whether that be an app, a website, or a full-fledged computer program—most teams end up staying up throughout the night. For the truly committed, it means little sleep, no showering, little time to eat, and hours upon hours of coding.

One smart way to prepare is to get plenty of rest in the first few days before the hackathon starts. Don’t overexert yourself, don’t forget to eat healthy meals, and get a full night’s rest. Working on an empty stomach and four hours of sleep won’t help you or your team.

2. Learn to Work as a Team

Are you someone who works well in a team? Or do you prefer working alone? When it comes to programming and coding, working by yourself just won’t cut it, especially in a hackathon, where cooperation equals success.

It’s essential to your success that you work well with your team. Make sure that you mesh well with your team and that you all are on board with the same project idea. Most importantly, make sure to communicate clearly with your team. A clean communication pipeline, designated roles, and a sense of teamwork will make any team go far in any hackathon.

3. Focus on the Presentation

Your team could develop the most advanced program ever achieved at a hackathon. It could be bug-free, work as well as any program could hope to, and be basically perfect, but all of it means nothing if your team is not able to sell the idea properly.

In the real world, marketing is half the battle. If you can’t market your product in a way that makes sense to its end-users, it won’t sell. The same goes for hackathons. For this reason, you should focus on coming up with a good presentation alongside working on putting together your project. One trick that seasoned hackathon pros use is to bring with them pre-developed pitch decks and presentation slides so they can quickly assemble their content at the event.

4. Stay Confident 

Everyone has heard the phrase, “Confidence is key,” at least once in their lives. And it’s true! Confidence helps motivate and enable you to work on projects, especially during hackathons. However, seeing so many bright minds, from entry-level programmers to seasoned experts, has its way of making you feel doubtful, worried you don’t have what it takes.

Imposter syndrome is no stranger in the tech world, and you’re sure to feel it every now and then. Just remember that you’re there at the hackathon for a reason, and no matter where you’re at, there is something of value that you can contribute! Hype yourself up before and during the hackathon. If you’ve pre-assembled your team before registering for the hackathon, spend some time before the event hanging out with your team to build morale. What’s important is that you stay confident.

5. Don’t Forget to Pack the Essentials

The last thing you want to happen during a hackathon is for your laptop to die, and you don’t have any way to charge it. Before you attend the hackathon, make sure you pack your own event essentials, from laptop chargers, battery packs, power snacks, and even another set of clothes.

Even if you don’t end up needing 90% of what you pack, it’s better to be over-prepared than underprepared. 

6. Don’t Get Hung Up on Bells and Whistles

Whether you and your team are developing a computer program or an app, it’s important that you all focus on functionality and the user experience over making it look good. In other words, appearance matters less than functionality.

You’d be surprised at how many young developers focus on making their app look good, wasting valuable time that could be spent on app usability, functionality, and included content. First impressions matter, of course, but don’t prioritize bells and whistles over the actual app.

7. Work on Communication

Having a team you work well with is important, but be sure that you and your team members are constantly communicating with each other; don’t have people quietly working on their part of the project. Clear, concise communication will go a long way during hectic moments during the hackathon. 


Hackathons are fun and exciting, but they can also be tiring and stressful. If you want to win a hackathon, you’ll need to be willing to do whatever it takes.  By practicing these tips, you’ll be well on your way to being adequately prepared.


The 33rd US President Harry S. Truman once said, “Not all readers are leaders, but all leaders are readers. If there is one thing all successful people have in common, ranging from Oprah, Steve Jobs, Warren Buffet, and Elon Musk, it’s that they are all leaders and readers. When you’re preparing for a hackathon, having a consistent reading and learning habit will serve you well. 

Through reading, you can acquire expertise and knowledge to become a subject matter expert. You can also develop your leadership skills and ability to communicate and motivate your team during the day of the hackathon event. There are also business books that can help you better problem-solve and brainstorm ideas. Here is a list of 10 books that will help you become a better team player and leader both in and outside the hackathon.

10 Book Recommendations For You

1. Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman

Thinking, Fast and Slow tells readers about the two systems that operate in our brains. System 1 focuses on automation—things you do with little effort and without thinking, like breathing. System 2, however, focuses on complex problems, choices, and concentration: things that require mental labor.

In this book, Daniel Kahneman helps readers gain control over “system 2.” It also enlightens readers on how their mind works. As a hacker, this book will be invaluable to you, as you’ll learn how to approach complex solutions through different thinking styles to solve problems at the event with your team.

2. The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

Simply asking what people want from your program or your app pales in comparison to what they may actually want. That is the concept behind Eric Ries’ The Lean Startup, which focuses on delivering customers a minimum viable product in order to research how customers react, a practice known as validated learning.

This advice will not only be useful during the hackathon but will also be useful throughout the entirety of your career. Learn how to deliver a minimum viable product so that you can gain user feedback and iterate constantly on a lean budget.

3. Business Model Generation by Alexander Osterwalder

You don’t just want to create a product that’s useful; you want to create a product—a program, an app, a website, a game, etc.—that people will buy. In Business Model Generation, Alexander Osterwalder teaches readers about the “Business Model Canvas,” which will help you learn how to monetize your product and solution.

This is important because creating a profitable idea at a hackathon not only increases its chances of success. It also highlights to the panel of judges, participating companies, and your peers the sound business acumen you have, which will increase your chances of landing a job.

4. Start With Why by Simon Sinek

In Start With Why, Simon Sinek explains how the world’s most powerful men, from movement leaders to business moguls, gained the power they had/have—they asked, “Why?” Simon explains that by starting from the beginning, by looking at your problem from a different angle, you can succeed.

This book will help you look at your problem statement during the hackathon and ask yourself what can be done about it. This, in turn, will bring you and your team closer to a viable solution.

5. The Art of the Start by Guy Kawasaki

Guy Kawasaki uses his book The Art of the Start to showcase his experiences in launching startups, raising money for said startups, assembling a team, and pitching ideas to investors.

Participating in a hackathon means more than making a product. In a hackathon, you’re expected to present the product to sell your product. The Art of the Start will help you learn how you can pitch your product to others successfully.

6. The Mom Test by Rob Fitzpatrick

Asking your mom whether your business will be successful or not is setting yourself up for failure. Of course, she’ll say yes! That’s what Rob Fitzpatrick tries to drill into readers in his book The Mom Test. In the book, Rob Fitzpatrick tells readers how they can extract honest answers from customers and how to conduct proper customer research.

This book is something everyone should read. When coming up with an idea for a hackathon, you’ll want to be sure it’s a good idea. As such, reading The Mom Test will help you learn how to conduct proper research and gain honest answers from those you survey.

7. Founders at Work by Jessica Livingston

Jessica Livingston enlightens readers with Founders at Work, a book full of interviews with famous technology companies. From Steve Wozniak to Max Levchin, Founders at Work gives readers a glimpse into the thought processes of tech entrepreneurs.

Gaining insight into how these popular founders and creators navigated their way to a functional product is key to your career. Not only are their stories inspiring, but their stories can teach you how to tackle problems, find solutions, and become successful.

8. The Psychology of Selling by Brian Tracy

Creating a functional product is only half the battle—you have to sell it. In The Psychology of Selling, Brian Tracy tells readers how young entrepreneurs can sell their products successfully. This includes convincing investors on product viability, the future of the product, and convincing investors to fund the product.

You will need to sell your product to judges in a hackathon and why your team’s creation deserves to win over the rest. Reading this book will provide you with invaluable information on how you can do so successfully. 

9. The Art of War by Sun Tzu

Sun Tzu wrote The Art of War to describe the various military strategies that won him battles. However, some of the advice found in The Art of War can be used for business

Reading The Art of War can help you prepare for a hackathon by telling you how to approach problems, how to lead your team, and how you and your team can prepare for the event.

10. The Hard Thing About Hard Things by Ben Horowitz

Nothing is perfect, especially in business and tech. Ben Horowitz focuses on the imperfections of business in The Hard Thing About Hard Things and tells readers about hard decisions he’s had to make.

Ben Horowitz’s honest book about how much can go wrong will prepare for when something inevitably goes wrong during the hackathon. Maybe there are some major bugs in the code. Maybe you simply can’t achieve the solution discussed. This book tells you how to approach such situations.


Reading is not only important for your development but essential. It’s important that you read a diverse set of books to increase your knowledge and prepare you for the future. Whether it comes down to the game of hackathons or the game of life,, there’s no such thing as reading too much