Crazy Good Odds to win the Hackaday Prize

I entered the Hackaday Prize in 2014. I entered because Hackaday editor [Brian Benchoff] persuaded me to. I ran into Brian at the HOPE conference in NYC and he told me that there were about only 800 entries to compete against.

I didn’t enter until a day or two before the deadline, which is where we are today. The deadline for this year’s 2015 Hackaday Prize is on Monday. Again there are around 800 entries to compete against.

When I entered the competition last year I never dreamed that I’d be managing the same contest this year. I didn’t know much about contests, and I certainly never thought that the odds of winning anything were very good. It is very easy to talk yourself into thinking that everyone else’s project has a better chance of winning.

So now that I’m working in it, I see all of the entries every day, I talk to all of you daily about your projects (which is an awesome part of my life, thank you!) and I can tell you that everyone else’s project does not have a better chance of winning than yours.

Best Product Has Crazy Good Odds

New to the 2015 Hackaday Prize we added a Best Product category. The Best Product is meant to encourage that small window of opportunity between project prototype and product. We ask that products entered into this category get 3 copies of that product to us before we close entries on Monday. Three copies means that you can duplicate your product, but you still may not yet be in a place where you can turn that into a company.

The crazy thing is that we haven’t received so many entries for this, and the prize for Best Product, besides keeping you in the running for the main Hackaday Prize, is $100,000 and 6 months free rent in the Supplyframe Design Lab. This is a recipe for a successful business start.

The odds are insanely good this time around. For Best Product so far, we’ve got under 100 entries. This means you have a 1 in under 100 chance of winning $100,000. For the main Hackaday Prize, we’ve got under 1000 entries and 5 prizes, so you have a 5 in 1000 chance of winning some portion of $500,000 in cash or prizes.

How do you make sure you’re actually in the running?  You complete the requirements! Make your project logs, your cell phone video and your system diagram. You can do this in under a day, so make it happen!

Read the Official Rules Here

Why Enter?

Last year’s Hackaday Prize theme was to “design a connected device” so we upped the bar a little this year. Actually, we upped the bar a lot with a theme of “design a solution to an important problem”. We want you to come up with ideas that have the potential to help a lot of people. We want you to not only think about winning money and trips to space, but to think about others. We gave away stuff — lots of stuff — during the contest to encourage those ideas. I think we all won with that.

We started Hack Chats weekly for the past couple of months and I’ve seen people get job offers, collaborate and start new projects from those chats. So, come to the Hack Chats, get your Prize entries in and use your smarts to effect change!

9 thoughts on “Crazy Good Odds to win the Hackaday Prize

  1. “This is a recipe for a successful business start” . I like this. It is very well put together. Because it has a clear defined finality leading somewhere, hopefully to something useful for us all.
    I said something similar last year, but again, thanks for pushing the makers all across the globe to use their brains more.

  2. Here’s the checklist for entering the product category:

    * Complete personal profile
    * Complete project profile
    * Two minute demonstration video
    * Five minute demonstration video
    * Two updates to project profile
    * Eight project log updates
    * Github or other repository for project
    * System design document
    * License documentation
    * Components list
    * Artist’s rendition of finished product
    * Three physical working prototypes mailed to California

    1. Actually it would realistically take more than 3 samples when they asked for it so early in the contest.
      Unless you are doing a software project or that your product is ready to ship, you give them 3 pre-alpha samples and at some point you want to give them an update version for the judging. Guess what, now you’ll need 6 samples.

      This whole thing is a logistic nightmare. I can understand if you only need to ship them 1 early sample for the first round and then after you pass to ship them 2-3 of the more updated version. This way they are not wasting your time and money. Also this whole thing has some major international custom issues on your stuff coming back if you are not in US. Who is paying for the return shipment? What about the custom paper work to get your stuff pack without a major pain at the courier/custom side?

  3. Damn. Got a really good idea, but at the current rate of progress I’ll probably be ready *next* year. (It sucks when you chose a project in a field relatively outside your discipline, then have to learn a ton of shit from the ground up just to do basic stuff before working on the actual project)

  4. You know, I sort-of feel like the prizes in the recent hackaday contests are too big. I mean, I’m just hacking around, and I don’t want to beat out someone to whom a prize is the difference between life success and failure. And there are probably medical reasons that I won’t be going into space. And tax issues, and …
    (Besides “then I’ll win this contest” is a LOUSY business plan, if you’re really trying to sell a product.)
    How about tools, toys, and t-shirts?

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