Hack for Change: Your skills are good, but do they do good?

Over the past weekend, July 28-29, we sponsored Hack for Change. How can you use technology to help and improve the lives of the people around you? Or better yet, how can you use video technology to make a change?

On the beautiful saturday morning, Change.org opened their Headquarters to developers, designers, and hustlers with a common goal: to build something over the weekend that can help improve the community. In the spacious office with an unlimited supply of snacks, food, energy drinks, beer, and soft drinks, hackers comfortably mingled and got to know each other.

The event started with Sponsor Demos. TokBox, Twilio, DotCloud, and Pearson each got on stage and showed off their APIs to woo developers into integrating with their api. Most of these API sponsors were ‘live coding’, where they wrote code during their presentation so attendees can see it in action!
Pearson’s api provides a wealth of informational data for developers including nursing, dictionary, and travel.
DotCloud will happily host and serve your app.
Twilio’s api gives your web/mobile app the power to text and call phone numbers.
TokBox lets you put video chat into your web/mobile app. You can also record and take pictures of real time video streams.

After sponsor presentations and acknowledgments, developers pitched ideas and teams were formed. And then the hacking starts…

At one point, Mayor Ed Lee showed up to support the cause. He gave a wonderful speech about the importance of technology in the city of San Francisco.

Change.org opened their HQ through the night and many teams opted to hack through the night instead of going home.

At 1pm on Sunday, music blasted through the offices at Change.org, signaling the end of the 24 hour journey.


Everyone is a winner. At the registration, every hackerdero received a cool ‘Hack for Change’ shirt that they can proudly wear during/after the event. DotCloud and Twilio gave out shirts, and we gave out sunglasses with UV protection!

Third place ($500) goes to iTrackr. iTrackr is a cool hardware hack where you put a camera on your glasses that will track your eye movements and correspond that with computer movements. It’s great for hospital patients who are paralyzed.

Second place ($1000) goes to team Swing.
Swing is a a web service that connects children in need with targeted donations.

First place ($2000) goes to… ( Drumroll… )
LiveSign! Live Sign an app where you can sign petitions online. To verify themselves, each user had to record a video of themselves with identification, and they built this with OpenTok. We are extremely proud of them!

OpenTok Prize: ( Nexus 7 Tablet )
Reporter is an iOS app that allows users to live stream events/video, so that people can see what is going on around them, live! Watch live performance, cause of traffic, festivals, speed cameras, accidents, fires, etc. The app is now Open Sourced. Check it out!

What I really liked about the event: 

Amazing hosts who are dedicated to the hackathon. Big Thanks to Ben who put together the event! He one of the few organizers that I’ve come across who actually stays up through the entire event to make sure everyone’s needs are taken care of.

WIFI by Meraki. The Wifi was AMAZING! Despite the great turnout, the wifi never stuttered and was blazing fast throughout the entire event.

Food! This was a no-pizza hackathon where every meal was different and tasted great! Change.org had an amazing office with unlimited supply of snacks and drinks. 5 Hour Energy gave out plenty of energy drinks to keep everyone energized through the event.

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What’s Next?

Instead of a Nexus 7, we will be giving out Apple’s ThunderBolt Display at the Box Hackathon! Read More…