TechCrunch Disrupt Hackthon NY 2012 Tokbox Winners

We Survived TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon in NY!

There were many great hacks built with OpenTok API, but only two winners. Here they are:

1) WhizCafe allows you to connect to an expert to make your shopping experience more pleasant. We’ve all been there, how many times have you wished you had expert advice before buying something?

Congrads to Korbinian Breu and his friend from Carnegie Mellon! Enjoy your resolutionary iPad3!

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TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon Round 3

The year’s biggest hackathon is going to kick off in T-24 hours. Do you think we would miss it? Not a chance! We’re looking forward to sponsoring TechCrunch Disrupt’s Hackathon and Conference (this time in NYC) for the third time. Perhaps we’ll see an OpenTok powered app take home the title. Third time’s the charm, right? RIGHT?

Since the last Disrupt Hackathon, more eyeballs have been on the video chat world than ever before. How so? For starters, Google+ Hangouts is gaining traction and pushing new features (hello “On Air”), folks are anxiously awaiting the launch of AirTime (what is it already?!?), and we’ve launched the first ever iOS SDK for video chat. Not to shabby video chat industry.

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StartupBus Creates Interactive Busdaq Game

Last week herds of entrepreneurs loaded onto buses from the west to the east coast. Destination? SXSW in Austin, Texas. Hundreds of coders, designers, business folks, and rappers, spent 3-4 days cruising the U.S. roadways building unique start-ups along the way.

StartupBus had the unique challenge of needing to find a way to connect the fans at home with the companies being built during the trip. Their solution? Busdaq, an interactive stock market game for StartupBus. Players can buy and trade stock shares in the companies they think will be most successful.

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We’re headin’ to SXSW

The countdown begins! Only four more days until South By Southwest kicks off, the only event where the past year’s hottest music, film and technology intersect. This year our very own Ian Small, CEO of TokBox, will be participating on a panel at SXSW Interactive. So if you’ll be in Austin for the big event, we’d love for you to catch the session live. All the details are below and we hope to see you there.

Tuesday, March 13

3:30PM – 4:30PM

Social Media & Young Children: Our Kids’ Futures

With Christine Egy Rose (Founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc), Hayes Raffle (Interaction Researcher, Google Inc), Patty Chang (Co-founder, Scoot & Doodle Inc) and Svetlana Gous (Consultant/Educator)

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Startup Riot MAKE in Atlanta

This past weekend I got to travel down south for a pretty sweet event, Startup Riot MAKE. Startup Riot has been hosting a week-long expo/conference in Atlanta for the last 2 years as well as one in Seattle. This year they decided to add a hackathon into the mix to warm people of for the upcoming week of festivities. The hackathon is called MAKE, and thats exactly what these hackers intended to do. No BS, its time to make something awesome.

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Trojan Hack Hackathon

Congratulations to all the USC Trojan and UCLA Bruin Hackers who participated in the Trojan Hack!

Over the 24 hours from Friday (2/3/12) to Saturday, UCLA and USC students got into groups and hacked away on their ideas. No limits, best idea and implementation wins…

Presentation slides were frowned upon, so everyone had a working demo at the end. The demos were AMAZING!

The first place ($1000) went to HackHackWith.me

In 24 hours, they built a collaborative code editing web app. Now you might think it’s like collabedit, but it’s NOT! You can actually upload project files and libraries, code together, and then run your code!

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Eye of the Tigers

No, I’m not talking about the Rocky theme song here – I’m actually referring to the mascot at Princeton University, but now that you already have it playing in your head…

At TokBox we’ve travelled to dozens of Startup Weekend events but there was definitely a different type of hunger at Princeton Startup Weekend. Not many of these events get the chance to be hosted on a prominent university’s campus, with the leagues of inspired and creative students anxiously awaiting their opportunity to make a dent on the universe. It made the weekend exciting and fruitful for some of the future entrepreneurs that we met. I’d like to highlight some of my favorites here.

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The Rise of the Silicon Prairie

Thinc Iowa speakers

Presenters at Thinc Iowa 2011

Returning home to the midwest after spending a few years in the cultural bubble of San Francisco is a strange experience. As John Travolta’s character says in Pulp Fiction regarding Europe: “It’s the little differences. I mean, they got the same shit over there that we got here, but it’s just… there it’s just a little different.” You’re confronted with of all the superficial differences in dress, decor and culture, and you start to remember that in Iowa it isn’t about wearing expensive clothes, or having a hip club to check out every night. It’s about sincerity, genuine friendliness, working hard, and desire to help other people. “And that,” I imagine the people presenting at Thinc Iowa would probably say, “is exactly the point.”

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SF Startup Weekend EDU

Last weekend I and ~50 other developers, businesspeople and designers attended the SF Startup Weekend EDU hackathon at Grockit HQ, located right around the corner from TokBox here in SoMa. The event marked the first in a series of events in a new Startup Weekend track (EDU) focused on learning and education.

This was the second Startup Weekend I’ve attended since starting here as a Developer Evangelist, and it was noticeably different from the first one I attended which was Startup Weekend MEGA, at Microsoft HQ in Mountain View. Even though SW Mega is generally regarded as a sexier Startup Weekend event due to its visibility, prizes and the three startup tracks it features, this smaller event was more fun for me because it was more focused and seemed to be a more cohesive and intimate.

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Localize or Fail

I used to think that localization meant translation. As someone who has lived in the US my entire life and has no experience with international business, I didn’t know any better. I assumed that to enter a foreign market, all a company had to do was slap up translations, register a local domain, hire a US celeb to pimp the brand, then boom—10 million new users.

I wasn’t that naive of course, but I never knew what localization really meant. I never knew until I learned how unsuccessful US consumer internet companies have been at entering China. Google, Amazon, eBay, Facebook, Yahoo, Twitter—all the giants. They all tried and failed.

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