From the cathedral to the bazaar, the charm of hackathon and the soul of the developer community

0, the history of open source culture: from the niche to the mainstream

From closed to open, ideal for free software

"Cathedral and Market" is the Bible of the open source movement, subverting traditional software development ideas and affecting the entire software development field. Author Eric S. Raymond is the standard-bearer of the open source movement and the first theorist of hacker culture.

Raymond believes that software development and programming, like all creative activities, originate from the specific and real needs of individuals, but is not limited to individual closed activities. The superb procedures will be closed to open, gathering the wisdom of thousands of people. :

origin: The best program starts with a personal solution to the author's daily problems, because a large number of people happen to have this problem and become popular.

evolution: Egoless programming + big market model (bazaar method)

Open software development is non-linear, like the relationship between Newtonian and Einsteinian physics, the old system is still effective at low energy, but when you make the quality and speed large enough, Get the legend of Linux like a nuclear explosion.

One of the most prominent achievements of the open source culture is Linux. In 1984, Richard Stallman left MIT to develop a Unix-like free software operating system because of dissatisfaction with closed source and expensive commercial software. Since then, he has founded the Free Software Foundation, developed the GNU General Public License (GPL) and wrote the original code for the GNU/Linux operating system in his personal capacity, which many call the Linux operating system.

Interview with Ted, the father of Linux

This period is the budding period of the open source community – developers are not interested, only to contribute code to the software for the ideal of free software . Most members communicate through the web and mail groups, and they are pioneers and idealists in the open source software community. This can be compared to the early community status of Bitcoin and Ethereum.

While programming is basically a closed activity for individuals, the truly superb program comes from being closed to open, with the attention and brainpower of the entire community. In an open and evolutionary environment, it absorbs thousands of people's feedback on the program, contributions to the code, and debug.

Neutral governance model, balancing business interests and community will

Consensus, or “principle of understanding”, is the embodiment of the will of the community. A good “market-like” community organization resembles a free market or ecosystem, and each selfish individual forms a collective that maximizes overall utility, which creates a self-correcting spontaneous order.

The "utility" maximized by hackers is not limited to the classic economics, but also includes the satisfaction of personal value realization and reputation among other hackers ( egoboosting , pursuit of fame, voice, influence and social identity, reflected in the rise The thrill of powder) these things that are not easily quantified.

Some people think that the culture formed by self-driven individual heroists will be fragmented, king-in-law, and inefficient, but the idea is the breadth and depth of information on the Internet such as github, linux, wikipedia, Bitcoin, and Etheureum. Quality is falsified.

A large-scale (community-based) open, positive-motivated development environment allows self-motivated individuals to fully utilize their intelligence and talents to create intellectual results that reflect cluster intelligence.

Nathen Harvey pointed out three questions in InformationWeek's article: “Will the project be driven by commercial sponsors or external contributors? Should commercial interests be above the will of the community? How and where is the business entity and There is a clear line between the open source communities?” Being a neutral foundation may be the only way to balance this issue, allowing software to benefit everyone from negotiation, compromise, debate, and so on.

As more and more companies see the opportunity of open source software, more and more open source software represented by Linux is adopted by the company. The Linux Foundation was established in 2000 to provide support to the open source community in economics, intelligence, infrastructure, services, activities, and training.

At this time, Linux development is not a personal hobby of a group of idealistic developers, but also a business that requires commercial operations. In addition to freelance developers, there are also specialized developers who are hired by foundations or large companies to develop.

With Linus creating Git in 2005 during the development of the Linux kernel, and later GitHub and various Internet companies supporting open source projects, the developer community on GitHub is very active, but the source of their incentives is still the company's compensation and The praise of people inside the community. The rights and rewards of the developer community are still not strong enough to contribute, and it is difficult to attract more people to participate.

The emergence of Bitcoin allows developers to obtain direct economic incentives in the absence of employment, which is the most innovative point in the Bitcoin mechanism. For the first time, it has tied the interests of the developer community and the interests of miners to “money”, although it has also led to conflicts between the interests of the developer community and the interests of miners.

1. The rise of hackathon and "hacker economy"

Combining the new concepts of "hack" and "marathon" – Hackathon was born in 1999, not the same as the lonely "marathon" long run, hackathon is an avid workshop – programmers and software engineers We need to speed up a project in one evening or a short weekend.

On hackathon, programmers and developers can do software development design activities. Includes graphic designers, interface designers, project/product managers and more to collaborate on a software project. The goal of hackathon is to develop useful software or hardware products at the end of the event.

This activity began with a need for collaborative work, integrating computing resources to stress test new unreleased software in the Beta phase. Soon, people realized that impromptu brainstorming can inspire great creativity, and that Hackathon can be used to explore solutions to various technical problems that emerged early in development.

In general, Hackathon will define specific topics, such as a specific programming language, a specific runtime system, the application of a theme, a specified API, or a certain area and population, such as on a blockchain hackathon. Developers may develop decentralized applications (dApps).

This decentralized, de-intermediary, distributed computer programming format has become the industry standard for the software development industry. Whether it is a large-scale hackathon offline or an online developer event, this once-avant-garde model has slowly become Industry mainstream.

Large traditional enterprises are also beginning to realize the advantages of transformation, transforming the already hierarchical corporate governance structure into more lean and agile, more adaptable to the organizational structure of the 21st century, and giving employees more autonomy and responsibility. Hackathon is a template for a new way of working. They represent a new driving force for the growth of companies in the tech sector, and they are also solving the tough problems in the tech world in a new way of working together.

Although the original style of the hackathon is nomadic, free and open source, it is interesting to note that some "old school" technology giants with different temperament styles are actively embracing "hackathon".

In the financial, commercial, political, and even art fields, mature industries are already embracing the blockchain, and they are all trying to find new application scenarios for technology and industry grafting. This is the stage to explore how to apply blockchains in all walks of life. Created a good opportunity for hackathon development.

Many non-technical companies such as McDonald's, Samsung and Unilever are also trying to accelerate the development of products through the power of hackers. The unique charm of the hackathon allows it to capture the inspiration of innovation, showcase the latest technological advances, and conduct market tests on new technologies, and hackathon allows teams that have not been completely released from their talents and potentials to form a team. Innovative concepts and products are delivered."

This phenomenon indicates that in an increasingly digital, distributed and de-intermediated future, hackathon, geeks and potential vouchers will become an important part of the future growth of the technology industry . At least, this is already a consensus of some players.

When the blockchain hits the developer community, another thing that cannot be ignored is “Hackonomy, hacker economics”, or a set of “economic incentives” and evidence incentives. For example, has HackerGold (HKG), which essentially provides a "frictionless" market environment for many entrepreneurial ideas, and connects the development talent pool and code base to the startup project. At the end of the day, Hackonomy provides an economic mechanism for the ecology that can inspire new disruptive technologies to be developed.

HackerGold (in fact, the technical ecology, including the public domain ecology is a form of HackerGold) and its ecology may become the creation of the bitcoin white paper with Nakamoto. “Economic incentives” allow an organization like a blockchain technology lab/foundation to complete initial testing of ideas, attracting world-class development talent, and allowing for research and product development progress under a mix of multiple factors. They are greatly accelerated.

2, the value of Hackathon is still underestimated by most people

Undoubtedly, Hackathon is a perfect stage for developers to brainstorm and brainstorm. For enterprises, it is a platform for low-cost testing of ideas and products, and discovering each other with outstanding talents.

Hackthon, connecting businesses and hacker communities by Dorahacks

But as a relatively niche event, the charm and value of Hackathon is still far underestimated by the public, so what are the advantages of hackathon?

Enhance company brand

Holding Hackathon conveys the company's products and values ​​to the developer community, which indirectly enhances the company's brand. The distribution of company-marked products such as T-shirts, notebooks, etc. at the venue will also enhance the company's brand in the long run. In addition, developers and Hackathon participants are mostly active users of social media platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, WeChat friends, etc., so they often bring traffic to the brand outside of these Hackathon activities.

Human resource expansion

Many organizations of Hackathon also tend to use Hackathon as an opportunity to recruit new employees, depending on the performance of the participants and whether they are consistent with the company's value. In addition to being economically cost effective, Hackathon makes it easier for companies to find like-minded people. In addition, most of the Hackathon participants are people looking for new employment opportunities, so this is a win-win for each participant.

Product expansion

Hosting Hackathon to discover creative ideas and talents to help expand your product. Companies that organize Hackathon can go to the ground and realize their ideas in the form of cooperation or recruitment after the competition is completed, so that the products can be diversified to adapt to the ever-changing technological development.

Create a long-term community

Many innovative companies are starting to organize Hackathon because they realize how important it is to create a self-running, positive ecosystem around their core business. As a clever marketing tool, hackathon can also help companies strengthen their links with external resource networks, especially to strengthen connections with developers. Most of those who are willing to participate in hackathon are smart and capable people who will also be in the future. Become an important external resource for the company. Winning an award in hackathon can also inspire the creativity of the community.

More cost-effective workforce

One reason for companies and start-ups that want to launch new products to organize or sponsor hackathon is that their technical teams are facing some tough problems , and hackathon can be used to get more participants to try out these technical hardcores. For example, suppose a blockchain project wants to diversify its business and needs to release a new product on their existing product line. However, they have encountered bottlenecks, such as code is buggy, and it takes a lot of time and labor to solve the bug.

At this point, the project can use this puzzle as a race issue on hackathon. Not only will the puzzle be solved on hackathon, but it will also charge a much more cost-effective price than external technology. Therefore, blockchain companies and technology companies are inclined to hand over the problem to hackathon to solve.

3. Successful companies that ran out of Hackathon

Hackathon gave start-ups an opportunity to be explored by investors. AngelHack, a well-known Hackathon organizer, will provide Demo Day showcases and HackAccelator's accelerator incubator for the outstanding projects in Hackathon.

Enter AngelHack's HackAccelarator global project

Like the trainee's draft competition, Hackathon provides comprehensive support for potential projects with exposure, capital, technology, talent, etc., so from hackathon, ran out of quality companies from all walks of life:

Valuation of 10 million items from Hackathon

In the same way, in the blockchain field, Hackathon is also the cradle of the birth of quality projects, and is the perfect place to capture the quasi-unicorn companies and their founders. This is why the industry's head exchanges, capital, companies, and projects, including Firecoin, Bitcoin, Eight-dimensional Capital, Coin's, Ethereum, EOS, and Boca, are all in the depth of the developer community , and hacking marathons are held. And form a bond with strategic investment and other means.

Instadapp from ETH India hackathon

ETH India hackathon

Matic and rct studio from Dorahacks hackathon

About Matic:


The Matic Network is a second-tier expansion solution for blockchains that use sidechain chain operations, while using Plasma and PoS mechanisms to ensure asset security. The Matic Network is dedicated to enabling developers to create truly available Dapps on the platform. Matic is an important contributor to the Ethereum ecology and has made outstanding contributions to the Ethereum community.

The Matic team participated in the early stage of DoraHacks' blockchain Hackathon organized in Bangalore, India in the fall of 2018. Nearly 1,000 people signed up for Hackathon in Bangalore, India, and 200 Hacker were admitted. The entire Matic team participated in Hackathon and provided some technical support to other geek teams. Matic launched the online LaunchPad in April-April 2019 and became one of the best performing blockchain projects in 2019.

About rct studio:

Rct studio is an AI-based entertainment interactive technology company that restructures the Hollywood movie and gaming industry with AI technology such as distributed machine learning and natural language processing. The company has received a million dollar angel investment, including Y Combinator China and Xingyi Capital.

On the Demo Day of the 2019 YC Winter Venture Camp, rct showed a name called Morpheus, which can create a possible artificial intelligence engine based on the subtle differences of people's every move. Morpheus can convert the text language into 3D vision in real time.

The rct founding team first participated in the DoraHacks Beihang Hackathon in 2015. This is also the first Hackathon of Beihang. At that time, the RCT team co-founder Chen Yuheng and others were geeks from the North Airlines DoraHacks. In 2017, the team founded Raven Technology was acquired by Baidu, and then created rct studio, a new interactive film company based on artificial intelligence technology, and obtained YC investment.

4. The developer community joins github to contribute code, modules, or new projects, just like probiotics in the body, helping the public chain form a stronger network effect.

The community is simply too important for a blockchain project. If a project is echoed by the enthusiasm of the community users, even a bad idea can be an amazing success. Similarly, a great idea may not be able to land without the support of the community.

So, knowing where your audience (viewers) are the first step in fostering a viable community, the second step is to maintain the community; GitHub is a perfect place to nurture and maintain the community.

Developers often appear on Reddit, others also use Discord, Riot or even Telegram. But the programmers most often patronize github, which will update the latest code of the project on GitHub.

Early investors and potential target users can be divided into categories such as enthusiasts, venture capitalists, traders and developers, etc. These early adopters will accompany you through the wind and rain. hit.

As the world's leading software development platform, GitHub is likely to not attract traders or pure hobbyists; however, hedge funds and investment institutions sometimes have the need for due diligence on projects, and they occasionally check on GitHub. The code base is active; for developers, GitHub is three meals a day.

By October 2018, there were 31 million users on GitHub, mainly in North America, Eastern Europe and Australia. Since GitHub was acquired by Microsoft in October 2018, it has begun to enter the mainstream. Although some people have been vocal about GitHub's acquisition by Microsoft, overall it is not a bad thing for GitHub. In addition to GitHub, there are a series of similar competing products, such as Bitbucket, GitLab, and SourceForge. These platforms can also bring many users to your blockchain startup project. Keeping a close eye on the major platforms that developers frequently experience will help you understand how the project developer community will work.

GitHub can be used to measure whether a project is valuable. For example, a blockchain developer in the United States earns about $100,000 a year, and their working hours are really worth a lot of money. So, when a project has a lot of dynamic updates on GitHub, it means that a significant portion of the workforce is contributing to the project. If there is enough labor in the active contribution code, then we can basically confirm that the project is not a scam. The data shows that the team is relatively organized, and that a group of smart developers believe in the project's philosophy.

In addition to the original code, another important role of the technical community is that everyone collects fire-high debugs. Linus, the founder of Linux, proposed a Linus Law: As long as there are enough eyes, all the bugs are catching. It embodies the key differences between the cathedral model and the market model. In the cathedral mode programming concept, bugs and development problems are complex, difficult, and in-depth, and require a few people to delve into it. In the market concept, the bug is considered to be a simple problem. At least with the enthusiastic participation of thousands of co-developers, the debug will soon become simple, and the development and testing can be parallel.

For blockchain projects, in order to attract more high-quality developers, the project side should strive to improve the quality of their own code. To better demonstrate this, CryptoMiso designed a visual image to show the movement of the blockchain project on GitHub. The chart below shows Top 10's blockchain project (based on 12 months of developer contribution data).

If you are doing a global, decentralized project, the community is a top priority for the market and PR. The developer community is an essential part of building a healthy and loyal fan community for your project. The developer community is like a probiotic in the body, which helps the project to form a stronger network effect and build an ecological project with strong vitality.


Hacker and painter by Linus

The Big Bang of the Developer Community – From Free Idealism to Interest-Driven Bounty Hunter by Ross Zhang Fire Coin Canada CEO

The Rise Of Blockchain, Hackathons & The 'Hackonomy' Roger Aitken


50 Startups that came from HACKATHONS

Blockchain Developer Community: How to use GitHub to find inspiration for your project by Sebastian Schuhl

These 13 New Startups Were Born At Hackathons by AngelHack

17 International Startups Born From Hackathons


Author: Wei Ran