Behind the scenes
Some Hackathon teams formed a
year ago at Knowledge 2018; others signed up on the fly. They compete
for various reasons. “Many people come in with problems they want to
solve, or just a core idea for an innovation,” said ServiceNow
developer evangelist Jason McKee. “Sometimes they have a great idea
but they don’t know how to build it themselves. Others just want to
CreatorCon Hackathon apps often find their way into new products and
services built on the Now Platform. “In past years we’ve had people
build business solutions here, take them back to the office, polish
them up and move those apps into production,” McKee said.
While the 8-hour time constraint is tough, McKee notes that anything
is possible. His personal record for building a functioning app on the
platform: 37 minutes.
Other developer competitions are also
drawing attention in the CreatorCon area at Knowledge 2019. The
BrewOps challenge—which McKee called “program development drag
racing”— is running each day of the show. Teams of three developers
have 100 minutes to solve a themed challenge. This year, the theme was
improving the workflow for a brewery.
As with the CreatorCon Hackathon, BrewOps winners receive tech
gadgets as prizes. Bragging rights matter just as much. “In this
community, being a Hackathon or BrewOps winner is something you put on
your resume,” McKee said. One of last year’s winners, he noted, wound
up adding something else to his resume: a new job at ServiceNow.
The third competition, the
CreatorCon Challenge, has the most at stake. Teams from ServiceNow
partner companies spend the year before Knowledge competing to be
finalists. The winning team gets $500,00 in seed money to develop
Some ideas seem a bit crazy at first. McKee remembers when one
attendee brought in a robot and wanted to build a service that could
shut down a nuclear power plant remotely.
“If all the electronic control systems on a power plant run wild,
this robot’s job was to roll in and hit the manual shut-off,” McKee
said. “They had no idea if that was a real thing, they just thought it
could be. When they presented their results as finalists, an attendee
who works in nuclear power came up and explained that it’s a real
scenario. It’s called the scram button.”