The hello world hackathon project

This past week, the co-op students at A Thinking Ape participated in an internal hackathon where they had two days to develop something to show the rest of the company.

Among the games and tools that resulted, one project stood out to me: a hello world app.  Yes, a hello world app. (For those not in the software development field, “hello world” is usually the first output that developers code when trying out a new platform or language.)

It had a white background, black text that said “Hello World,” and a green button that was labeled, “I am a button.”  It was built using Microsoft’s latest platform that supports writing universal Windows apps that can be run on Windows phones, tablets, and desktop computers.

What stood out to me was the way he presented this simple app.  He described the app not as any other hello world app, but one with a button and that it was green!  As he went on, he told us that the green button was also “self aware,” because it was labeled describing itself as a button.

Then he went on to clicking the button.  The text that appeared below said, “You clicked the button, ” or something to that effect.  He described this like predicting the future, but in reverse!

He finally proceeded to show us that how it looked on a phone simulator.

By the end of it, many of us were quite entertained by the way this seemingly simple and ordinary project was described.  This presentation reminded me of the  “reality distortion field” Steve Jobs had when he presented his keynotes (here’s one when Steve Jobs revealed Safari for Windows in 2007).

This example is to show that no matter what kind of product you have, the way you present it to people and the way you market it has a great effect on what the audience will feel and remember about the product.

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