From Friday, September 25th, until Sunday, September 27th, The Lansing Center will be home to hundreds of developers, innovators, engineers, tech enthusiasts and tech companies. They will converge on downtown Lansing for Mythic Apps, Lansing’s first and only Hackathon, in order to create and innovate over the course of a weekend.
The founders, Nick Rutowski and Nick Mizesko, say it’s a Science Fair combined with a Career Fair. And a sleepover.
The event wants to compact innovation into 36 hours in order to encourage techies from near and far to build something, learn a new skill, interact with companies and push technology to its limits. Over the course of the weekend, there will be tech talks, meals, collaboration, and prizes. After an intense weekend of creation, Hackers are encouraged to enter their innovations to be judged. The sponsors will pick their favorites based on categories.
“It’s about building something great,” says Rutowski. “We are always amazed at what comes out of these events and we are excited to see what people come up with.”
In the past, events have produced a wi-fi enabled toaster, a pancake maker and a browser that only requires a cell phone signal rather than wi-fi. The collaborative environment invites opportunities for not only creating, but networking and forming important relationships between companies and local talent.
And, while participants are urged to catch some z’s while they can, with everything going on, they may not want to.
Nick Mizesko- Executive Director
Nick Rutowski- Co-Director
The Problem Being Solved
Both Nicks have been members of the hackathon community for a while now and they began to notice that there is not really a cohesive Tech community in the area. “There are a lot of smaller groups trying to do things,” says Mizesko, “but our hope is to bring everyone together. We want to show everyone that Lansing (And Michigan) has a thriving tech community.”
While they know they can’t compete with Silicon Valley, the Nicks say there are a lot of great companies in Lansing. They want to showcase both the companies and the area and give students a reason to stay after graduation.
Where the Idea Came From
After they had been interacting within the hackathon community for a few years, it was a natural progression to begin thinking, “these events are cool, why don’t we bring them here?”
They began to formulate a view of how they could do it and how it could benefit Michigan. “We wanted to encourage a collaborative spirit.”
The dual audience is, according to Mizesko, one of the unique things about the event.
Participation is limited to students, but that includes any kind of student; high school, grad school or anywhere in between. They want to reach out and show them the importance of becoming a part of this growing community.
But, they are also looking to appeal to sponsors. Not just tech companies, but any company in the area that may utilize technology and cares about innovation and expanding the creative tech community.
Rutowski says their biggest challenge has been getting traction within the community and connecting with the right people in order to gain sponsorships. “It’s definitely a new concept in the area and we’ve been trying to find the right supporters.”
“Basically,” adds Mizesko, “We need people to take a leap of faith.”
While they knew the first year would be a struggle, they hope to keep putting it on for years to come.
Mizesko was a little surprised at how timid people were about getting involved. But, he hopes that mythic apps will change that and get people excited, involved, and share their enthusiasm with others.
Since the event is free to attendees and provides food and snacks, they are relying solely on sponsorships for funding. Those who sponsor the event get a wide range of benefits including recognition, getting their name out there, the opportunity to connect with local talent and more.
The Nicks hope to see this event grow, but the big hope is to bring people to the area and get exposure. They both love the area and want it to thrive. They want to put Michigan on the map, have a positive effect on the economy and make Michigan a destination for people interested in tech jobs. They hope Mythic Apps poses as a catalyst for other events and growth in the community.
Both of the Nicks urge founders to get started early and be prepared for disappointment. No matter what you are doing, it does get depressing and you can get down on yourself if you hear no enough. “But if you believe and you want it to happen, it’s all about fighting through the no’s and getting to the yes’s.”