Get Ready for Challenge Weekend!

Go Code Colorado is about turning public data into business insights. This year’s challenge statement is extremely broad, to provide for the maximum amount of creativity from participants: Build a product that uses public data to deliver insights for a business decision-maker.

We provide lots of public data, the venue, plenty of food and refreshments, technical experts, mentors and a roadmap—all in a supportive, energetic environment. You bring creativity, ingenuity and hard work.

The 2018 Challenge Weekend is just over three weeks away. We pooled recommendations from Go Code organizers about how you can prepare yourself for success.

Do the Obvious

There’s a familiar paradox; sometimes things hide in plain sight. So, at the risk of stating the obvious, we suggest you read the Go Code Colorado 2018 Rules and Judging Criteria before you arrive at Challenge Weekend. If you have any questions, send us an email or reach out on our #Slack workspace if you’ve already registered—use the #general channel or browse other existing channels to see if your question fits better in one of those. We’ll also be available at Challenge Weekend to answer questions on rules and the judging criteria. This is a data competition. How you use data—and add value to it—is the most-heavily-weighted aspect of the criteria, so be sure you are using data to fuel your idea. And find a data wiz for your team!

Do Your Research

We recommend you conduct interviews with business decision-makers or add an entrepreneur to your team before you arrive at Challenge Weekend. We provide access to public data, and you come up with creative ways for making that data helpful to business decision makers. So, start now by interviewing anyone you know (or don’t know yet, but will once you introduce yourself!) who is a business decision-maker: How do they make decisions for their company? What research do they conduct? What information do they use now? Where are the gaps? That’s key—that gap in information is your opportunity to build a useful product. Now you’re off and running to the data.

Dig into the Data

We started a Go Code data scavenger hunt at kick-off—join in on the fun anytime; keep on eye on our social media feeds for the next question. The scavenger hunt is a great analogy for how to get ready for Challenge Weekend. Start thinking through the value proposition of the tool you’re building (the result of the interviews we described above) and then comb through the data to find the information you need. Not sure where to get started? We have a wealth of resources on our data page. And you don’t have to wait until Challenge Weekend to get in contact with our data team. If you’ve already registered, you can use the #data channel on #Slack or send us an email.

Get Strategic

You can begin working on your tech now by creating your GitHub repo. Our fantastic partners at Waffle have made their lean project management tool available to all participants, and we’ve populated it with ‘cards’ (think of them as steps on an instruction sheet) that walk you through the process of building a useful product. Basically, we’re providing you with the roadmap for how to go about building a great product that uses public data to deliver business insights.

If you have already registered to participate, you can get access to Waffle right now by using the #welcome-and-setup channel in the Go Code Colorado #Slack workspace to create your GitHub repo. Instructions are pinned to the top of the channel. Also, check out our Tech Resources to learn more about your GitHub repo and our Go Code Colorado GitHub Organization. You’ll note in the rules that each team must use GitHub. Getting started early on building tech resources in your repo is a great idea. How do you get access to Go Code Colorado on #Slack? Register to participate!

Peek into the Past—Access previous GitHub repos to your advantage!

Explore the GitHub Go Code Colorado organization. Right now, it has repos from 2015 and 2016 teams. Private repos are provided for one year as part of the in-kind sponsorship from GitHub. After one year, we make public the repos of teams that choose to leave their repos in the organization. This offers a great view into how prior teams have used public data to deliver business insights. Take advantage of it!

Work Hard and Have Fun!

On Friday night, there will be some social time. You can eat, maybe have a beer (free, thanks to Great Divide!) and get to know other competitors. It’s a good chance to find a team, if you don’t already have one. If you are an individual looking to join a team, come prepared to give a quick overview of your skillset and what interests you. If you are looking to add team members, be prepared to give a quick summary of your idea and which skillset you are looking to add to your team.

Friday night is also a great time to get acquainted with your location’s resident data team member. A member of the Go Code Colorado data team will be present at each Challenge Weekend location. This is the team that works year-round to identify data valuable to business decision-makers and then works with state agencies to make that data public, machine readable, discoverable and regularly updated. They know their data, inside and out, and can help you use the Colorado Information Marketplace to its fullest potential.

Refine your Idea

Use Saturday and Sunday to take that seed of an idea and develop something impressive. Think about who would use the tool, how the insights would benefit a business decision-maker and the unique value-add you provide to the data. Check back in on the Judging Criteria and make sure your idea is compelling so you can become one of 10 finalist teams winning $2,500 each—and an invitation to Mentor Weekend.

Lean into the Data Team and Find Yourself a Mentor

Saturday is the big work day, and we’ve got you covered with resources to support your efforts. The Go Code data team will be checking in with every competing team on Saturday. They’ll ask you to describe your idea, so they can make sure you know of all available data you might find useful.

Mentors are community members that have a lot of love to give. They are been-there-done-that professionals who want to help you avoid mistakes they may have made and help get you past roadblocks and move your idea forward. Working with mentors also creates a great space for refining your idea. Walking through problem statements, trying out different pitch strategies, seeking out gaps to fill—all can be benefits of working with a mentor.

Pitch your Idea

On Sunday evening, you’ll present your idea to a panel of local judges who will evaluate your team’s project against the Judging Criteria. May the best team win! On Saturday, we’ll walk you through best practices for your presentation, so you’re set up for success on Sunday night. For now, get busy building your team, interviewing business decision-makers and exploring the data.

We look forward to seeing you on April 13th!

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