Making a case for attending an Orlando tech hackathon

The upcoming Armed Forces Jam at Central Florida Tech Grove represents a significant moment for Orlando tech for several reasons.

It’s another step toward bringing Orlando tech back to the level of interaction it had before the pandemic.

It has been great to see the calendar start to fill up with events, meetups and, well, hackathons.

As we all know, the more opportunities for interaction, the more likely we see Orlando tech reach the elevated stature that most want it to achieve.

Industry collaboration is key

At the same time, the Armed Forces Jam sets a great example. It brings together two major Central Florida industries in the spirit of collaboration.

It would be great to see this more and I expect to.

To spell it out, Orlando tech has a significant presence in the military defense and simulation industry.

We see that every November when the world’s largest defense and simulation trade show, Interservice/Industry Training, Simulation and Education Conference, known as I/ITSEC, returns to Orlando.

The city’s video game development community – buoyed by having the top graduate program in 2022 according to Princeton Review – has been one of the more-organized and tightly knit communities, as well.

The embodiment of that community is overseen by Indienomicon Foundation.

This collection of independent video game development companies and programmers has been around nearly a decade.

This will be the second year Indienomicon partners with the military community.

A startup’s crucial win in 2021

Last year, a small startup known as A Square Games and Simulation took home the top prize: $2,500 and a chance to show off what it had built at I/ITSEC.

A Square told me that the win and facetime with military tech fueled conversations that eventually turned into contracts.

And that’s the point of it all, isn’t it?

The more collaboration between small startups and larger companies, the more wins the community sees.

That’s where hackathons can play a vital role.

As a veteran of dozens of hackathons, I understand that most products built at these events die on the vine.

Yes, there are the occasional feel-good stories of a team that meets each other at a hackathon and goes on to build an actual, breathing company.

However, what makes hackathons worth the time, effort and attention is the real possibility of collisions with people you may never have met.

In a community poised to exceed pre-pandemic levels of energy and activity, that is invaluable.

For tickets, visit THIS LINK and use code “OTN_Armed22” for a discount.