The following is a guest post from SendGrid engineer Kien Pham

Our developer evangelists trot the globe attending many hackathons, among other events. Most engineers at SendGrid spend the majority of our time nearer to home, working on the products. In my spare time I’ve enjoyed attending those same events the evangelists know so well, but as a participant, sometimes with my SendGrid co-workers.

We have a great culture at SendGrid and one of our values is Hungry. We encourage each other to go to tech talks, meet-ups and hackathons to learn about latest and greatest technology. After every hackathon, I always learn something new that I can try to implement at work on Monday. Also I form teams with complete strangers at hackathons and get to know them better after the weekend.

I’ve met a lot of smart people and learned a lot from them. I encourage you to go to any hackathon and create amazing hack. Maybe you’ll win, as a few of my teams have.


The AT&T and American Airline Travel Hackathon took place in March during SXSW in Austin. Fellow ‘gridder Kane Kim joined me as the dev team behind AirPing, an iOS app to help travelers know if they’ll make their flight.

The team won first place and got $10,000 to divvy amongst the team and 25,000 American Airlines miles each–that’s a roundtrip ticket.

Startup Weekend San Diego

I also worked with a great team for an even greater cause at Startup Weekend San Diego. The event was focused on veterans and military families. Our team created Flutterly, a mobile app very similar to Twitter but supporting voice. Users can record short message and share them, perhaps a half world away.

Again, the team was voted first place by the judges and named the crowd favorite. There was no prize, other than being recognized for creating an app for a good cause.

TechZulu wrote a nice overview of the event and included the video embedded below.

Another Weekend, Another Event

There are no shortage of potential events to attend. I’ve done my share, including the Hollywood Hackday, Startup Weekend Orange County and a Hertz Hackathon. Though haven’t found the same glory as with AirPing and Flutterly, it’s fun to have a change of pace, creating something brand new in a short period of time.

If you ever want to try your hand at the fun and challenge of a hackathon, check out Hacker League or look out for our evangelist event calendar.

Adam DuVander speaks fluent "developer" while serving as Developer Communications Director. He helps SendGrid connect to coders of all stripes. Previously Adam wrote for Wired, Webmonkey and edited ProgrammableWeb, the leading resource for APIs.