Why Do We Call It #Hackernight? Come Visit @stamfordicenter to Find Out

Why do we call it Hacker Night?  Here’s what happened.  Mike Rogers (Gigmasters) and Colin Phillips (formerly UBS, now with Arccos Golf) were providing input on how we could make the Innovation Center great.  We really wanted to attract tech talent.  Mike suggested we hold a Hacker Night.

We asked Alex Virvo to run Hacker Night and he has done an outstanding job, going from 5 people hanging around a table in January of 2013, to a community that brings 50+ people to the SIC every Tuesday at 6pm.  (Be here by 5:45 if you can).

But to be clear, our Hacker Night participants are not looking to access anyone’s bank account.  In fact, only about half the folk who show up are coders at all.  But we all share a goal of breaking down obstacles and driving growth, not only for ourselves, but for our community and ideally for the companies that our community is helping to create and nurture. …but we keep getting asked — why do we call it “Hacker Night?”

According to Eric Raymond, compiler of The New Hacker’s Dictionary, a hacker is a clever programmer. A “good hack” is a clever solution to a programming problem and “hacking” is the act of doing it. Here are five possible characteristics that qualify one as a hacker:

  • A person who enjoys learning details of a programming language or system
  • A person who enjoys actually doing the programming rather than just theorizing about it
  • A person capable of appreciating someone else’s hacking
  • A person who picks up programming quickly
  • A person who is an expert at a particular programming language or system, as in “UNIXhacker”

And then there are Growth hackers — a hybrid of marketer and coder, one who looks at the traditional question of “How do I get customers for my product?” and answers with A/B tests, landing pages, viral factor, email deliverability, and Open Graph.  These are traditional marketers who like tech (like me), or sometimes these are coders who have decided they really like marketing.

In either case, the focus is products, problem solving, customer acquisition and revenue growth, not theft.

So come join us tonight for Hacker Night.  Or some other Tuesday when you want to be inspired.  We’ll be here…

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