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Yacht Hack – The Best Week Ever

I was super super lucky this summer and was able to attend Yacht Hack 2014 – the first hackathon on a Yacht, organised by Entrepreneur’s Handbook as part of Tough Hackers.  And without any shadow of a doubt, it was the most enlightening single week of my life.  I had to keep reminding myself that I was actually on a yacht with some of the most innovative, creative people in the world and had the chance to work with them to create something really special.

What is Yacht Hack I hear you asking?  Julie Markham summed it up perfectly with “Yacht Hack is the epitome of an island effect, bringing brilliant creative misfits together on a yacht, that are brainstorming positive ways to make an impact on society.” in the promotional video (below).

So, at the end of August, I arrived in the port of Split, Croatia, to meet the rest of the Yacht Hack team.  Boarding the Yacht (a 40ft Catamaran) was super exciting – not knowing quite how cramped living conditions would be was fun, and it didn’t take long for everyone to migrate to the trampoline-like net at the front.

After an evening of getting to know each other, we set-sail on the Sunday.  We worked in teams of 3 to first come up with a project to work on – something that solved real-world problems.  Each team contained one Hustler, one Designer and one Hacker, which was the absolutely perfect combination of people.

Julie Markham, Nicholas Hopper and I came up with the idea for Shy:

Shy is a mobile app and service that aggregates frequently asked questions a user may feel uncomfortable to ask publicly to their friends and family. Shy is a trusted source that gathers these private questions for curious teenagers ranging from information on their body to sex, to drugs & alcohol. Shy’s mission is to empower people with useful and relevant information and advice that they can quickly find right in their pockets to help them make more informed decisions. Shy also tries to encourage a user to ask more questions by learning what areas they are searching in and suggesting relevant questions they could ask.

Don’t be Shy (sorry!) – check out some screenshots:

Yacht Hack really gave me a new perspective on what I want to do with my skills in the coming years – having seen what others are doing and the effect they are having.  Working on Shy has further driven me to create products that bring knowledge and education to those who would not normally have it.

If you want to know more about Yacht Hack, check out our interviews here.

And if you’re reading this, you’ve likely no excuse not to apply for one of the future Tough Hackers hackathons.  I’ve never been to an event where the connections I made were so meaningful.  Brainstorming world-changing ideas with trend-setting geniuses on the roof of a yacht in the middle of the sunny sea is not an experience I’ll ever forget, hence the connections are so strong – as shown by the constant, continued collaboration between attendees since Yacht Hack.

Most of us on the Yacht Hack yacht roof
Most of us on the Yacht Hack yacht roof

By taking people away from the distractions of everyday life, they can truly focus on developing innovative ideas.  What better place to do this than a Yacht with super-slow internet access?