The past few years I've wanted to participate in the Nerdery's Overnight Website Challenge(OWC), but ended up choosing going to the WCHA tournament instead. This year the two events did not conflict so I was able to do both. I was pretty excited to dedicate my Saturday to this event, even if it did mean missing my friend Art's famous Beard Off.
For those of you that don't know about the OWC, it's an event where teams of web pros get together and build websites for non-profits in 24 hours. The teams get paired up with non-profits, and you don't know your pairing until you arrive at the event. The event starts at 9am Saturday and ends at 9am Sunday.
My team, Team Bios, was paired up with Neighborhood Community Housing Services of St. Paul. Their current website is flash based and very drab. This is not consistent with how great this organization is. When the site we developed goes live it's going to be a major improvement. The design is so much better, the content speaks, and I'll pat myself on the back and say the functionality is also impressive.
I had an amazing time. I posted on Facebook on Sunday Morning, "You know it's an amazing event when you are completely exhausted, over caffeinated, sore, tired, and have wanted to kill your teammates at least 3 times in the last 23 hours yet you say the words 'Next year the plan is....'" I wrote that after being up for 25 hours and I meant it. I had so much fun and even though we didn't finish in 24 hours, we came dang close and will be done in the next few weeks.
It was inspiring seeing what some of the teams did in 24 hours. The designs themselves were all really well done, and some of the functionality left me feeling guilty I wasn't as good as some of the other programmers in the room. Nothing has inspired me to be a better programmer the way this event did. There are some incredibly talented people living in our little corner of the world.