48 Straight Hours Of Computer Programming? ‘Hack Nashville’ Makes It Happen

At Hack Nashville this weekend, Rachel Werner, left, Ashley Wright and a group of female developers created a site to help women in tech jobs find mentors.

At Hack Nashville this weekend, Rachel Werner, left, Ashley Wright and a group of female developers created a site to help women in tech jobs find mentors.

At 11 a.m. on Sunday, a few dozen people were hunching over their laptops in a room of an old warehouse. There was a table off to the side with Krispy Kremes and coffee, next to two giant kegs left over from the night before. There was also an orange tent against the wall — where software developer Brendan Wovchko had been, quite literally, camping out for two nights.

Welcome to Hack Nashville, a 48-hour event dedicated to building new technology. It was created two and a half years ago to give the computer developers in the city a way to collaborate on projects outside of work. The first event had 30 participants, and it’s since grown tenfold: This weekend, it drew about 300 people from across the Southeast.

Brendan Wovchko's orange tent stayed in the back of a room full of Hack Nashville participants all weekend.

Brendan Wovchko’s orange tent stayed in the back of a room full of Hack Nashville participants all weekend. Credit: Lucas Foley via Hack Nashville

Wovchko has been to nearly a dozen hackathons like this one around the country. He says it’s a nice change of pace.

“For me, this format is really exciting,” he says. “You know, you go to a day job, 9-to-5, 9-to-6, every week. This environment is sort of an opportunity to reconnect back with your creative roots and do something for the fun of it.”

Avery Fisher, one of Hack Nashville’s organizers, says they provide the food, space, electricity, and Internet. Then they “get out of the way, and let people who make stuff make stuff,” he says.

Participants this year made, among other things, websites, homegrown computers, a wifi-enabled smoke detector and a universal remote that works from an iPhone. They presented their projects at a showcase Sunday night.

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