Developers and students build products..

Our developer and engineer members can remove themselves from cubicles of mediocrity and work templates and show off skills in streamlining, originality, and innovation More »

Entrepreneurs and Media Members bring ideas..

Our entrepreneurs, business people and journalists can get out of the immersion of corporate weeds, be a leader, and share valuable prototypes, ideas, and information. More »

What can we do together?

Together we will leverage original concepts, trends and invention with technical expertise and engineering brainstorming to produce business value. More »

How is this done?

Hackerz Nation events will force you to get creative, to execute quickly, and utilize the more intuitive part of your brain. The developer strips away the unnecessary, boiling the idea down to its simplest form. The entrepreneur balances risk with resources. More »


Our contests, competitive in nature, are an opportunity to go head-to-head with other coders and entrepreneurs for cash and prizes. The end result is something real, something you can touch and interact with More »


5 New Ways to Code for Beginners


Learning to code is a very useful and satisfying thing to do. Many people are saying that everyone should learn how to code, and that it’s just as important to learn as reading and writing. However, coding can be an intimidating thing to jump into, especially if you aren’t a computer savvy person. These 5 easy ways to code for beginners will allow you to jump into the world of coding without feeling overwhelmed.

1. Codecademy

Codecademy is an effective and popular coding tutorial. It provides an easy and fun way for beginners to learn how to build websites, apps, and games. It allows you to track your friend’s progress, and rewards you for learning more with its intuitive rewards system.

2. Code School

Code School utilizes a “learning by doing” technique. Each course from Code School includes a 15 minute video to accompany the lesson, followed by a series of challenges for the student to complete.

3. Google Blockly

Google Blockly is a type of coding that actually takes the coding part out of the picture. Google Blockly will allow the user to build an app, website, or program without typing anything. Users get to drag blocks together to build their application, kind of like a puzzle.

4. Mozilla Thimble App

Mozilla Thimble App is a brand new online code editor. Instead of catering to advanced users, it actually teaches beginners as they‘re coding. To help users see immediate results, it has side-by-side code editor and code output panels. This makes it so the user can see immediate results, so they know what they’re doing right and what they’re doing wrong.

5. Lifehacker

Lifehacker offers a full beginners guide on coding. They’re beginners guide has about 5 lessons that teach the basics, along with other resources to keep you going. They also offer an abundance of other tutorials and features to make coding a little bit easier.


While all of these are good options, we prefer Codecademy because it’s very helpful and easy to understand with no previous coding experience. They even launched a campaign at the beginning of the year called Code Year, a call to action for all non-coders to really challenge themselves, and learn basic coding before the end of the year. Mayor Bloomberg of New York City even accepted the challenge, a testament that anyone can do it. This call to action coupled with an intuitive learning and rewards system makes Codecademy our top recommendation.

Startup Weekends, and How They Can Benefit You


Can you imagine building a business in 54 hours? With Startup Weekends, this is idea is possible. Don’t know anything about Startup Weekends? This article will explain a little bit about what a Startup Weekend is, what it involves, and how attending one can benefit you.

What is a Startup Weekend?

Startup Weekends are a place where Entrepreneurs and aspiring Entrepreneurs can meet up and see if their start-up ideas are achievable. These Entrepreneurs come together in a frantic 54 hours to turn their ideas into businesses. This weekend focuses on learning by doing, and is known for the creative thinking, and quick decisions required to succeed.

Any participants of a Startup Weekend are expected to bring desire and passion to the project at hand, and walk out with a developed company or project within a short 54 hours.

The 54 Hour Timeline

Friday consists of registration, and a welcome followed up by open-mic 60 second pitches. Participants will then vote on the best ideas, after which teams will form and begin discussion.

Saturday begins with a simple breakfast. After breakfast is finished, teams will set up a workspace and begin working. Shortly after, they call for any needs or skills that would benefit them. Mentors will come around and help every team one-on-one. After dinner, the teams must check in with status reports and any help they might need.

The final day begins with a short breakfast, followed by work until the mentors arrive. The entrepreneurs will have some time to prepare their presentation until their final presentation in the evening. After judging and awards, the teams wrap up, and the event is over for the night.

The Process

A Startup Weekend is a great experience for any Entrepreneur because it demonstrates the highs and lows of creating a company or a project, all within 54 hours. Within one weekend any given participant will pitch their idea, source team members, and go fourth with the process of launching the company or product before the weekend is out. This essentially gives participants the option of having a business within 54 hours time, making the Startup Weekend a great opportunity for any entrepreneur.

The Pebble VS the Sony SmartWatch: Which Smart Watch Should You Buy?

There’s a new trend in connectivity: the Smart Watch. These handy, wearable devices give users access to Twitter, Facebook, MSN Messenger, news, weather, sports, stocks, and so much more. They connect directly to your smart phone, which allows you to check text messages, see who’s calling (and even answer calls, if you have a headset), and play music. So, which smart watch should you buy? This article will compare and review two smart watches: The Pebble, and the Sony SmartWatch.

The Sony SmartWatch

The Sony SmartWatch is designed to be the perfect companion for Android phones, and essentially acts as a useful remote control via Bluetooth. It can tell you who’s calling, send it to voicemail, send pre-written text messages, and answer the phone if you happen to have a headset. Not only that, but it gives users the ability to check Facebook, Twitter, and e-mail. The user even has the capability to install apps and widgets on the SmartWatch, and supposedly can run more than one on different pages.

In spite of all of the SmartWatch’s great features, it’s currently a little buggy. While it’s fairly easy to get the watch operational, and to install apps, certain apps don’t work as they should. Twitter and Facebook integration works fine, but the utilization of other apps can sometimes cause the watch to reboot… or even crash.

The Pebble

Unlike the Sony SmartWatch, the Pebble works on both Android and iPhone devices. The Pebble will alert the user of any text messages, incoming calls, e-mail messages, tweets, and Facebook messages with a quiet vibration. If the user feels that the message is unimportant, getting rid of the message is as simple as shaking the wrist. The Pebble also features a number of apps, such as a bike computer, GPS, music player, and much, much more.

As an added bonus, the Pebble is waterproof. A person can run in the rain, or even swim with it without having to worry about damaging it. There are also interchangeable watch faces, and a number of colors (arctic white, jet black, cherry red, and one still to be decided).

Not only does the Pebble feature a number of apps, but the user can create his own apps. The user can create just about anything he wants. The Pebble will send data via the accelerometer and buttons straight back through to the internet.


The Pebble on Kickstarter:

Sony Website:

How I Raised $215,000 on, The Popular Website that Anyone can use to Fund Projects

Kickstarter is a popular website that anyone can use to fund projects. This article will discuss three success stories, how they did it, and how you can do it too.

Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story

Nick Lewis started a project on to fund a movie about an athlete named Jay DeMerit. The movie is called Rise and Shine: The Jay DeMerit Story, and it’s about an athlete who had a goal, and never gave up. Nick was able to raise the $215,000 that they needed.

Lewis gave this advice:

“Work hard, prepare beforehand, and find the best way to identify and contact your “base” of people who are inclined to support the film.”

A Defiant Dude

James Lantz was threatened by Chick-Fil-A for a lawsuit for his slogan “Eat More Kale”. Chick-Fil-A claimed that his slogan was too similar to their “Eat Mor Chikin” slogan. In response, he began work on a documentary protesting what Chick-Fil-A was doing, and launched a project.

Lantz gave these tips:

“1. You have to be prepared to work it. You just don’t put up a Kickstarter project and wait for the money to come in. It was nearly a full-time job for us for the last two months.

2. Spend time on the video, rewards and home page. You gotta grab people’s attention — and quick! — Kickstarter has a statistic that says most people click OUT of a video after only 4 seconds.

3. Do a lot of prior preparation — get a great team of folks who will help you promote your project. You gotta be true to the ‘crowd’ of crowd-funding.

4. Work Facebook (nearly 50% of our pledges came from Facebook sharing).”

Inspector Spacetime: The Web Series

Travis Richey had a vision for a web series called “Inspector Spacetime”. So, he gave a try. He was very straight forward about what he wanted to do, and was able to get a number of supporters from the “Doctor Who” fan base.

Richey gave this advice:

“I think the keys are to not try to make your dream project right away. Think about the minimum amount of funding you need and try to hit that. Then, engage your fans and backers. Say thank you! Prove that you understand what it means to pledge money to a stranger to make something.”


Visit and Support these projects:

Thank you Nick Lewis @

Thank you James Lantz @

Thank you Travis Richie @


How to Fund a Project on Kickstarter

Kickstarter is a platform that people can use to raise funds for business ideas. This Crowd Funding site is capable of funding a variety of projects, from video games to indie films. If you have a project with potential, and that you’d like to be funded, is a great place to start.

What a lot of people don’t realize is that even if they have a good idea, that idea won’t get funded unless it’s presented in the right way. is about more then getting views, or getting people to comment on your project. When you post a project on, you’re asking people to put their hard-earned money towards it.

Fund a Great Project on

First, create a business plan. Do some research to find out if the project you’re trying to sell has a market. If it does, think about presentation. How can you best sell your work to that market?

Next, put money towards the project. By putting money towards toward the presentation of your project (and by putting the money in the right places), you can guarantee that people from your niche will be intrigued. Try hiring someone to create a commercial for you, and to do some concept work for your project.

Choose your words carefully. The words that you choose will make or break your sale. Think hard about what makes your project stand out. Be professional, and keep it simple. Talk about what the project is, and where it’s taking place. After you say what needs to be said, let the trailer and the project speak for itself.

Consider social networking. It helps to have a large network of people that you can reach out to for support. This might include Facebook friends, a sports league, a blog network, etc..

Include goodies that you can give away. If possible, make them tangible rewards for people that fund your project.

Finally, if the pitch doesn’t work the first time, try again. When a project doesn’t succeed the first time, it can be improved upon. You may make enough money with your first attempt to create a better, successful pitch the second time.

Visit and Support these projects:

Thank you Nick Lewis @

Thank you James Lantz @

Thank you Travis Richie @

Hackerz Nation Presents – Start Up Weekend Chicago August 2012

Title: Hackerz Nation Presents – Start Up Weekend Chicago August 2012
Location: W Hotel
Link out: Click here
Description: We’re very excited to announce our first Hackerz Nation – Start Up Weekend Circus in Chicago on August 2012!

If you don’t know what a Hackathon is…

Hackathons are a unique part of our culture that allows developers and entrepreneurs to focus on building new things in a weekend. It’s often the birthplace of new products like the “I like button”, chat, video, and HipHop for PHP.

Join the Hackerz Nation team as we compete all weekend hacking and having a good time. We’ll supply the food, fun diversions, prizes and some professional guidance. You will meet future investors, employers and media. This will also be filmed for MTV. You bring your skills and ideas. We’ll see you there.

You’ll want to start thinking of an idea or sharpen your technical skills. Teams of 4 will be formed, 1 idea generator, 2 developers, and 1 IU developer. Register early as we will hit the max capacity quickly.
Start Date: 8/24/2012
End Date: 8/26/2012

Hackerz Nation Presents – Start Up Weekend May 2012

Title: Hackerz Nation Presents – Start Up Weekend May 2012
Location: W Hotel
Link out: Click here
Description: We’re very excited to announce our first Hackerz Nation – Start Up Weekend in Atlanta, Georgia on May 11-13, 2012!

If you don’t know what a Start Up Weekend is…

Start Up Weekends are a unique part of our culture that allows developers and entrepreneurs to focus on building new things in a weekend. It’s often the birthplace of new products like the “I like button”, chat, video, and HipHop for PHP.

Join the Hackerz Nation team as we compete all weekend hacking and having a good time. We’ll supply the food, fun diversions, prizes and some professional guidance. You will meet future investors, employers and media. This will also be filmed for MTV pilot. You bring your skills and ideas. We’ll see you there.

You’ll want to start thinking of an idea or sharpen your technical skills. Teams of 4 will be formed, 1 idea generator, 2 developers, and 1 IU developer. Register early as we will hit the max capacity quickly.
Start Date: 5/11/2012
Start Time: 4pm
End Date: 5/13/2012
End Time: 7pm

Draw Something: The Popular Pictionary Game App That Grossed Over $250,000 a Day

Draw Something

There are over 1 billion apps available for download on smart phones and tablets, but only a few manage to make a niche in the market. Draw Something by OMGPOP has made an impressive mark. The app gained popularity at lightning fast speeds. In only six weeks, Draw Something was downloaded 32 million times and has grossed over $250,000 a day.

A Little About Draw Something

Draw Something is a sort of online Pictionary. Users draw pictures of various topics to help their opponent guess what that topic is. At first, it provides easy topics, such as sun and chair. That’s easy enough to do, until the game throws in more challenging topics, like celebrities and band names. Draw Something is one of the most successful apps to reinvent board games for online play. None of its competitors have even managed to compare.

Draw Something is a Hit

OMGPOP didn’t find immediate success. They released a total of 35 games before coming out with the wildly successful Draw Something. They tried to release other drawing games, but Draw Something was their first major hit. Popularity began to grow at a phenomenal rate from day one. The day the app was launched, it began to average 3 drawings a second, and that was only the beginning.

More than 1 billion apps are downloaded on Apple and Android products every month. Draw Something is now the most downloaded free app, available in 85 countries around the world. The numbers were so impressive that Zynga had to make OMGPOP an offer.

OMGPOP as a Part of Zynga

Zynga is the developer of various addictive online games such as Cityville, and Words with Friends. The Chief Mobile Officer of Zynga, David Ko, was an avid player of Draw Something from the very beginning. He admits that his drawing skills aren’t top notch, he even had to resort to scribbling notes into some of his drawings. In spite of the challenge, he really enjoyed it.

So, he organized a meeting with the Chief Executive of OMGPOP, Dan Porter. The two of them hit it off immediately. David Ko thought that Dan Porter and the OMGPOP team would be a great purchase for Zynga. It’s not the first purchase that Zynga has made, but it is the biggest. Zynga had to fight off bids from Disney and Electronic Arts. Ultimately, they ended up buying OMGPOP for $180 million.


OMGPOP app: Draw Something

Making Success: An Interview with Benny Hsu on How to Hire a Developer


Benny Hsu found success with the app Photo 365. In our last two blog posts, we discussed the steps he took to get there. This blog post features an interview with Benny Hsu, explaining how a person with no computer training can hire a developer.

What were you doing before you created the app? What inspired you?

I had my breaking point after a horrible night at my miserable job. For the past five years, I’ve wanted to do something I loved instead of working in the family restaurant business.

That night I came home and wrote a note to myself to stop living like this. I needed to start finding what I wanted to do with my life. I needed to do that every day until I did. No more complaining. No more excuses.

How did you narrow down the selection process for finding a developer?  Did you have help?

I narrowed them down by looking at reviews left by past clients. If I saw any bad reviews, I would eliminate them. Then I looked at their portfolio. I wanted to see what type of apps they had worked on before. I also was looking for a graphic designer and developer together so I would look at how the apps looked. I wanted someone who designed the way I wanted the app to be.

It took several months to get this app developed. What were some of the hurdles with the developers?

Just communication between us would be slow sometimes. Since we just communicated by email, it took longer. Also at a point in the middle, I got a bit lazy and would take longer than usual to respond. That was my fault though.

Also, I just wanted to make my money back. I spent $1892 on the app, plus $99 to sell my app through Apple, and then $10 on the theme. Rankings of your apps are based on downloads. It updates every couple hours. I wanted at least to break even.

When you presented your app project did you just have a raw idea, or did you have mock ups or app drawings you created? 

I gave my developers a wireframe of how I wanted my app to look. I had all the features I wanted to add in. You have to know what you want. They can give you suggestions, but to begin you have to know what features you want. You have to be clear about each button and what it’ll do. How many screens will you need? It’s important so they know how you want the app.

You had a family member in design, did they help with the “look” of the product?  If no, was it more you or a creative development team? 

No my brother, who is a designer, didn’t have any input in the look of the product. It was just between me and the graphics department. They would send the design and get my approval and suggestions.

What suggestions (on the development side) do you have for our readers who want to get an app made?

I would say if they say it’ll take a month, expect it to take longer. Also when you’re interviewing potential clients, find out how their communication is. Do they take days to write back? If so, maybe they’re not that interested in working with you. But don’t pick the team that responds fast either. Also remember that they work for you.  You hired them. You’re the boss. So if you two have a disagreement about a feature on the app, you have to make the final call. In my experience, the development phase was tough, but it’s easy compared to the work you have after your app is released.

But like Thomas Jefferson said,

“I’m a great believer in luck, and I find the harder I work, the more I have of it.”.

You have to take action. No matter how much I read about creating an app, nothing was going to happen if I didn’t take action.


Benny’s App: Photo 365

Benny’s Blog: Get Busy Living


Photo 365: How He Did It


In our last blog post we discussed Benny Hsu, and how he found success with the app Photo 365. With proper research and hard work, Hsu released an app that grossed over $6,000 within 11 days. Today, we’re going to discuss how he did it, and how you can do it too.

How He Started 

Benny got the idea for Photo 365 from an app he was currently using. From the very beginning, he knew he could improve it. However, he didn’t know any coding. After reading the book How to Make iPhone Apps With No Programming Experience, he realized that he could outsource the project. He hired contractor’s via, and took his time choosing the perfect team.

 Creating Photo 365 

Hsu began by creating the Graphical User Interface (GUI), a kind of user interface that allows users to interact with the iPhone using images, rather then text. He sent notes to his contractor’s describing how he wanted the app to look and function. Afterwards, they would send back the finished product. Hsu felt amazed with the result.

Next came the coding. During this process, Benny’s contractor’s would send him videos demonstrating the work they had done so far, until the app was ready to be tested on the iPhone.

Throughout the entire process, Hsu communicated with his contractor’s via e-mail. The process took a quite a bit longer then he expected, but he was happy with the result. The total cost was $1,892, but the payout was well worth it.

 Marketing Photo 365

Benny created a Twitter and Facebook fan page before Photo 365 was released to build excitement for the project. He also created a webpage, and became a reader for the forum iPhone Dev SDK.

Once he released Photo 365, most of the marketing began on its own. He immediately received e-mails from various app blogs that wanted to write a review of Photo 365.

Hsu believes that releasing his app on a Thursday greatly contributed to his downloads. He read that releasing the app on a Wednesday or Thursday is best, because most app downloads occur over the weekend. It worked. From Thursday-Sunday, his app was downloaded 1,325 times.

 Stick around for part three on Sunday to read an interview with Benny Hsu!


Benny’s App: Photo 365

Benny’s Blog: Get Busy Living

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