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about 5 years ago

IoTHackDay Throwback: How To Build a Kick-Butt Team For IoTHackDay

Greetings IoTHackDay Pioneers!

This is a quick message from the IoTFuse team about IoTHackDay.  We know that people are busy organizing their teams and getting things ready.  We wanted to send some weekly updates to help prepare.  Please feel free to foward this on to others who are considering joining your team or the hackday in general.

Info about the hackday can be found at and


Here's a little excerpt from some of the discussion that was going on back in 2015 on the IoTHackDay submission, "Colosus" by Ken Chang.  Great advice for aspiring team-builders.

Hopefully this is helpful for people who are putting together teams and looking to build cool stuff!

How to Build A Kick (Butt) Team

I noticed that the Colossus project is cited as an example for how to recruit a team, and seeing how some teams need help recruiting--this is a quick guide to how I like to put together my teams for every project that I am involved with--I work hard to build successful projects and teams, and this guide works out well for my projects. Also please note that the only wrong step you can do is to not actively try to recruit team members.

A-Players are the-best-of-the-best-of-the-best. I really believe that A-Players like to work with other A-Players. They like the energy of solving complex problems and tasks. They feed off of the feedback and interplay between each other. A-Players tackle problems and have a ton of fun at solving problems. This isn't to say that A-players don't make mistakes or have bad days/etc.. Or that all A-Players get along with each other swimmingly--rather A-Players have a mutual working respect for one another and bring other A-players to the team. At times A-Players agree to disagree-but when under pressure they can collaborate well enough together to come up with an innovative solution or creative answer.

The first step I did to recruit A-players was figure out which skill sets I needed badly--since I'm a front end designer--I didn't contact every A-Player that had a front end design background. I also didn't contact A-Players who I thought would submit projects--since this would seem sort of embarrassing--actually quite a few A-Players I had contacted also submitted projects in for IoT Hackday a few days after I had contacted them :) So it's totally okay to contact people you'd love to work with--call them personally or send out a personal email to A-Players and tell them about the IoT Hackday competition.

If you are a shy guy like me--write a personal email--if you've met the person before--write a reminder about where you have met them before--maybe you met them at the same MeetUp group. If you've never met the person before tell them about your project and why you think they would like to join your team. If you know the person pretty well--set up a meeting with them--a phone call or meet up in person over lunch/coffee/etc... and talk to them about your project. Thinking about this a little more--tell everyone about your project too! Helpful people can put you in touch with other people who have the same interests.

Don't be afraid of rejection--as the worst thing someone can say is--"No." And hearing "No" isn't totally devastating in real-life. For example, at college I remember that my term papers would be docked to a "C" if the cover page was crumpled in my backpack by accident or a "D" if the professor didn't like my paper--real-life is totally different--banks take my accidentally crumpled client checks (I know same bad habit from college of shoving papers into my laptop bag) with a big smile on their faces and they would always tell me "Thank You for your Business." Also, for every client that didn't like an idea we had--there would be at least 2-3 other clients who would kill for that same idea--and when they saw how we executed that idea for our other clients--there would be a 30% chance that we'd come back to implement an originally rejected idea. Embrace rejection--a running joke in the advertising business is that, "We've been thrown out of better buildings than this one."

If you are leading a team--you really, really need to like people. This is sort of a problem in the tech field--some tech guys lack social skills or they really have a casual disregard about other people's feelings. To lead a team of A-Players--you have to love working with people and care greatly about them.

If you aren't a team captain and are looking to sign up for a team--please let me know-I know that we're a large team and we can work things out to make things work out-I'd love to have you on the Colossus Project!


If you have any questions about the hackathon, please post on the discussion forum.