This past weekend, I participated in the Houston Hackathon along with three of my TopSpot colleagues, Joshua and Brandon from Web Design and Michelle from our Tracking department. What is a hackathon? In short, we had 24-hours to develop an app or a website that would benefit and aid the city and/or the citizens of Houston.
As the food truck industry in Houston is growing, we decided to create a simple, easy-to-use, Houston Certified Food Truck Finder responsive website, where food truck owners could pinpoint their current location at the push of a button, while Houston citizens could find the nearest certified food truck.
“Certified you say?”
Yes, as in, officially certified by the City of Houston. We would achieve this by linking the responsive website to the City of Houston’s Garrison database and match the food truck’s account ID when they create a profile to the account IDs in the City of Houston Health and Human Services Department’s Last Facility Inspection Report. If the food truck is not certified, the owner will not be able to create an account. Food truck owners would need to possess a score of 3 or higher on their latest inspection to be displayed in the search results. That would allow the site to display only the food trucks with stellar inspections to the citizens of Houston.
“Winning’s not everything”
Alas, we did not win Houston’s First Hackathon. However, we met cool, talented and creative developers and City of Houston officials. While talking with another participant of the Hackathon, we realized that objective was not for TopSpot Internet Marketing to win, but for the City of Houston to be recognized as a technologically advanced city. Why does Austin have an Apple and Facebook office and not Houston? We need to show the nation that have the means and brains to be – who knows? – the next Silicon Valley.
“There’s always next year…”
…and we’ll be there, ready to take on the challenge and make new friends. This was such a fun experience that I am looking forward to the next Houston Hackathon, and see what we, as Houstonians, will come up with next.