In just a few hours, RailsRumble 2013 starts and everyone is getting excited. Here at Koombea, we encourage and have a lot of teams participating in this competition. If you’re new to Rails Rumble, let me give you a run through. Teams consisting of 1-4 designers and developers compete to build a Minimal Viable Product (MVP) within 48 hours. Little sleep is slept, and large amounts of coffee and those controversial energy drinks are consumed. Let the fun begin!
I interviewed some team members about what it’s like to be a part of RailsRumble, what they learned from previous years, their uncanny advice to someone who is starting the competition for the first time, and most importantly their caffeine schedule (beginners take note.)
The absolute, most exciting thing
For developers and designers, RailsRumble is enormous amounts of fun. They get competitive, innovative, and a family-type bond forms. That feel-good anxiety is one we’ve felt before, but they don’t stop feeling it for exactly 48 hours. Miguel Perez, our Technical Lead says with excitement, “It is always exciting to participate in the RailsRumble contest. As time goes by you learn a lot of things and it is a great experience to put yourself at test and check how well you can manage to overcome your obstacles.” Testing yourself is such a great individual check-up. Luis says, “it’s simply the team atmosphere, we get to create a product while having fun.”
Mistakes learned from
If you’re trying to build an app within 48 hours, you’re going to run into problems. The key is to having the right strategy in advance. Luis Hernandez says, “We spent 3 months in advance trying to decide and build upon our idea, the MVP,” he continues, “There was one thing we learned last year that we don’t want to repeat again. We can’t spend extra time on features that we don’t really need. You need to focus on your main goals and complete the MVP just in time.” Miguel agrees and puts it simply, “ Focus, minimize, and collaborate. It is important to be relaxed and focus on the ultimate goal. Be patient and use your time wisely, you don’t have much of it.”
Advice for the newcomer
Carlos Montoya, a Junior Designer, is brand new to RailsRumble 2013. I asked him, “How are you feeling right now?” He responded, “I’m really excited and nervous at the same time. This is my very first Rails Rumble experience and the fact that we have to build an app in 48 hours and compete with other people around the world is fantastic.”
Since Carlos is new to the competition, what advice does he need to know? Luis suggests, “Try to find the best way to organize your tasks, and focus on the end goal. This year we are going to establish partials goals for us to complete in advance, hour by hour.” It seems like creating and finishing partial goals helps to finish the end goal. Miguel chimes in, “ Don’t build a huge app. Think always “what would the judges do?” They only have 2 or 3 minutes to look at your app and have 499 more entries to review. “
Caffeine and beverage schedule
It seems like Miguel and Luis have the strategy down when it comes to beverage intake.
Miguel literally has a complete and concise schedule:
- The competition starts at 7 pm.
- 7 p.m.- 3 a.m. -3 cups of coffee, and then finish with a beer.
- 7a.m.-noon. 1-2 more cups of coffee.
- Noon- 30 minute rest time.
- 12:30 p.m.-12 a.m. – 2 Redbulls
- 5 a.m. One more coffee for good luck.
Luis’ advice, “I prefer Jack Daniels.”
As you read this blog, more time has gone buy, and now you are ever closer to the competition. Good luck teams! See you at the finish line.
Luis Hernandez, Senior Designer, @foxtropical
Miguel Perez, Technical Lead, @chopi
Carlos Montoya, Junior Designer, (too cool for Twitter)