The Blog

WeekendHacker is a small boutique network for designers and developers currently counting 6581 members. It allows anyone with a project to exchange their skills in exchange for help on that project.
158 projects have been offered help from 600 people so far.

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The Team

Thomas
Creator/Design

Miguel
Backend-Developer

Jazzbo
Front End

kaishin
Illustration

5 Months, 6500 Subscribers & 170 projects later. What's next for WeekendHacker?

In May 2011 on a thursday afternoon (CET) right before I left for Berlin to visit a friend, WeekendHacker came to life.

I had always wanted something like this. A curated network of people who help each other out and trade skills on their small side projects.

So I created it in no time and launched it. The initial mention on HN got around 3000 subscribers in 2 days. I was as I said on my way to Berlin and blessed the mighty technology gods for making it possible from the car, to connect through my laptop and phone and correct the various things that always needs to be fixed when so many people start signing up one something that wasn't mean to support the success.

I decided that I would only allow three types of people. Designers, developers and multi talents. Not because I have anything against other expertise areas but I wanted this network to be a network for people with those skills. People who could at a minimum offer their own skills in exchange for the help they recieved.

But one thing is getting people to subscribe. People sign up to all sorts of things every day and then unsubscribe when they realize it's not for them. Another thing is whether I could get this to work on an ongoing basis.

Would I be overloaded with people who wanted help and no one who wanted to help them? Would the quality of the people who signed up be of good enough quality. Would I get only designers or only developers. What's the spread of the expertise areas and most importantly. Would people be willing to submit interesting projects.

From the beginning I decided to curate the project submissions and the initial contact between people. Because I had launched quickly and so many people signed up it was way beyond the point where I could quickly changes a few things and migrate to a more automated system. After all I am a designer and not a real developer (only a weekend hacker). So that turned out to be quite a task.

And here we are 5 months 6600 subscribers, 170 projects and 600 pledges of help later. And finally the web interface is ready. It isn't perfect. It needs a lot of fixing and adjustments. But we will do what over the next coming months.

We will still send out the newsletter, and if you are already signed up you don't need to do anything if you just want to read the mails. However the benefits of adding a little more information about yourself is that we will then better be able to match projects that needs your skills.

We got a sponsor!

Yes that is right. Someone think WH is a cool community and want to help out keeping it alive. I am happy to announce that we got our first sponsor. Their name is BinPress and is an online marketplace for code components. They are currently running a mobile competition with $20.000 worth of prices. So dust up that old piece of code. Perhaps get some help from some fellow WH designer. Who know perhaps it could be the start of a nice little side business

What's Next

Here is a list of things we want to do over the next coming month. Feel free to get in touch if you want to participate in any shape of form or if you have any suggestions for improvements.

Online Sponsored Hackathons. We have been in contacts with some very interesting startups and already established companies about creating a series of online hackathons. This could be a great way to find some great people to work together with in the future.

Weekend Classes This would be paid courses on any given subject. Limited classes with a teacher for the entire weekend to teach you something new.

WH Project of the Month Let's vote for one project a month that should win for coolest project and win some prices. We are already talking to various sponsors about that.

And many many other plans that we will tell you in the coming months.

Thanks

The revamping of the website was in no small part possible due to the fab help I got from some of you WH peeps. I would especially like to thank

@miguel0020 for all the hard work on getting the backend to work (Symfony2, Postmark, Mailchimp, Amazon EC2)

@hipsterjazzbo for his invaluable help on getting the primary CSS up and running

@kaishin for the fabulous illustrations.

Happy Hacking

If you like what you have read you can follow me on Twitter, read some of my essays, join WeekendHacker or buy FinalTouch. A small app I made.

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