After hacking finishes, teams will show their projects to each other and to the judges.

You are strongly encouraged to present a demo of what you have built. Pitches or presentations are discouraged. You are not judged on the quality of your pitch or the quality of your idea. As you are judged on what you built, you’ll only hurt yourself by not showing a demo.

You are encouraged to present what you have done even if your hack is broken or you weren’t able to finish. It’s okay if you didn’t finish your hack—that happens all the time! Completion is only one part of the judging criteria, so you might still do well. Also, demoing is not just about the competition. It’s a chance to share with others what you learned and what you tried to build. In the case that you don’t have anything to demo, you can give a presentation about what you tried and what you learned. Hearing what other people learned is interesting and inspiring for other attendees.


Judging Criteria

Teams will be judged on these three criteria. Judges will weigh the criteria equally. During judging, participants should try to describe what they did for each criterion in their project.

  • Technology: How technically impressive was the hack? Was the technical problem the team tackled difficult? Did it use a particularly clever technique or did it use many different components? Did the technology involved make you go “Wow”?
  • Design: Did the team put thought into the user experience? How well designed is the interface? For a website, this might be about how beautiful the CSS or graphics are. For a hardware project, it might be more about how good the human-computer interaction is (e.g. is it easy to use or does it use a cool interface?).
  • Completion: Does the hack work? Did the team achieve everything they wanted?


These criteria will guide judges but ultimately judges are free to make decisions based on their gut feeling of which projects are the most impressive and most deserving.

It’s important to note that these judging criteria do not include:

  • How good your code is. It doesn’t matter if your code is messy, or not well commented, or uses inefficient algorithms. Hacking is about playing around, making mistakes, and learning new things. If your code isn’t production ready, we’re not going to mark you down.
  • How well you pitch. Hacking is about building and learning, not about selling.



We’d like to thank MLH & TADHack who’s rules contributed heavily to the above.