hackNY featured in today’s WSJ!

Shira Ovide did a great job explaining the hackNY story, including the program’s origins and goals, in today’s Wall Street Journal.
We were glad to see the article focus on the interns, the great work they’re doing, and the exciting time they’re having learning about NYC’s tech startup ecosystem. Tal and Ian and Chris were all featured, along with their host startups, Aviary.com, Bit.ly, and 10gen.com.
"Compared to a traditional job, start-up life is different," said Tal Safran
"Compared to a traditional job, start-up life is different," said Tal Safran
Please stay tuned either here at the blog or via our twitter account for news of summer events and for the fall hackathon, a chance for student-hackers to meet and learn from each other and to hack on the great APIs, datasets, and technologies being generated at NYC startups today.

Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg visit hackNY Fellows: Data, Visualization, and the transition from BigCo to startup

Thursday night was our second official hackNY Fellows’ weekly gathering and another evening of beautiful weather.

I like New York in June
I like New York in June

Hilary, Evan, and Chris got to chat with Fernanda Viégas and Martin Wattenberg of flowingmedia.com, along with Mark Hansen, who is visiting NYC for the summer to spend his sabbatical from UCLA at The New York Times. Afterwards, Martin sat down with the hackNY Fellows to discuss data, visualization, and the exciting transition Fernanda and Martin are making from years at IBM to forming their own (currently two-person) startup.

thanks evan

Fellows learned about how Fernanda and Martin have formed their own path, both in terms of research and their own careers, and saw some great demos illustrating the creativity and hard work that goes behind data science and data visualization.

Martin demoed several visualization projects, including Many Eyes, a tool to empower people to create their own visualizations, and Fleshmap, an exploration of human desire through crowd-sourced data.

Owen Davis of NYC Seed Start was kind enough to let us hold the event at 160 Varick Street, one of NYU-Poly’s three incubators. We also chatted briefly with some of the startups working there late into the evening.

160varickstartups at work

It was a great chance also for us all to compare notes on the fantastic projects going on in each of the Fellows’ respective startups. We’re looking forward to hearing more about the great things they’ll do this summer!

listening to martinfellows thinking great thoughtsgreat thought fuel

hackNY 2010 Fellows kickoff dinner

Last Monday was the first event of the 2010 hackNY Fellows summer program: shakeshack!

Fellows met each other and gathered along with Hilary, Evan, Chris, and Alex Qin — who is helping us keep everything running smoothly — to trade ideas on what topics and speakers they’d be most interested in for the remaining 9 weeks. Conversation, dinner, and weather were great and we hear that the exchange of ideas ran long into the night.

We’re really looking forward to our next meetings and to the great things the Fellows will be doing in their respective startups.


One of the principal goals of the hackNY initiative is to pair as many NYC student-hackers as possible with the tech startups in the growing NYC startup ecosystem. We had over 100 students apply to be interns and over 70 startups apply to host them. Thanks to The Kauffman Foundation, were able to fund twelve students as the 2010 hackNY Fellows, who we personally matched with their host startups, but given the large number of applicants, this approach clearly won’t scale. To help with this we wrote HackMatch to help students and startups identify the best matches based on technological skills and needs.

HackMatch provides for each startup a ranked list of students whose skillset most overlaps with their needs (and conversely for each student). HackMatch is written in python and available FOSS via http://github.com/hackNY/hackmatch, and received an “honorable mention” for its debut at the TechCrunch Distrupt Open Hack Day May 23. Try it out!

HackMatch results were sent on June 2 2010 to students and startups who applied for the internship program. If you applied but didn’t receive results, and would like to be HackMatched, please email [email protected].

We include below a FAQ about HackMatch:

Any key reasons why we couldn’t find a Fellow match? How did selection of the Fellows work?

First we looked through the over >100 applicants and selected a cohort of approx 30 ‘finalists’ that we thought looked like the promising interns;
then we ran hackmatch to identify startups that had technology needs which overlapped with the technology abilities of the students; and
then we manually read over the top-matching startups and made sure that they had “a mentoring environment” (a person to talk to the student-intern-hacker, a project for her or him, and a space to put her or him).

In short, there isn’t a specific reason for any one startup not being matched with a Fellow other than it didn’t survive the above culling process.

Were there more start-ups than the 100+ summer applicants?

There were >70 startups applying, but more students than startups.

What can I expect from HackMatch?

From hackmatch you can expect a list of students who:

  • have consented to have their email addresses released and who
  • are at the top of the list for matching with your stated needs

How many students are on the list?

The email asking them to consent to give out their emails went out May 22. So far (as of May 26), >20 have replied with consent, with more rolling in all the time

Are these students who didn’t apply for hackNY?

No, they all applied to be 2010 hackNY Fellows

Is HackMatch your hackathon product?

HackMatch debuted at the TechCrunch Distrupt Hack Day but is FOSS. Try it out! http://github.com/hackNY/hackmatch

If you have any other questions, comments, or suggestions, please don’t hesitate to let us know.