Junction 2023published tagged postmortem
Prior to this November, I hadn’t attended a hackathon or a startup event like Slush. I’ve always kind of wanted to, but never too keenly. My first dip into the blended world of “pöhinä” and “hacker culture” was at Assembly 2016. It was also my only one. Then, one fateful October evening, my best friend asked me to spontaneously form a team with her and try Junction. I responded with a hell yeah. We were on our way to hack the uncertainty. 😎
Our team consisted of two developers, one businessperson and one designer. Nobody knew everyone before the event, but we still worked. We were a team based on vibes. We weren’t there to win but to eat free food and have fun on our own terms. Participation was as non-serious as it can get. Our team was named Systematic Chaos to reflect that.
Applications for Junction 2023 were written very tongue in cheek. I remembered mine being cringe, but after revisiting it back home, I actually found it pretty good. However, it took forever to fill. In addition to the motivational letter, we needed to provide educational history, themes and industries of interest, skills, professional roles, recruitment preferences and more.
We got accepted in a few office hours.
This year we have a huge amount of high quality applicants and you should be extremely proud to be selected amongst the top ones to attend Junction Hackathon.
— Valeriia and the Junction team
Normally I like posting Instagram stories. The ephemerality feels comforting and a lot of people I care about see my stuff. When Telegram copied the feature and I tried it out, so many people were angry. They were getting push notifications of me and seeing me on top of all chats. I don’t know why or where, but I got an idea to act as a hyper excited hacker culture startup enthusiast and post the whole event on Telegram. I even paid for a month of Telegram Premium just for this bit. Words can’t express the ridiculousness of it. And the hate kept coming. Some of my friends got the obvious joke, some didn’t (still baffling). My career ended in a bittersweet notes app screenshot announcing our team’s departure.
Due to purely technical reasons, we didn’t win or even get shortlisted. Our team, Systematic Chaos, is very disappointed with the results.
We need to take a break from the public eye to think about our future. We hope to get some privacy from the hungry press. Autographs are still sold for 2 €/pc.
A special thank you to early investors. All the money is gone.
— Systematic Chaos
I cannot stress how hysterical the event was. The whole weekend was so ecstatic. I was sure we were obnoxious to be around, because we
- took nothing seriously and laughed at every single thing
- ate so much food and snacks oh god we didn’t care about personal limits at all
- brought some Christmas lights and literally shined in every picture
- listened to our own music (first Mylly pyörimään by Kake Randelin and then Losing It by FISHER, on repeat, until it physically hurt)
To everyone’s surprise, we made friends with our neighbors and got compliments for the lights and the music. We also managed to produce something actually good. We wanted to bring Tamagotchi to the 2020s by taking advantage of existing hardware. So, our idea was to create a smartphone application that receives sensor data from a smartwatch, turns it into stats, and visualizes them as a virtual companion on a watch face. This virtual companion – almost a digital twin – inspires children and teens to exercise and stay active.
The pet was called Nakit. Taking care of Nakit is taking care of yourself. It really was a promising idea! The pitch deck was gorgeous. The presentation was informative. The technical demo, well, it is something else. Go see for yourself.
The whole experience was truly systematic chaos. Us being there was ironic, but we genuinely enjoyed it. If my friends are up for it and the organizers let us in, it’s going to be another hell yeah next year.