NetSol’s Throwathon – A Review



People tend to think I am a pessimist – quite the contrary, I am very optimistic about changing the world for the better, but to do that you have to start off with pointing out stuff no one is pointing out.


In my earlier post I discussed the two major reasons why Pakistan is still struggling to progress; and my experience at this NetSol event only strengthened my conviction regarding these obstacles to glory.


This May Seem Trivial To Many

Maybe you have had experiences which roughly go like this:


  • Someone throws a bubble gum wrapper on the floor instead of the bin. You voice your opinion disagreeing with the act. The person who threw it, trivializes the act by stating how its just a small wrapper – totally missing the point that its the principle that counts.


  • Or when someone does not give you back your complete change – and says: ” paanch ruppay kee tu baat hai yaar “.


People in Pakistan justify their actions by pointing to the more or less harmless outcome caused by the individual act, while disregarding the long-term consequences of perpetuating a casual indifference to ethical standards.


Yes, this is not your fault. You may find my observation/opinion trivial and benign owing to the culture that surrounds you. But these little subtle parasitic nuances of our social-economic fabric, are eating away at any hope of Pakistan getting somewhere.


So what exactly happened at the THROWATHON?




The experience had its pros, and the team had put in effort to make the event a success. But, the situation has more to do with what did NOT happen. While I appreciate NetSol’s commitment to help budding startups (and they are honestly trying to do just that) , an extremely flagrant contradiction to the essence of the competition was a constant theme throughout the three days.


And this is omitting the strange yet very important fact that a few teams were first rejected in the initial applications, and then called in a day late, when their competition had had a head start –  not very professional! These late joiners were not really compensated . But based on what follows, you will see that the latter was not really relevant anyway.


The Following Is a Simple Explanation Summarizing All That Was Wrong:


The event was described as:

Just like any hackathon competition, participants will have to pitch their ideas which must be related to Technology, Software, and/or Virtual Reality. The winning teams selected will be given three days to build out their ideas utilizing the Throw-a-thon resources provided including guidance from industry leaders, development kits, and startup tools.


The event materialized as:

It does not matter if you are a well established startup bringing a complete product instead of making one at the hackathon, nor does it matter if you have not been present at the venue actually working on something throughout the 48 hours. Furthermore it is completely OK if you just show up with your business and a presentation, we will just select the best startup  that shows up.


The Conclusion:  

                           It was a great startup competition, and deserving teams won who had the best

                              startup. But it was  NOT a hackathon, and in that context, it failed as

a competition.



Am I Missing Something Here?


For the people who were there, I am sure some of them must have had the imagination to seriously ponder on the disconnect between how the event was branded and marketed, and what actually went down. If the NetSol incubator wanted the best startup, why call this entire party a hackathon?


I may be wrong, as any human can be. I had fun. But it was false advertising, and no one seemed bothered to address it. Any one out there care to disagree?






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About gramonwrites

Musician, Computer Scientist, Engineer, Teacher, Blogger, and an Entrepreneur. I am fascinated by life and all the beauty it has to offer.

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