As a company we have put a stake in the ground over our commitment to innovation and discovering through developers around the world what that “next big thing” will be. This is the reason for the creation of the MasterCard Masters of Code Competition- a global series of hackathons being held in 12 cities this year. From Sydney, Australia to Silicon Valley, our Open API team is meeting some of the world’s best coders, designers, programmers, start-ups, or just inventive folks who want to be part of making the world, a better, safer, more convenient, smart and fun place.
Larry L. lives in Yuen Long, about 15 miles from the event. The MTR subway goes out there, but it takes more than an hour. Many people in Hong Kong don’t think of themselves as being part of China, and Larry boasts that he “can see China from his house.” Larry enjoys hackathons, goes to them when possible, and knows many of the people at this event. His expertise is in FinTech and business development. He cited the big prize ($100K for the entire event series) as a significant draw for himself and others. He also thinks its responsible for the palpable feeling of high energy at the start of the event. He’s interested to see if that can be sustained to the end – he thinks it will be. He hasn’t joined a team yet, but expects he will probably be invited to lend a hand before the event ends. Larry plans to stay the course, and grab a few hours’ sleep in the “decompression room” – a bean-bag filled room, without laptops or phones, dedicated to people who want to take a nap. Larry’s personal philosophy is all about keeping your eyes on the future, and keeping moving forward.
Jaclyn and Eugene are (with 3 others) co-founders of Altitude Labs – a Hong Kong-based software consulting start-up, 11 months old, and with 10 employees. Jaclyn is a developer/product manager, and Eugene is a developer. The co-founders met while studying in San Francisco. This event is a bit of a “busman’s holiday” for them, meaning they work on software all week, and sometimes attend hackathons at the weekend for fun. They are part of a team of five at the hackathon, all from Altitude labs. Jaclyn is interested in encouraging more women in technology – half the talent pool in the world. The team started with four ideas for the hackathon, and debated the pros and cons at great length. Then one of the team members pitched a fifth idea, and everyone quickly got behind it. Jaclyn and Eugene live near each other, about 3 miles from the event. “We could have come here by bicycle” laughed Jaclyn, adding “If it wasn’t so hilly!” They liked the challenge and the atmosphere at the event but Eugene commented that some of the sample apps in the Developer Zone don’t convey the “big picture” of what an API family does, and some flow diagrams with written descriptions would help developers get it. Jaclyn said the team had some difficulty reconciling the mission statement of this event “Innovation using commerce technology to connect people around the world” because financial APIs connect businesses more than people. We appreciated their constructive criticism. In the end, they developed a pretty compelling solution utilizing the MasterCard APIs and were ready to present on Sunday. Part of their background preparation was to review the Sydney event, look at the winning entry, and review the APIs.