fXs FAQs & General Rules

Cheese & fries! What’s a hackathon? 

noun   informal
  1. an event, typically lasting several days, in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.  “a series of 48-hour hackathons to build new web and mobile services”
  2. (also known as a hack dayhackfest or codefest) is an event in which computer programmers and others involved in software development, including graphic designers, interface designers and project managers, collaborate intensively on software projects.
  3. the American Idol for programmers, these marathon coding competitions have exploded in popularity (Source: The Hackathon Is On: Pitching and Programming the Next Killer App, Steven Leckart, Wired, March 2012)

Here’s what it means to have a hackathon here in Silicon Valley (the hotbed of hackathons) according to AngelHack, “a premier developer marketing agency” specializing in “hackathons and innovation events, where we have thrown over 100 events in 35 cities operating in 25 countries”.

What’s a “GROWTH HACK”?

Traditional “growth hacking” is a technique developed by technology of startups to sell products and gain exposure through user growth. Rather than using traditional marketing to sell existing products, growth hacking is focused on integrating all the disciplines of a lean startup at the point of creation.
Growth hacking is particularly important for startups, as it allows for a “lean” launch that focuses on “growth first, budgets second.”Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, AirBnB and Dropbox are all companies that use growth hacking techniques.
However, the speed of the Internet of things has meant that FashionXStartups’ version is altogether new. Rather than focus on user growth, FashionXStartups is focused on examining the business strategy of any type of startup and hacking it for corporate adoption for EXPONENTIAL growth.

First rule of FxS? Here are all of the rules!

FashionXStartups℠ empowers tech startups, fashion lovers, developers, and designers to organize and build new products and technologies to improve the fashion industry. This means that participating hackathon teams will build technology hardware and software products and services that improve any aspect along the entire value chain: production, manufacturing, ordering,  tracking, distribution, discovery, sharing and purchase.  FashionXStartups Rules provide a transparent view of how our hackathon works so that everyone has equal access and information to achieve your potential, be successful, and enjoy friendly competition building tech hardware and software products. Everyone that follows the rules will be eligible to demo their product and compete for prizes and awards.

1.StartUp Team:  Each team should have an anchoring startup as the beginning point. Before the event starts you will need to submit your existing startup name, location, design, logo, wireframes, idea validation, make digital mockups, programming platform preferences etc. All participants must start building their hacks at the same time Silicon Valley (PST) time  and demonstrate a noticeable shift from the original startup in addressing the Event’s challenges.

*If you are a developer/programmer/designer attending the event, you will need to work with an existing startup or be ready to build from the ground up.  Strut yourself as you work on an existing startup platform or maybe dabble something you don’t normally get a chance during your day job. Rome wasn’t built in a day (and neither were most Silicon Valley stars) and we don’t expect it either but with a good StartUp as the team ‘generator’, we’re expecting some BIG LEAPS in one weekend.

*If you are the founder/CEO/principle/lead of a participating start-up, enjoy the chance to work with and take in ideas from not just the mentors but the developers/programmers/designer hackers. They are not just there to help implement ideas but just so happen to work at some exactly some of the companies you wish you could get to return your call.  Who knows?  A bread crumb here, a conversation over sandwiches there…

2.   Hacking is Good! We expect you to take short cuts by using any tools, techniques, workaround, tricks, gems, and frameworks, to help you build faster and smarter. Use any software language you please, etc.

3.   Take Advantage of API’s For software developers we highly recommend that you take advantage of freely available APIs such as Twilio, Twitter, mashery, Facebook and sponsors, but you are free to use any APIs that you like. There are no constraints on hacking hardware.

4.   FashionXStartups is NOT responsible for any original IPs/inventions.  Individual Teams should be ready to share as they wish within their own teams to ensure successful hack.

5.   Teams can be made of up any size. Each individual can only be a member of one team. Teams will be formed before or after pitches. Participants without a team should utilize the HackerLeague event site to recruit team members or find a team to join others . All teams are expected to be present at the venue during the event in order to participate.

6. Post Your Hack: Once teams are formed post your FashionXStartups hack & presentation (info available to teams at the event).

7. YOLO: You Only Live Once so remember to dive into the moment, take risks, be creative, and have FUN. We can’t wait to see the amazing stuff that you build. Everything from crazy ideas to original ideas all have viable market opportunities. Drive any which way you’d like and we will see YOU at the same finish line!


Back to the main FashionXStartups page!

Why FashionXStartups℠ HERE?

(It’s Silicon Valley, Duh.)

In the land of infamous hoodies & jeans worn past their prime, why Silicon Valley to hack tech for luxury fashion?  To answer this, we hand the mic to ofLeisure’s CLO & Creative Director, Carol Maa.

I have been a life-long resident and worker bee of over 15years based in New York City but in less than 9 months here in Silicon Valley, I have…

-attended 30 hackathons (NYC, SFO and Silicon Valley)

Tagging THE Facebook Wall. At Facebook.
Tagging THE Facebook Wall. At Facebook.

-eaten far more slices of pizza than I’d like to admit

-drank more beers (albeit fancier beers than normal here in craft brew-crazy CA!)

-heard countless comments on how “obvious it looked that I was not from Silicon Valley” (high heels and lipstick is apparently not de riguer but who cares!) and…

Pizza box stacks544714_10151743892854336_627731057_nSchiaparelli Elsa poster

…seen some of the most miraculous solutions built alongside virtual strangers in less than 2 days.

While the majority of fashion brands and luxury retail corporations are headquartered in the big cities of New York, Paris, etc. ,  the “Do-ers” are here.  Nowhere else in the world is there so much entrepreneurial fire, intensity and raw ability to actually DO and build successful startups than here in Silicon Valley.   Not just the goofy, for-fun kind but startups that could shift the fundamentals of our culture and how we engage with each other.

The only problem?

These fantastic, fearless startups were not connecting with the big companies that I’ve always worked on desperate for serious overhauls to address long-term business challenges.  From their glimmering fortress headquarters, these big New York/London/Paris companies were frustrated that the traditional agencies in NYC & San Francisco always seemed to come up empty-handed when asked to solve a fundamental issue facing the entire category.  It was like getting a spray tan when you really needed some serious deep tissue massage. [Sounds like someone’s really living a life ofLeisure out there Silicon Valley–Ed.]

Meanwhile, the startups here were devoting so much time, sweat and tears to create what they thought the ‘market’ needed…only to find out that these big corporate fish had: 1)  moved on from this trend 2) were focused on another aspect of the business building or 3) needed scale that was far bigger than the startups imagined (and MANY more!).  The startups here were constrained by what they knew now as individual consumer without the long vision of 2 or 3 years in advance needed.  They were missing the boat entirely because they also didn’t know how to synch up on the values of these large companies with many years, decades and/or centuries of brand history.

Incubators and accelerators had different interests because they had an equity stake and so they helped somewhat to ramp up/screen through to find the most promising startups.  VCs and corporate development teams at Silicon Valley’s rock stars companies (name-dropping seems silly at this point) also had different objectives when investing/acquiring so they didn’t worry about the nuts & bolts of getting to success, just that the startups had to have a profitability line graph that shot up at the same slope of

I had been sent out to Silicon Valley to identify startups that would solve our corporate clients’ problems back in the big cities but realized that the gap was huge…but not impossible.

This is the time. This is the place.

We will bring the challenges here.

We will translate the problems facing the big Fortune 500 luxury companies.

We will write the requirements that the DOers here need.

We will give the time and place (oh yes, Silicon Valley, it’s time to grow up from pizza and red bull!) to catapult Silicon Valley’s best & brightest startups and IPO rock stars-to-be into the world facing ofLeisure’s corporate clients.

Hope you join us.

(On a personal note,  do please remember us back when—BEFORE you had a $17.5 Billion valuation in Forbes.)

Just a few of the hackathons I attended within the 9 months…


Samsung/Intel Tizen OS Hackathon in San Francisco 2013. Courtesy of Cyrus Lum (@BigHuge)
Samsung/Intel Tizen OS Hackathon in San Francisco 2013. Courtesy of Cyrus Lum (@BigHuge)


Meat Hackathon presented by Food Tech Connect | Photo by Mona T. Brooks
Meat Hackathon presented by Food Tech Connect | Photo by Mona T. Brooks

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