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Posted on Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 4:05 p.m.

It's a marathon (of hacking): Software experts plan 48-hour event in downtown Ann Arbor

By Nathan Bomey

If you run into any bleary-eyed software hackers in downtown Ann Arbor this weekend, don’t be alarmed: It’s all by design.

Ann Arbor entrepreneur Scott Goci is organizing a new two-day event called Hacka2thon, a marathon session of software coding and programming. The 48-hour event, with 36 consecutive hours of hacking) is designed to inject energy and excitement into Ann Arbor’s tech community.

“Michigan and Ann Arbor need things like this to drive the next Google, to drive the next business,” Goci said. “And I want to say it comes out of Ann Arbor, rather than Silicon Valley.”

Goci, inspired by a previous event called Startup Weekend, which showcased local entrepreneurial ventures, said he expects 40 to 60 people to participate in Hacka2thon.

Software specialists will gather in a room at the University of Michigan’s North Quad complex at 4 p.m. Friday with plans to start hacking at 8 p.m. Later in the evening, they’ll shift to U-M’s TechArb, an incubator for student-led companies at McKinley Inc.'s The Offices at Liberty Square. The hacking will continue until 8 a.m. Sunday. Prizes will be offered to the best creations.

The hackers can spend the time creating anything they’d like — say, “a social network for dogs or maybe a text messaging service that tells you when your delivery is in,” Goci said.

“Most of the things that come out of this weekend will be websites and web applications,” he said. “I hope it’s a spark. Maybe they’ll continue on and make it something huge or maybe it’ll just spur them on to more entrepreneurship.”

The event, which is open to the public and costs $15, reflects the kind of entrepreneurial activity that is taken for granted in tech hotspots throughout the country.

The big question, of course, is will the hackers manage to stay awake for 48 straight hours?

“I think most people are going to stay up most of the nights because one, it’s fun, you lose track of time. But two, you really want to build something really great and for that you need a decent amount of time,” said Goci, who has founded a recommendation-based jobs website called Scoople.

Contact's Nathan Bomey at (734) 623-2587 or You can also follow him on Twitter or subscribe to's newsletters.



Fri, Nov 11, 2011 : 4:31 a.m.

Haha, we used to do things like this just for fun. Smart to actually organize it into a competition.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 11:10 p.m.

I'm glad to see something like this. We need more entrepreneurship in Ann Arbor and this seems like a step in the right direction for Michigan.


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:20 p.m.

I would totally be there if I was free this weekend. Count me in for next year! :)


Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:10 p.m.

I saw a flyer for Hacka2thon on campus! Sounds like a lot of fun, but I could never imagine giving up my whole weekend to this kind of thing. If only I weren't so busy...

Bruce Smith

Thu, Nov 10, 2011 : 10:06 p.m.

Looks like a fun event, shame I can't make it. Hope they have more of these in the coming months.