Podcast: A Tech Nonprofit Harnesses Hackathons for Good

When Jake Porway attended his first hackathon, he came away depressed. There he was, surrounded by some of the brightest minds in data science, with 48 hours to create something great, and “what people built were … apps to go find local deals,” he recalls. “Or someone made some app that was an improvement on helping you organize your iTunes library. … It felt to me that they just needed a channel to bring that towards social-impact causes.” From that experience grew DataKind, a nonprofit that connects social-change organizations with top technologists on a pro-bono basis for hackathon-like sessions. The goal is to put advanced analytics and algorithms — the kind of programming and modeling techniques companies like Netflix and Twitter use to maximize profits — to work on making a better…


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