Monday, January 6, 2014

Judge & Jury, Too

TheHackerCIO worked the Hackathon the moment he arrived on Saturday morning.  Not caring too much about it, he barged his way in the door, looking like he knew where he was going, and kind of half hiding from the door-guards, by "drafting" behind a few other, properly registered Hackathon contestants, in much the same way he would have drafted behind a large City Bus with his 10-speed bike, when he was a teenager.

But he didn't want to wonder if he'd ever get back in the door a second time, should he go to the hotel room.

So, after many hours, down to registration he moseyed. "I'm judging this Hackathon," said he to the registration attendants, "And I kind of think I ought to have a badge!"

"Of course," said the very helpful ladies, "So..... let's see .... You're a judge ...."

"And Jury, too," said that funny fellow, TheHackerCIO!

Laughter was apparent at the Registration table.

But isn't there a truth to it?

Why do they always call it a "judge" for some kind of event like this? What is typically done is far closer to the function of a Jury. We had a panel of about 5 judges. We all sat around a table (not quite sequestered, but close), and we recorded our decisions individually, but discussed our scoring internally and argued and convinced each other to reach a set of final verdicts.

As far as the function of a judge, I definitely performed this function to some extent as well. I reminded my honorable fellow jurors of the need to be objective about their "evals." For example, several times business considerations entered into the discussions. And while I'm very sympathetic to using that as a criterion, that wasn't an option. It was not in the "Constitution" of the competition! Only Presentation, Originality, and Execution were our evaluation criteria (Use of AT&T APIs, also was in the list, but was assigned to a separate jury). I had to give the jury instructions on this matter several times. "Business viability is irrelevant," I told them. "It's not one of our evaluation criteria."

It's just an interesting reflection, but that's an important thing to do.

And besides that, I always wanted to be able to say, "I'm judge and jury too." So this posting has been my big chance!

[And for the curious, inquiring minds, that photo is of TheHackerCIO with an M249Saw in hand and a belt of .223 over the shoulder. With that, he could mow down any opposition. It's also, about a $150,000 piece of hardware. This picture was taken at about 11am Sunday, at a well needed break from working the event to go on a shooting party with my family and a Las Vegas colleague (and friend). After the shooting party, came the work of judging the lightening talks. ]

I Reflectively Remain,


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