Is this event for me?

If you are interested in design thinking and in helping UNC-TV be the best public media resource for North Carolina, then the answer is yes! Technical people (developers, coders, designers), business people (marketing, finance, law), and other students or professionals who simply have an interest in improving UNC-TV are welcome. Whether you’ve been to hackathons before or are new to the concept, if you are creative and interested in public media, please come.

Do I need to participate all three days?

Yes. The weekend is designed for teams to tackle problems or create new opportunities and spend the weekend together designing elegant solutions. It’s part of the fun!

How are teams created?

Based on our registrants, we’ll create teams with a mix of interests, skills and experience. Those teams will have roughly 40 hours to work together to develop and pitch a concept to improve UNC-TV. Mentors and media experts will provide expertise to teams.

Do I have to be on a team?

Participation in a team is baked into the design of the program. You’ll either join in with other individuals to create a mix of interests, skills and experience, or you and your friends can sign up as a ready-made team on the registration form.  There will be plenty of folks—probably the majority of people—coming as single participants, so don’t be afraid you’ll be left out.

How long will teams have?

Teams will have roughly 40 hours to work together to develop and pitch a concept to improve UNC-TV.

What are the accommodations for the event?

Attendees are responsible for booking their own transportation and lodging (if needed). The event will be held in downtown Durham at American Underground at Main, 201 W Main St, Durham, NC 27701.

What should I bring?
  • Laptop
  • Power cord
  • Business cards
  • Camera – please share pictures on social media
  • Optional: A second monitor, keyboard, etc…. anything that will help you be productive.
  • Lots of creative energy!
How do I prepare?
What is design thinking?

Design thinking is a formal method for practical, creative resolution of problems and creation of solutions, with the intent of an improved future result. In this regard it is a form of solution-based, or solution-focused thinking – starting with a goal (a better future situation) instead of solving a specific problem. By considering both present and future conditions and parameters of the problem, alternative solutions may be explored simultaneously.

What is a hackathon?

Hackathons started in the tech world. Large numbers of people gathered for an event, typically lasting several days, to engage in collaborative computer programming. Now, the term has been expanded to include a wide variety of issues and ideas. Hackathons have been held for education, for businesses, and for causes as a way to examine and improve existing structures.


What types of ideas can I pitch?

Any idea to make UNC-TV a cutting edge 21st century public media resource are welcome. Some may be mobile or Web focused, but others need not be so technical.

Can I pitch more than one idea?

The best strategy is to start with your best idea first. Then, if time permits, you may be able to present another idea.

Do I have to pitch an idea to attend?

No, but you’ll probably be surprised how easy it is. Pitches are typically only one minute and provide a good opportunity to speak in front of a supportive and engaged audience.

I don’t want anyone to steal my idea. What do I do?

If you are really concerned, then pitch your idea without giving away critical information. Then discuss ground rules with your team. However, you’ll probably find that the advantages of getting input and help from a diverse group of people far outweighs the risks of someone stealing your idea.

What if my idea doesn’t get selected?

If your idea isn’t selected, simply join another team.


Can I pay at the door?

There will be computers at the event that you can use to register at the last minute.  So please come.

What is the refund policy?

Partial (half) refunds are available until 72 hours before the start of the event. Contact and you will receive a reply within 5 business days.

Is my registration/ticket transferrable?

No, we are sorry but tickets are not transferrable.


What is the run down for Friday, Saturday and Sunday?

Friday, April 15, 2016:

6PM – Registration, supper from Tobacco Road, free wine and beer, live DJ.

7PM – Program begins.

7:50PM – 8:05PM – Pitches.

8:05PM – 8:30PM – Voting and choosing teams.

8:30PM – 9PM -Close up shop for the day.  Registrants can go to Mike Rugnetta’s free meet and greet at the rooftop bar of The Durham Hotel.

Saturday, April 16, 2016:

8:30AM – Building opens, breakfast brought it by Jason’s Deli.

9AM – Breakfast served.

10AM – 10:30AM – Short presentations from UNC-TV management.

10:30AM – 2PM – UNC-TV staff rotate to all teams answering questions.

11AM – 4PM – Mentors rotate among teams.

12 – 1PM – Lunch from Jason’s Deli.

2 – 5PM – Snacks available.

3PM – 3:30PM – Meet-and-greet with PBS costume character Sid the Science Kid.

3:30PM – 4PM – Break for Sid.

4PM – 4:30PM – Sid the Science Kid part 2.

6PM – Supper from Jason’s Deli.

9PM – Close up shop for the day.

Sunday, April 17, 2016:

8:30AM – Building opens.

9AM – Breakfast served.

12PM – 1:30PM – Lunch served – food trucks – Porchetta and Joe’s Hog Dogs.

1PM – 1:30PM – Tech check.

1PM – People arriving for Mike Rugnetta and presentations.

1:30PM – 2:15PM – Presentations (in random order).

2:15PM – 2:45PM – Special PBS guest speaker: Mike Rugnetta.

2:45PM – 3:15PM – Winners announced; trophies given out, final remarks.

3:15PM – Event over.

Am I expected to work late hours?

No. In general, you will need to be working with your team while the building is open, 9 a.m.-10 p.m., but anything above and beyond that is not expected.

What resources/assistance is provided over the weekend?

Coaches and mentors are an invaluable part of a hackathon. Experts from the community and UNC-TV volunteer their time to help teams achieve their goals. You’ll enjoy interacting with these leaders and gleaning their insights.

Meet the Mentors:

Vicki Hamilton:
Vicki Hamilton is a Senior IT / Operations Executive who comes up with new IT strategies to take care of old workplace problems. An award winning technology executive with over 20 years of senior level experience, Vicki’s strategic, multidisciplinary competencies include conceptualizing, designing and executing innovative technology strategies for high value results ($20M+.)

Recognized three years in a row by CableFAX magazine as one of the “Most Influential Minorities in Cable,” Vicki has been named to the “Top Women in Cable Technology” and “Most Powerful Women in Cable.” In 2013, she found a way to give back by launching the mentoring initiative, The Wright Answer, a global online match making mentoring program for women from college through retirement found at

Richard Bobholz:
As Senior Managing Attorney at Law Plus Plus, Richard focuses on the individualized needs of his clients. He provides peace of mind to small business owners by ensuring that they’re protected from unforeseen liabilities while still producing legal products that are easy to read and comfortable to work with. A strong advocate for plain English contracts and easy-to-use services, he is a great choice for business owners when looking for a legal partner to help them protect and grow their businesses. Richard developed the EasyFee, a flat rate legal services menu.

With proven success, Richard continues to offer small business law products and guidance to those around him whose needs are as unique as the people they come with. Richard constantly seeks to offer a service and a relationship that eliminates hassles and adds immense value.

As for what Richard’s clients should expect, the consultations are free. Law Plus Plus has over 50 items that are flat rate instead of hourly. The primary goal is to make the legal system easier to understand and work with, and Richard is constantly looking for other ways to make all legal matters less stressful.

In the first three years, Richard and his firm have helped over 200 clients and helped countless more with their businesses.

Dragana Mendel:
As a management consultant and a founder of ANAGARD, LLC, Dragana works with startups to develop their technology commercialization pathway, and with small business owners to develop their growth strategy. Previously, I worked for 15 years as a product manager and software engineer for IBM and Alcatel-Lucent launching innovative new products to the market.

First and foremost, Dragana actively listens to her clients in order to understand their company’s mission, vision and long-term objectives. With intimate understanding of client’s corporate culture, she can then recommend the best solution to their most pressing pain points. She doesn’t end her work with a recommendation, she frequently execute parts of the strategy on behalf of the client.

She has an MBA and MS in Computer Science.

Casey Steinbacher:
Casey is founder and CEO of Casey’s Company which focuses on urban innovation projects and strategy development. Many of those projects are based in Durham and elsewhere in the Triangle while others are more national in focus.  Casey is the former President and CEO of the Greater Durham and Northern Palm Beach Chambers of Commerce.

What are we supposed to have accomplished by the end of the weekend?

While there are no specific requirements in terms of what teams should have accomplished by Sunday, it’s in your best interest to plan your execution around what you’ll be judged for on Sunday:

  • Customer Validation (did you vet your business?)
  • Execution and Design (what did you build?)
  • Business Model (do you have a plan for the future?)

As far as presenting goes, some of the most common presentations include any combination of the following (in no particular order):

  • Wireframes or fully developed website;
  • Mobile Apps (from mock-ups to skeletons to fully functional)
  • Slide decks (Powerpoint, Keynote, Prezi, etc.)
  • Videos (i.e. product demonstrations, etc.)
  • Live product demos
  • Skits
Why is it a competition?

Hackathons are a friendly competition, not cut throat. The pressure of having a deadline and having to present in front of judges helps keep you motivated to do your best work. But it’s nothing to get super stressed out about.


Are teams expected to continue after the event?

No, but some groups may choose to do so. It’s up to you.

Share your experiences afterwards!

Hackathons can be a bonding experience, and we would really appreciate knowing what it meant to you. Please send us an e-mail at We may post selected stories on Facebook or Twitter.


We want everyone to have a good experience, and so we have outlined some rules below.



Judges will evaluate all team projects and award points according to this rubric:

  1. Market fit: Does this solve a real problem? – For consumers/users 10 points.  – For public media/UNC-TV 10 points.
  2. Competitive fit: Does this proposal fit the coming media landscape (e.g., on demand, where/when/how consumers want it)? – 10 points.
  3. Business model: Does this proposal include a well-developed tie back to the economics of public media (e.g., donations from a grateful public)? – 10 points.
  4. Originality: Does this proposal address consumer and public-media needs in a novel, unique or original way? – 5 points.
  5. Practicality: Based on our judges’ knowledge of business, philanthropy and media (particularly public media), is this proposal reasonable and practical? In other words, what do you have to believe in order for the proposal to succeed? – 5 points.
  6. Presentation quality: Was the proposal explained clearly and succinctly? Were team members able to answer questions directly – and consistently (e.g., team consensus)? – 10 points.

All submissions to the UNC-TV Hackathon remain the intellectual property of the individuals or organizations that developed them. By registering, consenting to the terms of the Hackathon, and entering a Submission, however, the Participant agrees that UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon reserve an irrevocable, perpetual, nonexlusive, royalty-free license to use, distribute to the public, and publicly display and perform a Submission in any manner consistent with the mission of UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon.


By submitting a UNC-TV Hackathon Entry or accepting any prize, you represent and warrant the following: (a) you will not submit content that is copyrighted, protected by trade secret or otherwise subject to third party intellectual property rights or other proprietary rights, including privacy and publicity rights, unless you are the owner of such rights or have permission from their rightful owner to post the content and to grant UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon all of the rights granted herein; (b) you will not publish falsehoods or misrepresentations that could damage UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon, Sponsors, or any third party; (c) you will not submit content that is unlawful, obscene, defamatory, libelous, threatening, pornographic, harassing, hateful, racially or ethnically offensive, or encourages conduct that would be considered a criminal offense, give rise to civil liability, violate any law, or is otherwise inappropriate or destructive to UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon ‘s or Sponsors’ brand image or goodwill; (d) you will not post advertisements or solicitations of business; (e) UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon will not be obligated to pay any compensation to, or permit any participation by, any third party in connection with the use, reproduction, modification, publication, display or other exploitation of any of the content that you submit; and (f) the content submitted by you does not contain any viruses, Trojan horses, worms or other disabling devices or harmful code.

By posting or submitting a UNC-TV Hackathon Entry to the Contest (regardless of the form or medium of such content), you hereby grant UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon, without additional consideration, a worldwide, perpetual, irrevocable, non- exclusive right and license, with the right to sublicense, to discuss, publicize, market and otherwise display content derived from or relating to the UNC-TV Hackathon Entry (“Marketing Content”), and to distribute and use such Marketing Content for promotional and marketing purposes (either in the form submitted or in the form of a derivative or adapted work). You understand that you will not receive any compensation or credit for use of your UNC-TV Hackathon Entry, other than the prizes awarded at the end of the UNC-TV Hackathon.


In the event an intellectual property right or other claim is brought against UNC for use of the software, products, or services in accordance with this Agreement, PARTY agrees to indemnify and hold UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon harmless from and against any lawsuit, claim, damage, liability, or expense (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) incurred by UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon as a result of the claim.

In the event a claim is brought against UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon for data or identity loss or appropriation caused by the negligence or willful acts of you, or loss or use of the data for purposes other than as specified in this Agreement, you agree to indemnify and hold UNC harmless from and against any lawsuit, claim, damage, liability, or expense (including reasonable attorneys’ fees) incurred by UNC as a result of the claim. UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon agrees that indemnification is conditioned on the requirement that it (1) give you prompt written notice of such claim, (2) permit you with prior approval of the Office of the Attorney General of North Carolina, to defend and/or settle the claim, and (3) provide all reasonable assistance to you in defending and/or settling the claim.

UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon will be responsible for the conduct of its officers and employees arising out of the performance of this Agreement only to the extent permitted and limited by the laws of North Carolina, including the North Carolina Tort Claims Act, the Defense of State Employees Act, and the Excess Liability Policy administered through the North Carolina Department of Insurance, subject to the availability of appropriations and in proportion to and to the extent that such liability for damages is caused by or results from the acts of UNC-TV, its officers, or employees.


Participant represents and warrants that he or she is the sole author and copyright owner of the Submission, and that the Submission is an original work of the Participant, or if the Submission is a work based on an existing application, that the Participant has acquired sufficient rights to use and to authorize others, including the UNC-TV Hackathon, to use the Submission, as specified in the “Intellectual Property Rights” section of the Rules; and that the Submission does not infringe upon any copyright or upon any other third party rights of which the Participant is aware, and that the Submission is free of malware.

Nothing in this Agreement is intended to prohibit the exercise of fair use, educational and research use, or experimental use by UNC-TV or UNC-TV Hackathon and its employees and agents, as permitted by the statutes and common law applicable to copyrights, patents, and trademarks.


Nothing shall act to limit the statutory rights, responsibilities, or obligations of the Governor or the Attorney General of the State of North Carolina, including exclusive rights regarding representation and settlement of claims, and nothing shall act to impose obligations on UNC for jurisdiction or venue outside North Carolina, waiver of jury trial, acceptance of injunctive relief provisions, or obligations for costs and attorney fees unless ordered by a court of competent jurisdiction.

Didn’t find what you are looking for?