Kristian Ivanov

@k_ivanow

Participating in Product Hunt Global Hackathon — Days 1 to 11

Intro — I am a huge fan of journaling ever since I read Tim Ferriss book Tools of Titans. There are several types of journaling that lead to different results. There are several articles here on Medium that address journaling as well, for example: Why Keeping a Daily Journal Could Change Your Life, A New Kind of Journaling and others. I am fan of journaling morning after waking up and before going to sleep, just to filter all of my thoughts. The moment I put them on paper they seem more easily controlled. The moment I put them on paper I am able to distance myself from them and keep a clear head. I plan on writing a series of short articles (this one will be a bit longer) in the form of a journal on what am I doing in the hackathon.

Intro 2.0 — I wanted to write an article about how awesome it was to be part of the making of Product Hunt’s book — How to Build a Career in Tech but some trips and other things got in the way of that idea. Maybe if there is another book, I will write about it. Since I missed that opportunity I decided to document what I am doing for the hackathon daily, before I miss this as well.

Day 1 — Comming up with the idea

I signed up for the hackaton the moment I saw it. It is a great opportunity to build something awesome, test Product Hunt’s Ship, meet with other awesome guys that are making interesting projects and probably another 10000 things. However I had no idea what I wanted to do.

On day 1 the first deliverable was introduced — we had to come up with project name, pitch and create landing page. I still had no idea in the slightest what I was about to do for the hackaton but I had to submit the deliverable — preferably as soon as possible. After some solo brainstorming I came up with what I wanted to do. I am often searching for something that leads to a veeeeeery long wikipedia or another website article that has a lot of information, very little of which is about what I am looking for. I’ve also ben interested in AI and ML from a few years now. When you put those two together you get — AI Platform that researches and summarizes any topic for you.

The name however proved problematic. I have the habit of naming some of my project by the names of gods from different mythology. However all gods that are connected even remotely to “knowledge” were “taken” by AI projects. After brief searching I found a slavic deity that is also associated with knowledge — Gamayun. Since Gamayun is a bird with human head that allowed me to make some cool animations, heading and so on.

The domains including Gamayun however were taken. So I stopped on birdofknowledge.com since this is essentially what Gamayun is. I purchased the domain.

Within the first 5 hours I came up with what I wanted to do, the name and bought the domain.

This was for day 1.

Day 2 — Creating twitter handle

I didn’t have much time on the second day so I Just made email and twitter account for the project. You can tweet to it here — @BirdOfKnowledge

Day 4— Making a simple website

I suck at making websites. A lot. So I searched for free templates and found out OS Templates. A template caught my eye, but it was still different from what I wanted. I downloaded it and started deleting everything that I didn’t need. I needed a very simple front page and a few other pages for about, user control and feedback. After a lot of deleting I had a web page that seemed to be good enough for then.

Days 5,6,7 — Looking for library for creating summaries

I spent a few day looking for a ready solution to this problem. I tested at least 10 websites, including — SMMRY, Text Summarizer, Online Summarizer Tool and several others. I looked into every library on github andrandom forums that had tried to tackle summary generation. None of them were what I was looking for and none of them were easy to understand.

Day 9 — Making my own library for making summaries

I gave up and wrote my own library for the problem I had. It took about an hour for the initial version. After a few days, in which I tweaked it in between other tasks, the class that handles everything about summaries, shortening of texts, evaluation and so on is still less than 100 lines of code!

It is very likely that there are better solutions out there. However having my own library has a few benefits — I know the code and I can easily customize it and maintain it. Especially if I compare it to a ready solution from somebody else. It can also be tailored to do exactly what I want.

Day 10 and 11 — Getting ready for the second deliverable

The second deliverable required that makers had to show the progress of their products and engage the community. Most people shared an early version of the product and I decided to do the same. So I started working on the front page. Once I was satisfied I focused on the summaries and fixed those as well. Then I added an about page and a page for feedback gathering, which was a simple Typeform. After doing all of those things I decided that it would be nice to see a random, summarized search on the front page, so I made a simple model and controller for this. I tested everything and decided that it was good enough for an alpha version. I didn’t notice that it was almost 5A.M. I sent a message to all of my subscribers and went to bed.

Day 12 — start of journaling

After coding for more than 10 hours straight last night, I decided to just fix a few of the reported bugs, see what it would cost me to make Gamayun a Slack bot and start this jorunaling.

Prologue

Some days are not included because I have a 9 to 5 job and I don’t manage to code every day for the hackathon.

The project can be found here — http://birdofknowledge.com/

Currently it looks like this:

If you are a participant in the hackathon I would love to hear your impressions of the hackathon and this article and whether or not our journeys so far had anything similar.

And of course anyone is more than welcomed to subscribe for Gamayun here — https://www.producthunt.com/upcoming/gamayun, test it, tweet to it and whatever else you can think of :)

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