Experimenting with InOut 7.0

InOut, our flagship hackathon, which we've been organizing since 2015, has always been very close to our hearts. This time round we're trying out a series of experiments that we believe can have an outsized impact eventually.

Experimenting with InOut 7.0

InOut, our flagship hackathon, which we've been organizing since 2015, has always been very close to our hearts. Devfolio arose out of InOut, and every year we look forward to it to ensure that we can continue doing great things for the builder ecosystem. Like the past five years, we’re trying to push the frontiers of hackathons this year too. COVID couldn't stop us, and we won't let it stop your building either. This time round we're trying out a series of experiments that we believe can have an outsized impact eventually.

Funding for every project

Public goods are defined as "commodities or services that benefit all members of society". It includes roads, dams, and law enforcement, but also open-source software that everyone can use! Incentivizing the private production of public goods has been a long-standing problem in public policy and economics. Currently, efforts in this domain are mainly funded by governments subsidies using taxpayer money or donations from non-profits in the form of grants. However, in both systems, a small set of people ultimately decide what to fund and by how much, which often causes there to be a disconnect between the actual preferences of the public and those of the elite decision-makers.

Quadratic Funding attempts to solve this by taking people's real preferences into account, using micro-grants from the public to understand how useful the project actually is. Once you submit your project at InOut this year, everyone with an internet connection will have the ability to pay & support your project. How much each project receives in support from the public will determine how much they further receive from our $5000 Devfolio Support Fund.

The primary objective is to support and subsidize the further development of projects which are useful to more people but don’t have patrons who can fund it entirely. So the higher the number of people who support you, even with smaller amounts, the more you’ll receive from our fund.

E.g., a project which receives a sum of $500 from 100 patrons, will get MUCH more funding than a project which got the same total of $500 but only from 10 patrons.

For the more mathematically inclined

Many grants, especially in the world of crypto, have already been given out this way, but we haven’t seen much of this in India, and especially not in hackathons. If all goes well, we’ll make this available to all hackathons on Devfolio! So remember, make something not only that people want, but something that a lot of people want.

[If you want to dive deeper into how and why this works, you can start off with Vitalik’s primer on Quadratic Payments here.]

$10,000 grants for top builders

India has many hidden builders; they’re just harder to find amongst the hundreds of thousands of developers we have at any given point. So naturally, hiring and funding are also much harder in India. Our existing university-based credentials might work for some kinds of employers and investors, but it leaves out a great majority of India’s true builders, and they’re the ones we want to focus on. It’s essential to start looking for these people early in their careers since the longer you wait, the harder they are to find, as our society will eventually force them to take the more conventional routes.

Equity-free grants are one of the better ways to incentivize builders to stay true to themselves and continue compounding on their side projects. Grants validate their efforts, nudge them to continue building, and steer clear of the competition omnipresent in Indian society. $10,000 might not be a very big amount, but we think it's enough to cover basic operating costs and opportunity costs (and a little more) for those below 22-year-olds.

More details will be out soon, but long story short, we’re looking for people under 22, with a long term building-orientation, willing to take 6 months out and work full-time on their projects. Apart from the launching capital, we’ll provide you with mentorship, network, and anything else you’ll need to make it count. We’re opening applications in January 2021, and top teams at InOut will get to cut the line and directly skip to the interview stage.

Lightning industry talks

InOut has always been open-track, and teams have always been free to work on whatever they want to, free from restraint and track-specific nudges. And this has had unintended consequences. We’ve seen time and again that young engineers can often get carried away with trends of the bubbles they're part of. This changes at InOut 2020. One common thread running through all our experiments is to incentivize not just building, but the building of things actually useful for a wide audience.

So InOut will still be open-track, but we’ll actively help you explore opportunities across domains. Founders from a wide variety of sectors will give short industry-specific talks — they’ll share their domain knowledge and insights, fill you in on what’s cooking, and help you discover open opportunities to build great things in their space. From agriculture to legal, accounting to manufacturing, and construction to software, we’ll try to cover a broad base of sectors and also expose you to their niche verticals as well.

If you have any recommendations on whom we should invite, or if there are any specific verticals you think are important, and we absolutely shouldn’t leave out, tell us, and we’ll try our best to make it happen.

Hoping to see you and your project at InOut 2020. Apply now!