Students Showcase New Campus Applications

Hack Harvard
Kane Hsieh

Students and computer professionals listen to presenters at the Hack Harvard showcase on Sunday. The event, held in Fong Auditorium, featured 13 student-teams who presented their software designs.

Former CS 50 students packed Fong Auditorium yesterday to show off the crop of applications to emerge from Hack Harvard—an incubator for newly created applications that provided workspace, funding, and training during Optional Winter Activities Week for thirteen student teams to develop applications.

With names like EventPlz, pARTake, and CrimsonSpark, students unveiled applications that do everything from romantically matching students with one another to connecting them with up and coming local artists.

The applications had been launched as final projects for Computer Science 50: “Introduction to Computer Science I” and were further developed during the OWAW program.

“We upgraded security, made it scalable, able to expand to other campuses, and changed the search function,” said Ben L. Enowitz ’12 one of the co-founders of CrimsonSpark, a website designed to bring students together both romantically and platonically.

Christopher K. Lee ’13, co-founder of Harvard College Venture Partners, said the point of the program was to set a tone of innovation for the semester.

“There’s a huge energy at Harvard for launching businesses,” said Lee, whose organization was one of nine organizations that sponsored the programming event.

In addition to showcasing applications, three panelists—representing different sectors of the technological world—discussed the formula for a successful tech startup, such as creating a popular application, finding the right people when creating a company, and marketing.

“Everything that students are working on right now is really valuable. You shouldn’t be afraid to try and fail, because what you make could be really successful,” said Cort E. Johnson, one of the panelists and “Chief Evangelist” of SCVNGR—a location-based game where people can participate in challenges and earn points.

But for Alex Taussig, a partner at venture capital firm Highland Partners, the formula for a successful application is simple.

“It’s all about the ego and laziness,” Taussig said.

—Staff writer Nathalie R. Miraval can be reached at nmiraval@college.harvard.edu.

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