entrepreneurship, Experience, Experiment, Failing, Focus, hackathon, hustle, Improvement, IT, Learning Lessons, Technology, Trying, Zoning

Why Hackathons Are Awesome: Hacking Detroit’s Zoning Code

For the last two months, I participated in a monthly hackathon event called the Detroit Civic Hackathon (next one is November 12!). These were the first two installments of what is becoming a monthly event that originated from a monthly happy hour meet up called The Detroit Urban Tech Meetup.

These past two events were great! The past few days I reflected on why these two hackathons were awesome.

Focus On Your Passion

First, hackathons are awesome because they enable a large amount of dedicated focus. In my day-to-day work, I do not spend more than 2-4 hours focused on something, unless I am working outside of the normal 9-5 business hours – I get interrupted way to often. Hackathon’s are special because they allow you to block out the world and spend deliberate time working on whatever problem you are trying to solve.

In addition, hackathons harness this focus on your passion. For me, I am passionate about learning new technology and cities. In this case, I am learning JavaScript and the React library and trying to understand/solve a problem related to city zoning (more on this soon). This hackathon’s theme is cities, but other hackathons may be more open or have a different theme. Either way, I suggest trying a hackathon that aligns to something you are passionate about.  

Engaging Problem

For these past two hackathons, I was excited to be taking on a problem that was challenging and exciting to me – zoning codes. Zoning is something you may not think about but impacts the way many cities in the US are currently laid out. For example, zoning laws usually prevent a strip club from being built or operating next to a middle school (crude example but I think it makes the example very clear). In general, zoning regulates a city and town’s land use by permitting or prohibiting certain uses based on the zoning codes.

One problem is that most zoning ordinances are not easily accessible. Zoning laws and ordinances can be hundreds of PDF pages long and each zone can be extremely hard and sometimes costly to understand. This is Detroit’s Zoning ordinance – it’s a light read 😜.

Our idea, spearheaded by a guy who was passionate about this topic, is to help make this information easier to access and digest. Our idea is to create basic website that helps take this information out of the PDF and puts it into a more user-friendly web format.

Great People

The last major reason hackathons are awesome is because of the people you meet. Each event I met new and passionate individuals. Some of them are working on this zoning project, others have their own interests and projects. I met a data scientist who works at Ford but is from the Middle East where he used to be banker. I met an MIT graduate who engineered autonomous vehicles for a company that was purchased by Ford. I met a transit advocate who does design work for the Regional Chamber. Lastly, Jimmy, the guy spearheading this idea, works for the city of Detroit. He is a huge city, transit and do the right thing advocate. Also, he is a talented web engineer. It is always great to be surrounded by people that want to do great things and in an area that you are passionate in.

Try One and Check Out Our Project!

These are three reasons I believe hackathons are awesome. I participated in several of them over the years and I love focusing on learning, working on things I am passionate about and meeting great people along the way. I strongly recommend you try a hackathon to see what it is like. If you have similar or different thoughts, let me know! I’d love to hear what you think.

PS – Jimmy made some great updates yesterday and this project is already leaps and bounds exceeding my expectations. Check it out here: Zoning Guide Detroit

Group getting ready for the Inaugural Detroit Civic Hackathon in September 2019

entrepreneurship, Flipping, Goals, Hard Money, hustle, Hustle Estate, Improvement, Leadership, Learning Lessons, Purchase, Real Estate, Rehab, success, Technology

Hustle Estate – Flipping Homes 101 – Ep 5

Flipping Homes 101 – Ed and Isaac walk through the overall process it takes to flip a home. Ed talks about where he buys homes from, what to think about when looking to flip a home and how to get a hard money loan.

Feel free to reach out with questions or comments on Twitter/Instagram (@HustleEstate) or send us an email HustleEstate1@gmail.com

Happy hustling!


Music – Showtime by Artlss – https://www.melodyloops.com/tracks/showtime/

entrepreneurship, Experience, hustle, Hustle Estate, Leadership, Learning Lessons, Real Estate, Technology, Tools, Uncategorized, Vision

Hustle Estate – Buying Your First Home – Ep 4

Questions or comments – reach out to us!
Twitter/Instagram – @HustleEstate

Looking to buy your first home? We have some practical tips to help you find the home of your dreams. Both of us share our experiences buying our first homes (multifamily and condo). When we started looking, we had some ideas of what we wanted, but after we made our purchases we learned a lot more. Learn from us so you don’t repeat some of our mistakes.

Happy hustling!