Reflecting on Boston

The fourth installment of our traveling hackathon and speaker series was held in Boston, MA in partnership with Harvard Innovation Lab, along with support from Everyone HacksInterface FoundryHack/Reduce and Oracle Academy.

The weekend event kicked off with a intimate workshop, “How to Rock Your First Hackathon,” for first time hackathon participants to learn ways to successfully contribute to a team using their skills and have fun.

In keeping with the Harvard i-Lab’s theme of entrepreneurship and innovation, Friday evening featured a panel conversation with transgender founders of tech companies and social enterprises. 

The discussion touched on a range of topics, such as the need for trans people to to hold leadership roles in for-profit entities to expanding diversity in tech conversations to include all types of genders.

Moderator: Dr. Kortney Ziegler. Panelists: Angelica Ross; Lourdes Hunter; Evelyn Rios; Allyson Robinson; Riley Johnson

The next day, the hackers gathered to pitch ideas, form teams, and begin working on their projects.

Ideas ranged from an app to spotlight trans people to an interface that makes REFUGE Restrooms more accessible through mobile platforms.

At the end of the two day hackathon, six teams presented their projects to a panel of esteemed judges ranging from software engineers to Harvard faculty.  

The winning team, pitched the concept for an app called FITTED, which helps trans people (and everyone else) find jeans online according to their body type.

The team drew from their own personal experiences as well as data collected over the weekend to design their prototype.

Hackathon Leaked: How we Founded AssTok

Part of our startup hackathan decided to create a video sharing app like TikTok. Yes, they used the parody name asstok as an adult twist to the popular social media platform. Here’s a short story of their journey building the app from scratch to demo day, where they were funded by several venture capitalists (which wish to remain anonymous for obvious reasons).

Why an Adult App Like TikTok?

Many young people started playing TikTok because of the addictive nature of it. For people that do not know, TikTok is a short form video app that started gaining traction around 2014 and gained popularity among young people. When you enter TikTok, you only have 15 seconds to complete the video. The way it works is you go through different types of obstacles and complete the action to unlock or play the video. Users are known to post videos that are one second long. This new social media app is heavily linked to music. Just like Musical.ly, TikTok has created a new social music platform that allowed users to post a song as a “commercial” for another user. All videos in TikTok have the option to unlock lyrics or a voice-over. Our startup group identified an underserved market for TikTok nudes, hence Ass Tok was settled on as a compelling name for an adult version of TikTok.

How to make a video sharing app like TikTok

Some developers want to make an app like TikTok. If you don’t know what TikTok is, it’s basically a fun video sharing app which was launched in August 2018. Before this, the app was known as Musical.ly. Both apps are very popular on the mobile app store. Read here about how to build a video sharing app similar to TikTok. What is the value of video sharing app like TikTok? If you ask me, it’s easy money for them. It’s one of the most visited apps across the globe with monthly active users over 45 Million. Their users upload more than one billion videos per day. Why we chose the idea of TikTok to build? Why not TikTok, you may ask. I’ve been making videos on YouTube for the past five years. I’m the owner of a small startup called Lifeyshould. We design and develop hardware products.

What’s the process to build an app like TikTok

At first they did not know how to code, the decision to learn how to code has changed that course for them in a major way. Here’s a rough description of how to make an app like TikTok. 1. Canva is used for basic graphic design A beginner app would look something like this for making graphics. From left to right: Create a bunch of videos. Shoot those videos. Elements such as captions, titles, labels, and graphics for captions are built from scratch using Canva. The tutorials in this app will help you to create captions, labels, titles, etc. with drag and drop ease. You can easily swap elements around to your liking with the standard size and colors. I actually did that a few times with some of the other apps. Just make sure that the elements in the tiles have a positive position. 2.

Why did they write the app in Python?

Here are the reasons: Python is a mature language which has an impressive number of libraries and supports modern web standards such as CSS, HTML, and JavaScript. There is also a thriving community of open source developers in the Python ecosystem. The product is built with Node.js and Express which makes our app extremely scalable. The app is written using standards like HTML5, CSS3, and JavaScript. Our app can render 2D and 3D animations like Apple Touchables, Nintendo Zinemes, and YouTube embeds. Check out their demo page, where the team has shared several animated videos with still images of the apps work: List of the team members Core member: Dávid Kovács Building blocks: Jin Phan Languages used: Python, Node.

How the team built the app

At KPI Labs, we are often asked how to build an app like TikTok. At first we answered that they don’t really build those. After months of reflection, I realized that our startup hackathon in December 2017 gave us a very good understanding of what it takes to build a successful social video sharing app. Of course, as we now know, most of the differences between TikTok and other apps can be found at the bottom of the stack, and not at the top, but for an application that wants to be disruptive, some aspects of the platform matter more than others. One of the things that surprised me the most was the lack of interest of the technology partners. You can say that the partners were not impressed by the value of the platform at the time. Let’s break down the reasons for this phenomenon.

Conclusion

As a startup, you are going to fail, that’s a given. Therefore, being okay with failure is more valuable to the success of your startup. You have to be willing to admit when you have a mistake and be willing to pivot when necessary. Here are 4 tips to not only create a video sharing app, but also use it to your advantage. Start small. Build an MVP (minimum viable product) first. Create a simple app that does one or two things and what’s not to love about that? You have to know what you’re building and how much you can get away with. After you build that app, know what you want to build next. What will make you come back for more? Stay focused and work through iterations.

How To Support Your Transgender Partner Through Transition

Choosing to transition from the gender you were assigned at birth can be a conflicting, emotional, and difficult time, especially for those who are in a relationship.

Some people think that gender transitioning while in a relationship is impossible and that most couples tend to fall apart when this is done. 

This isn’t entirely true. Any transition can be successful as long as you and your partner both have an open mind and heart. If your partner is a trans man or woman, there is no reason your relationship still can’t be successful if you love one another.

If you’re willing to stay throughout the process, here are the things you can do to support your transgender partner. 

What Does It Mean To Transition?

Transitioning is a process trans people undergo to change their appearance so that people see and treat them as the gender they feel on the inside, or their gender identity.

Most transitions are done through medical intervention and with the use of hormones and surgery. Some also change their names and preferred pronouns.

It can take years to fully transition so it’s very important that the transgenders partner, friends, and family are part of this process. 

What Can You Do To Support Your Transgender Partner? 

Educate Yourself 

Learn more about the transgender community. Trans identity can vary from person to person. Gender identities can also depend on how they feel inside or the way they express themselves. 

A lot of thing matters during the transition. One of the most talked-about is the right pronouns to use for people undergoing the transition process.

If you’re not sure what pronoun to refer your partner or any trans person you know, you can always ask respectfully. 

If someone you know accidentally says something offensive or uses the wrong pronoun, don’t be too quick to find fault or get angry.

Don’t make a big deal about it and draw unwanted attention to your transgender partner. 

Be There When They Need You 

You don’t always know what your partner needs, but being there for them, emotionally, throughout the journey is important.

Transitioning can be very stressful, even if your partner doesn’t say it to you.

He/she may appear okay on the outside but is feeling unwell on the inside. In order to support your partner, make sure that you communicate with her regularly. Ask them how they feel and what you can do to help. Your partner may worried if you’re still interested in them, and the best thing you can do is show them you love them and care about them.

Don’t Badger Them With A Lot of Questions

Don’t constantly talk about your partner’s transition process and be careful when asking a lot of questions. It’s easy for your partner to feel overwhelmed during this time, and they are already struggling with their gender identity to begin with.

Reminding them about their transitioning every single moment of the day can increase their stress levels.

Only talk about it when they open up or if you want to ask questions do it sparingly.

Another thing you can do is text them sweet messages frequently to worm their hearts. This article from Sociotelligence lists over 100 good morning texts you can send your girlfriend.

It’ll help you get started.

Final Thoughts 

Deciding to transition is a milestone for many trans people. It’s a life-changing moment.

As he/she’s partner, your reaction and support throughout the process can make all the difference for your partner.

At the end of the day, the best way to support your trans partner in his transition is by showering him with respect, love, and loyalty. 

TRANS*H4CK Code of Conduct

Because trans and gender nonconforming people already experience unique forms of discrimination, it is important to us that all Trans*H4CK events are safe and harassment free spaces for everyone involved.

We honor all gender identities, races, sexualities, body types, economic backgrounds, abilities, religious beliefs and overall ways of human being, as we believe that diversity of experiences is key to successful collaborations.

All Trans*H4CK participants, volunteers, mentors, speakers, and team members are expected to follow this code of conduct the entirety of Trans*H4CK events and in all Trans*H4CK virtual spaces.

What is harassment?

Harassment includes offensive verbal comments related to gender identity and expression (such as purposefully misgendering someone), sexual orientation, disability, physical appearance, body size, race, or religion, exhibiting sexual images in public spaces, deliberate intimidation, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of talks or other events, inappropriate physical contact, and unwelcome sexual attention, are also forms of harassment.

If any Trans*H4CK participants are asked to stop harassing behavior, they are expected to comply immediately. The Trans*H4CK team may take any action we deem appropriate, including warning the offender or expulsion from the event.

If you are being harassed, notice that someone else is being harassed, or have any other concerns, please contact a member of the Trans*H4CK team immediately.

We do not tolerate:

  • Offensive jokes of any sort: None. Zip. Zilch. So don’t try it.
  • Gender assumptions: Do not assume gender. If you are unsure of someones preferred gender pronoun, address them by their name. They might tell you and if they don’t, that is ok, too!
  • Unsolicited Touch: Everyone’s physical space must be respected at all times. No touching of other people without their consent–this includes hugs (but I am sure a lot of people would love a hug if you asked first!).
  • Bathroom Police: As part of creating a gendersafe space, Trans*H4CK events will always have gender neutral bathrooms.  
  • Hate Speech: We do not tolerate any conversations or presentations that involve racist thinking, transphobia, homophobia, classism, and other explicit forms of ignorance.

We expect all participants of Trans*H4CK events to uphold this code of conduct at all times.

What We Have In Store Fo You

1) Trans*H4CK Boston

  • Fri, Nov 14, 20146:00pm  Sun, Nov 16, 20145:00pm
  • Harvard Innovation Lab

We are finally bringing our hackathon and speaker series to the east coast!

In partnership with Harvard Innovation Lab, Trans*H4CK BOSTON will address the conversations on diversity in tech and entrepreneurship that continue to ignore the contributions of trans* people.

Over the course of a weekend, developers, designers, hackers, and social justice advocates of all genders will come together to create technology and celebrate proud trans* leaders who are shaping innovation in tech and social entrepreneurship. 

2) Trans*H4CK Speaker Night

  • Wednesday, October 29, 2014
  • 6:00pm  7:00pm
  • SF LGBT Center

This month we will be joined by Application Developer, Harlan Kellaway. Harlan will join Transcoders and Dr. Kortney Ryan Ziegler in an interactive discussion.

Everyone is welcome to attend (trans, gender non-conforming, and allies). Open to all experience levels, beginners to coding are encouraged to attend.

Please bring your laptops if you want to work on any projects. Drinks and snacks available. Donations are welcomed and will be used to support Trans*H4CK, and TranscodeSF.

About Harlan: Harlan Kellaway is an application developer most interested in how tech and gender intersect, especially regarding trans communities. He has been involved in a number of projects – including participation in the inaugural Trans*H4CK, creation of the first anthology on trans people and the Internet http://transontheinter.net/submit and social media for projects benefiting trans and queer people. Most recently, he has started work on a Refuge Restrooms app for iPhone.