I’ve experienced a few hackathons. Some indirectly, a couple in person, and a lot from reading the follow up articles.
They’ve ranged from scientific collaboration to social innovation to hardcore coding, and in almost every case I’m astounded by the sheer amount of work that gets done (whether it’s science, brainstorming, or the code in the resulting github repos).
I’m also now realising how often I look back on an old hackathon and realise that nothing really came of it*. The output lies disused or forgotten, and there is almost inevitably a subsequent hackathon on the same topic, usually without reference or mention of the previous efforts.