Tyler Hillsman

My Friday night, or how I won a boxing belt without throwing a punch

Well this was certainly an exciting night. Let me start at the beginning.

I’ve been designing iOS apps for the past few months using the WIRE language from a Kansas City startup called RareWire. It’s an extremely easy-to-learn language for people with front-end web design experience (like me). And through their series of free classes, RareWire is really trying to get people using their product and it’s definitely working.

A few weeks ago, I went to a RareWire presentation at a local front-end user’s group where they announced an App Clash, a hackathon of sorts, where developers could submit apps they had created and the best one would win a $7500 contract developing client apps part-time for the company and free apps for a year. By that point I had a few apps under my belt, so I decided to definitely enter.

Ultimately I decided to enter three apps: my first fully-functioning app (a Tic Tac Toe game), a feed-based app focusing on businesses in small towns (more coming soon), and my newest idea, a pixel-by-pixel drawing app. I thought of the app on October 30 and completed it (at its current state) Wednesday night. I submitted my three apps and hoped for the best.

Yesterday I was notified that my third app, Pixel Artist was a finalist in the competition. I had already planned on attending RareWire’s launch party tonight, but this gave me another reason to go: the winner would be announced there. So tonight Lori and I headed to the Crossroads and saw the awesomeness that was the launch party. All five app finalists were on display and I got to play with the four other (extremely well-designed and worthy) apps.

When the time came to announce the winner, RareWire President Kirk Hasenzahl took the stage and showed off another prize for the winner: a boxing belt with the RareWire logo planted on it front and center. And then when they announced that Pixel Artist was the winning app, I found myself on stage with said boxing belt around my waist.

It was hilarious and ridiculous and lots of fun. I’m thrilled to win, not just for the belt (though how cool is that?!) but for the opportunity to work with RareWire and all the fine people there as a contracted developer in my free time.

Outside of the app competition, I had a ton of fun. The RareWire staff did a great job pulling off the launch party, and it was fun to get to introduce Lori to all the people who have helped teach me about app development. They’re really working hard to make a great product, and you should check them out.

What a crazy night.

Lori, myself, and The Belt

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