We heard

We heard

Bye bye Overheard ūüĎč

So at the first ever hackathon I went to I participated in a team building a prototype for a website where users would post funny things they overheard in and around their town. Overheard, we called it. Named so aptly after our local Overheard At Kent Uni Facebook group.

And it was such an incredible learning curve. For me at least. And for everyone else, too. That weekend, I consumed a lot of caffeine, crashed on the sofa, had a little bit to drink and more importantly did a hell of a lot of coding.

We didn't win any idea-based or code-based prizes that weekend, but we won "Best Presentation" thanks to Matt. Which was awesome! And I even managed to secure a summer job at Mindwork Labs, which lead to a full project and a year-in-industry placement too! Fantastic!

After the event however, we found it difficult to arrange time to work on Overheard. We had pieces of an API, based on stuff I rushed to finish for a demo at the hackathon, and not even a finished website. Not even half a finished website.

So whenever we did meet up, I stupidly decided to rewrite the API to "make it better". Which was silly. It didn't need rewriting. It needed stability. It needed locking-down and more security. It did not rewriting to use entities. It needed a frontend for users, not more backend work.

So, by summer, we weren't any further than we were after the hackathon. If you'd spoken to me at the time, I would have told you that we had a more secure and more stable API, although you only needed to look at Trac's commit messages to see it was pretty much the same API rewritten in entities & using json encoding instead of a serialized array to keep integers happy. Honestly. Nothing had really changed.

Then the year ended. Summer came. Olympics happened. Summer went. Term started.

The Kent Enterprise Business Hub got involved with Overheard too, wanting to promote a university-founded startup forward, and they kept pushing us too. Pushing us to release something out there. George got involved too, assisting Matt with the entrepreneur~y stuff that happened in the background as we were developing.

But we never got round to finishing.

We got business cards, Twitter profiles, Facebook pages, and I somehow stood up as a "leader", although sadly didn't do much leading.

We literally ended up going nowhere. Which is very sad.

And now that Chris has moved the SVN server to a new VM, we have a tough question to ask.

Do we still continue with Overheard?

And after a lot of thought, and a lot of chatting to Edd & Chris, I've got my answer.


We've all moved on, although we won't admit it. Not a single line of code has been written for it in a good 6 months. Not a single blog post, tweet or status has been posted about it for a long time. Chris made a valid point on this "The craze has passed. We sat on this idea for a year and now the craze has past. Nobody would invest in us." And I couldn't agree more. We have moved on. We've all got new interests. Rebecca, Chris & I are to resume work on our Angelhack project in the next few weeks. Shane is busy on his book & JavaScript projects. Rufus has plenty of hardware~y shit he's working on. Edd & Ellen are working on individual websites and blogs and whatnot. And George, Matt & I are working on Time².

So what did I learn from Overheard? Teamwork? Determination? REST APIs & cURL? Object-Oriented PHP & MySQL(i)? Basic SQL knowledge? SVN & Trac? I learnt a lot from Overheard. And upon reflection I can see exactly where we went wrong, so I'm taking that knowledge and I'm going to apply it to future projects. Starting with Leftovers.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.