The outcome isn't necessarily important. It doesn't have to be perfect, nor necessarily functional. But by moving fast and breaking things, they approach problems in a different light that creates new solutions and new ideas. Many of Facebook's features have come out of these Hackathon events.
So why am I writing about it? Well, I think it lends itself to great advice for graduates looking to land themselves a gig in digital;
Building something these days generally costs next to nothing. A lack of technical skills is no excuse either given Google is at your finger tips. And the only thing you'll need you should have plenty of as a student; time.
Time to move fast. Time to break things. Time to learn. Time to build something.
As an undergraduate I built this blog. Everyone's got one now (not to say you shouldn't build one too), but you could build a YouTube Channel. Or an online store that sells socks. Or a video that gets 1,000,000 views.
Throw yourself in the deep end. If it fails, pull the plug and build something else.
Six months ago I started a website called Angry Birds Blog. Like me, I realised people were searching for walkthroughs, Golden Egg locations and information about the game. The website now receives 95,000 hits and brings in $150 a month. But that's nothing compared to what I've learned over the past half year about SEO, SEM, AdSense, affiliate marketing, design, coding, ad placement and more.
And I reckon if you can build something, that's probably more impressive than talking about your empty resume in a job interview.
Edit: I sold Angry Birds Blog in September 2011 for a nice little sum.