Anthony Bartolo — Senior Audience Evangelism Manager at Microsoft — has a unique approach to engaging with the hackers and developers in the Microsoft ecosystem: he wants to learn from them. It might not sound radical, but in the modern world of corporate innovation, hackathons are often seen exclusively as a source of talent. Since it's virtually impossible to build a robust, working prototype in 36 hours, enterprises are usually looking for potential, not learning about product.

For Bartolo, hackathons are much more than a farm team for engineers. Hackathons are where you learn about the problems you didn't even know you had.