Last weekend I participated in the first Hack the Midwest, a 24-hour hackathon in Kansas City. I was very impressed by the event: nearly 100 developers from the Kansas City area participated with tons of API sponsors and great prizes. I decided to go it alone and throw my hat into the ring with an idea that I had been thinking of for a while: what if there were email alerts for Netflix Instant? 24 hours later, the result was Qup.tv.

I was fortunate enough to be awarded top honors at the competition and since then the response to Qup has been phenomenal! It’s been covered in GigaOM, SlashGear, and Silicon Prairie News (and even tweeted about by Roku) and has already grown to more than 600 users in under a week!Qup is a simple application that links your Netflix account to your email address. You receive periodic emails when Netflix adds new titles to their streaming catalog, and you can queue titles, watch them, or visit their Netflix page with one click. You don’t even have to be signed into Netflix to queue up titles so you can add them from your phone or from a public computer without the hassle of signing in. Qup also pulls in Rotten Tomatoes scores for movies and gives you the power to filter the titles you receive based on Netflix rating, Rotten Tomatoes rating, and more coming soon.

The best part about the success of Qup for me has been demonstrating that something real, polished, and useful can be developed in just one day by just one person. It’s one of the reasons I’m so passionate about web development: one person really can make a dent in the world.

If you’re a Netflix user, I hope you’ll give Qup a spin and if you’re a developer I hope you’ll take a look around and find a local hackathon to participate in. It’s a lot of fun, you will learn a lot, and you might just get something you want to keep building out of it!