“Hackathon re-energizes the product development teams,” says Harini Raghavan, Engineering Manager at InsideView. “It’s an opportunity for teams to break out of the routine, look at the product from perspectives not limited to roadmap priorities and build something cool while adding value.”
This year, teams were challenged to produce a working hack based on InsideView’s existing product code. Here’s the event outline:
Time: 40 hours
Location: Hyderabad, India
Team Composition: Minimum 2, maximum 3 participants per team
Hack Specifications: The hack should either use an existing codebase to achieve something new within the current product areas (the “Re-Invent” category) or represent a new technology build (the “Innovation” category).
Evaluation Rules: Teams must produce a working prototype to be considered for evaluation.
Integrate or Disintegrate
Post-event, we found that like the newest Microsoft Dynamics CRM release (announced at Convergence) and the hack that Netflix dreamed up, many of our hacks focused on innovating via integration with another app, platform or product. The Dynamics update provides a framework that allows businesses to develop new connected apps in Microsoft Dynamics, while Netflix’s hack integrates with Fitbit. Some of or our hacks featured Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.
Still, remember that integration isn’t always easy. Netflix made sure to include a disclaimer in their hackathon blog post: “While we think these hacks are very cool and fun, they may never become part of the Netflix product, internal infrastructure, or be used beyond Hack Day.”
While InsideView knows that two heads are better than one, we also know that Netflix is right. Our great ideas may never make it to the product roadmap, even if we recognize that they are great ideas. For some of these hacks to work, our product will need to integrate with a another brand. And they have to say yes. Legal restrictions may be the only thing stopping a great hack from becoming a reality.
And Now… the Results!
58 employees participated, of which, 13 were women.
Most teams were cross-functional spanning content, test, and user experience engineering groups, plus developers and data services.
Of 25 teams that competed, 19 teams completed a working idea and prototype.
Creative Team Names Included: Sub-Mad, Europhia, Lazy Pandas, Trendsetters, Sales Xpress, Connecting dots 2, Connecting dots 1, PIE, Anonymous, Titans, Protheans, Charlie’s Angels, Royal Flush, X Monad, Bootstrappers, Alpha, NaN|#N/A|NA|NULL|!@#$%^&*_meaning_garbage, 911-Match, DeepLearn, NewsPower, Maniac, AKAKIOS
Ideas Varied: mobile apps, browser plugins, data cleansing system, enhanced recommendation systems, clustering algorithms
Shortlisted Hacks: List building analytics, IV tour/theme, Business card scanner for IV, Sentiment analysis for tweets, Linkedin browser plugin, Chrome extension for Activity stream
Other Final Hacks: ViewCleaner – Cash From Trash, Usage Based List Build, Industry sync based on tag library, Activity stream Reinvented, Improved connections performance, Lead scoring, InsideView for Facebook, Improve Marketing Lead Enrichment, News Categorization, Right Information Right Time Triggers, Browser cache for IV page performance, Trends by company, industry, word cloud