Message Systems Summer Hackathon

Angela Cheong
Aug. 2, 2013 by Angela Cheong

Hot on the heels of Message Systems’ first ever, and highly successful hackathon, comes the second hackathon in Message Systems history!

With summer upon the company, Message Systems’ engineers and email experts were all geared up for the Summer Hackathon – the ultimate clash of engineering minds and raw talent!

Who would succeed and go down in history as champion? Who would hang their heads in shame and walk away in agonizing defeat?

It was a tense two days for the teams in the HQ at Columbia, Maryland.  All projects had to have a clear connection to the theme, “Mobility”, as defined by the variety of methods and tools that allow people to access data, information and digital communications from wherever they are, or on the go.

Each team would have to present their project in 10 mins, which would include a live demo. Teams were also given the option to showcase their project through a powerpoint or a wiki page.

New to the Summer Hackathon were three separate winning categories, as well as a “Best in Show” winner that would be picked from the category winners.

The new categories were:

  • Product, where teams would be evaluated based on the creation of a new or improved product or feature, including end-user tolls and add-ons.
  • Tools, where teams would be judged on the creation of an internal tool or infrastructure that would improve how Message Systems design, build, test, ship, or support products.
  • Mash-up, where teams would integrate Message Systems products with third party products or other services that create added value.

Winning ideas would again be considered for inclusion in any product according to the judges’ discretion.

A “People’s Choice” award was also up for grabs. The winner of this award would be voted by the participants of the hackathon.

The hackathon schedule followed that of the first hackthon closely, where teams began working on their project shortly after 10am, and an opening speech by CEO, George Schlossnagle. Save for a lunch break, teams continued working through the day (some, the night…) until the following day at 2pm. Teams then presented their work to the audience and panel of judges, David Rowley, VP Business Development, Barry Abel, Senior VP and Kate Nowrouzi, Director of Product Policy.


Finally the judges made their decision. And the winners were…

Product category: Get Your Boots off my Couch

  • Andrew Winder, Web Developer
  • Jessica Martin, Engineering Intern
  • Chris McFadden, Director, Software Development – Applications
  • Olayinka Adetoya, Senior Software Engineer
  • Tim Noel, Software Engineer (Auxiliary)


Tool category: Cheeseburger Apocalypse

  • Julie Zhao, Senior Software Engineer
  • Alex Mikitik, Lead Software Architect, Application
  • Jun Chen, Senior Software Engineer

Mash-up category: Itsy Bitsy Spiders

  • Rich Dawe, Client Integration Architect
  • Tim Reynolds, Software Test Automation Engineer
  • Dan Milburn, Software Test Automation Engineer
  • Glenn Estridge, Senior Quality Assurance Engineer

Best in Show: Get Your Boots off my Couch

Honorable Mention: T-Shirt Size L

  • Marc Chidester, Senior Software Engineer
  • Prashant Dhotre, Senior Software Engineer
  • Veeresh Halagegowda, Automation Engineer Intern
  • Yaakov Kuperman, Software Developer

Peoples Choice: We’ve Got SQLz, NoSQLz

  • Alec Peterson, CTO
  • Robert Sink, Senior Build and Release Engineer
  • Mike Fox, Senior Software Engineer
  • Karan Singh, Software Engineer

The day ended with an early happy hour and much good cheer all around!

Richard Dawe from Itsy Bitsy Spiders, and winner of the mash-up category, shared his thoughts on the Summer Hackathon:

I really enjoyed my first Hackathon. I find it hard to carve out time to experiment with our products, even with toy projects. I have wanted to try building something using all of Momentum’s protocols for some time, to get some feel for the possibilities with all the channels.

It was great to be able to work for the first time with some of the QA folks, and take part remotely. I was pleased that everyone delivered part of the final product. It was great to see an idea go from conception to realisation in such a short time. I hope the rest of the folks enjoyed it too!

Aside from being bestowed award title, teams also received gift cards, logo wear, and special awards. The “Best in Show” winning team also had their names engraved on a shiny silver trophy for all posterity, and went down in the Message Systems’ hall of fame as Summer Hackathon champions!


Day 1 of the Hackathon


Day 2 of the Hackathon


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