With the sun starting to peek through the clouds in many cities, it was clear that the time of the year was upon us again. Yup, it was time for the one and only, Message Systems 2014 Spring Hackathon!
Since its inception last year, our quarterly Message Systems internal hackathons have become the tried and tested way for our engineers, product and project managers to test their mettle and settle age-old departmental grudges. Pitting their skills against the best of the best, teams were to unleash their creative energies over the course of two days and battle for the glory of being office champion! Winning ideas would also be considered for inclusion in our products.
For the 2014 Spring Hackathon, winners would be chosen from three different categories:
- Product – A new or improved product or feature, including end-user tools and add-ons.
- Tools – An internal tool or infrastructure that can improve how we design, build, test, ship, or support our products.
- Mash-up – An integration of our products with 3rd party products or services that creates added value.
Building up to the event, employees were encouraged to share project ideas that might inspire the participating teams to success. There were no restrictions on any particular technology code, and teams had the options of:
- Writing something from scratch
- Building off our existing code base
- Incorporating an open source or a trial version of commercial software
- Using a new or familiar language
The one thing that the teams had to abide by was the golden rule: An honor system where no pre-work or coding was allowed!
As part of their entry, teams had to create a page about their project providing some basic information on the goal of their project, what they did, a list of any tools and any pre-existing code or components that were used, as well as instructions on how to check out the code. While the hackathon was primarily aimed at engineers, non-engineering employees could partner with engineers and take on roles such as product manager, analyst, tester, marketer etc.
Each team was expected to provide a 10-minute presentation about their project including a live demo. A panel of three judges would pick the winners of each category, as well as an overall “Best in Show” winner selected from the pool of winners. A special “People’s Choice Award” winner would be selected based on votes by participants.
At 10am sharp on May 8, the 2014 Spring Hackathon officially kicked off. Engineers began powering up with important fuel for the day: coffee, soda and donuts.
The hard work and spinning mental gears continued to grind through to the following day where teams presented their work to the audience and were subjected to a barrage of questions in the Q&A section.
We were excited for our new CEO, Phillip Merrick, to be a part of the judge’s panel for the first time ever. The full list of judges included:
- Chief executive officer, Phillip Merrick
- SVP & General manager, David Rowley
- Senior product manager, Teddy Rusli
- Product manager, Amie Durr
After deliberating for 30mins, the judges had a decision and the list of teams who now had bragging rights for the next few months were revealed:
- Best in Show: Team’); DROP TABLE msg_events
- Product: Team’); DROP TABLE msg_events
- Tools: Puppet People
- Mash-up: Cloudy with a side of webscale
- Honorable Mention: Trial by Momo
- People’s Choice: Trace Analytics
A big congratulations to all our winners who were showered with gift cards, branded wear and special awards. The “Best in Show” champion also received a trophy engraved with his name!
While we’re unable to reveal details of the winning project by Jason Sorenson, judge Amie Durr had this to say: “It was really AWESOME and totally innovative, and I wish we could incorporate it right this moment!”
So keep an eye out for future Momentum updates – you just might come across Jason’s winning project!
What sets Message Systems apart may be our innovative and creative group of engineers and employees, but What Sets Momentum Apart from other email marketing software is a performance that is second to none. Find out more in this white paper.