What is Hackday?
Our Hackday consisted of 24 hours of non-stop hacking. From September 7-8 Whitepagers joined together to create something and have fun: No boundaries, no themes, just brilliance. Varun, a Principal Architect at Whitepages, led the charge along with Software Developer Ali and our Office and Facilities Manager Lauren, to challenge fellow Whitepagers to bring their best ideas to the table. Read on to hear Varun’s story.
Just five weeks ago we decided to go for it: Hackday. After a few years on hiatus, it was time: A day to get inspired, a day to code, and a day to create. We hoped to encourage synergy between business units and give employees time to step back from day-to-day projects. A day to themselves. A day to build. The day turned out to be that and so much more.
Motivation is key to start the ideas flowing, so we created t-shirts, themes, and posters to kick off the Hackday excitement. Three judges would determine winners in the categories of Best Hack, Best Team Name, Most Diverse Team (to encourage interdepartmental collaboration), and there was also a People’s Choice Award for the entire company to vote. Enticing prizes and trophies further notched up the motivation levels.
Eleven teams registered for the event, with participants not only from our Engineering team, but also Sales, Human Resources, and Legal, among other departments. The hacks spanned across product ideas, product improvements and tools for in-house efficiency and cost savings. A Hackday in 2017 would not be complete without a fancy gadget hack; yes, we even had a team from our Budapest office working hard on a super cool virtual reality (VR) hack while other teams in Seattle flaunted their skills using Amazon Echo’s “Alexa”.
After an exhilarating 24 hours, selected teams had six minutes each to present their hack, followed by a Q&A by the judges. The three judges would determine the winners based on the following:
- Business Impact
- Fun Factor
- Technical Difficulty
- Customer Satisfaction
- Demo/Working Prototype/Revenue Sheets
They had such a hard time deciding the Best Hack that the office cheered for a TIE: “The BelltownBoyz” had that perfect mix of super cool and very useful, creating a game and a search box that can search across all Whitepages product offerings, while “The New Cartographers” won the judges’ hearts and presented a money-saving option using map data. Best Team Name went to “OK Cupid?”, the Most Diverse Team was “Poizon,” (representing FOUR business units), and finally, the audience got to choose their favorite hack – with a whopping 81 votes “The Million Dollar Batch” featuring members from Whitepages Pro, bagged the People’s Choice Award for their Excel-based batch testing user interface.
Here is an amazing video by our own IT Engineer, Sam, capturing all the fun we had at the 2017 Whitepages Hackday:
A special thank you goes out to the organizers, judges, all the managers who encouraged their employees to participate, and ESPECIALLY to all of the participants who put in a ton of time, energy, and creativity into their projects. We look forward to next year!