Coming up at BraveNewTalent are some exciting times. We’re growing in clients, revenue, and users at a fantastic rate, have appeared in a stack of national papers this week, and as a team, are having an absolute blast.
Case in point: This weekend, when we held our first official “hackathon“. We needed a Facebook application, fast. With our client list growing, we needed to create a destination for Talent to find employers that they are suited for, find friends (and friends of friends) that work there, and get their hands on the right job postings.
It had to be engaging. It had to be slick. It had to sum up all of the hard work we’d put into a full API revamp and design overhaul we’d been working on for the last several months. It had to be something we’d all be proud of.
Thinking fast and talking smooth, I gathered a team, all of whom joined and contributed with gusto:
- Joanna Chlasta, our rock-star back-end developer
- Dimitris Havlidis, our front-end ninja
- Ed Kendall, our uber-dedicated bug-squashing intern
- Andrew Walker, Joanna’s other half, and a front-end developer at Nature.com
- Simon Cast, a fellow Head of Product at PeerIndex
- Harry Marr, a developer at Conversocial, borrowed for the day from the office on the ground floor
- Eamonn Gahan, a Facebook developer with iPlatform, also borrowed (thanks!)
While Ramon, our marketing guru, couldn’t make the weekend on short notice, he’d submitted some contributions by Sunday morning with his thoughts on how we can bring it to the masses. Lucian, of course, was there, tweeting our progress, bouncing ideas around and making sure everyone was fuelled and fed. The support and enthusiasm of all was infectious.
With this team, we set out what we meant to do. By the end of the second day, we’d created the app to about 80% completion – a working prototype, essentially, which we could begin showing off, getting feedback on, and coming up with a grand plan for the launch.
The big thing that we gained, however, was not the app itself. The personal growth in the team speaks for itself. We all learned a little bit more about each other, stretched our personal knowledge, and (dare I say?) bonded in those late nights and early mornings. We made something we were proud of, and we had fun doing it.
As a result, we’ve got an application ready to be launched on Facebook, which was built entirely in-house (with a little help from our friends!), and also picked up the knowledge needed to take it to the next level.
There was nothing quite as rewarding (although the lunch at Inamo came close) as being able to show off the completed app on Monday morning to the rest of our team, who with fresh eyes, immediately ooh-ed and ahh-ed (and picked and prodded) over what we’d created that weekend.
We continue work on the app this weekend, pulling in the last loose ends, and plan on launching next week.
I can’t wait for the next opportunity for a “hackathon”. It’s not something to be done every weekend, but it was worth every moment for this one.
Any other good stories of successful (or not so successful) hack-type weekends? As a product person, I’d love to hear about others pulling this off… and seeing the result!