Adaptly Hackathon Round 1

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Last week we had the entire company under one roof at our New York City headquarters for an all-hands summit. To make the most of the full house, the Product Team decided to host a three-day hackathon. We wanted to give our Developers another opportunity to think creatively and get to know people from across the organization while having fun and brainstorming ways to make life better at Adaptly. The challenge: improve workflow and efficiency among our Media Operations team. We started by dividing the Developers, Product team, and Media Operations managers into three groups and then sat back to watch them work.

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The developers at Adaptly participate in “10% time” every other Friday, where they can devote time to passion projects outside their regular workload, but their busy schedules can sometimes impede their creativity. Giving them three uninterrupted days to devote to developing ideas inspired the teams to put their heads together and come up with innovative solutions. “It was rewarding being part of a collective that thought out market-ready solutions from ideation to implementation in such a short period of time,” said Paul Gambardella, Media Operations Manager.

On Friday the teams presented their solutions, complete with working software and a value pitch, to a ‘Shark Tank’-style panel of judges (note Mr. Wonderful and Mark Cuban below) drawn from the Executive, Media Ops, Engineering, Product, and Marketing departments. The winning team had to tie back their proposal to major company goals discussed in the all-hands and review how it would add value across the board in order to be chosen by the ‘Sharks’. “The hackathon was an amazing opportunity to experiment with different ways of working together. All the ideas were well thought-through and user-based,” said Bryan Keller, Director of UX. Besides getting their project implemented, the winners gained exclusive access to a brand new 3D printer for its first month in the office.

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Moving forward, we hope to hold hackathons several times a year to encourage creative thinking and make our teams more effective. “Going from a conversation to a major feature in two days forced me to confront gaps in my understanding of our tools, team, process and product which would normally take months to come up in our day-to-day. Hackathons in the context of our production codebase are the ultimate low-risk, high-speed training program,” said Brian Rubinton, Software Engineer. Innovation is something we pride ourselves on at Adaptly, and giving our teams the freedom to take a step back from the nitty-gritty of everyday work to examine the bigger picture produced inventive proposals that excited the entire company. This round focused on Media Operations, but there are more opportunities across the company to increase efficiency and productivity and our Developers are eager for another competition. Stay tuned for round 2!