You might have seen on our Facebook page or Twitter that Shutterstock hosted a hackathon last week. Well, we thought we’d fill you in on a little of what happened at this exciting annual event. But first let’s start at the beginning…
So what exactly is a Hackathon? It’s basically what it sounds like: a marathon for hacking. It’s about empowering employees to develop quickly-built projects (or “hacks”) of their own choosing, without being encumbered by the usual approval process. The only requirement for these projects is that they must add value to Shutterstock in some way – whether it’s customer value, contributor success, or just good, old-fashioned entertainment.
Hackathons have become relatively common at tech companies (Google, Yahoo!, and Facebook host them regularly), and Shutterstock allows all employees to participate, not just engineers and developers.
How long does a Hackathon last? Shutterstock’s lasts 24 hours, plus 4 hours of demo presentations at the end.
Why host a Hackathon? Hackathons encourage creativity, collaboration with other team members, and most of all, innovation. They’re also a great way to reward employees by letting them showcase their projects in front of the entire company and compete for cool prizes.
But perhaps most importantly, hosting these events is a nod to our past and our future. CEO Jon Oringer founded Shutterstock during an overnight “hack” 9 years ago, and that lean, flat, energetic (and even feisty!) culture is still very much alive today.
Ok, so what “Hacks” did you build?? In total we had almost 60 teams and more than 140 employees participating, with dozens of amazing projects presented. Some of the most memorable “hacks” were: a blog redesign, a tool that lets customers download video clips in any file format, translating the site into 40 different languages, a video showcasing some of the best Shutterstock artists and their stories, and a tool that lets you search the entire collection without words.
So what happens next? While the projects people build aren’t immediately available to the public, the best ones will lay the foundation for much of what gets worked on at Shutterstock over the next several months. Things like redesigning the blog or launching a new search tool, for example, often start at these “hackathons” and then will be fine-tuned and improved upon before they’re ready for prime time.
Still want to know more? We’re producing a video recap of our hackathon that we’ll be sharing in a couple of weeks. In the meantime, you can watch last year’s video, here: