Every six months or so, we invite our employees to put aside their ‘day jobs’ and take action on a project that they believe will better some aspect of our company or business. Our theme this time was #HackTogether, placing an even greater emphasis on leveraging the collective talents of our coworkers—designers, engineers, marketers, data analysts, and more—to ideate, plan, and execute projects that will make our company better one way or another.
More than 20 cross-functional teams around the globe participated in this Hack Day, and projects ranged from tackling how Internet users can gain even better visibility into outages that impact apps or services they rely on, to finding ways we can be more environmentally friendly in and around our offices. Teams had one day to complete their projects and, the following day, they presented the results at a company all-hands. Prizes were awarded to a number of teams based on the level of innovation, inter-departmental collaboration and impact on the business.
The seven winning teams each received a $250 gift card to DonorsChoose, a charity that allows people to sponsor teachers around the country with funds to purchase classroom supplies. Each winning team will use their donation to sponsor classroom projects that are meaningful to them.
While there were far too many great projects to profile all of them, following are a few fun ones that stood out:
Winner of the Founders’ Award (1 of 2)
What's Yo Name
Let’s face it. We’re growing fast, and it can be hard to keep up with all the new names and faces we see around the halls. This gamified experience connects with our centralized human resources system so you can test your knowledge using the latest headshots and names. Employees can study the latest directory and then test their skills to see where they rank among the leaderboard.
The inspiration for this project, according to project lead Joe Vaccaro, really came from the desire to encourage greater collaboration. “I wanted to ensure myself and others in the company not only recognize people's faces but know their names and what they do in order to foster a closer cross-team working relationship.” The team set out to create a gamified experience that closely mimics that way that people naturally commit things to memory. Joe says they did this by “creating a flashcard style approach to learning people's names based upon different filtering (location, function, recent hires) and then making it a competition to see who in the office can get the most right.”
Socialites, meet your new BFF: What’s Yo Name.
Winner of the Founders’ Award (2 of 2)
Global teams rejoice! Every Sales department has some version of a celebratory noise-making device hanging from the wall—be it a bell, a gong or chime. At ThousandEyes, we have a noise-maker of the gong variety. The problem with a physical gong, of course, is that only those in ear-shot know to celebrate when Sales closes a deal. And, as the team continues to grow its global footprint, scaling these celebrations across regions and time zones proved to be a challenge. According to the project lead, Prashant Yadav, “Our core principle of ‘collaboration’ was at stake, and our team was disheartened to see this cultural tradition starting to fade away. We could not let this happen.”
The solution is an automated bot called Auto Gong that shares Sales wins with everyone in the ThousandEyes family. With Auto Gong, party music and an electronic gong sound will play over speakers, across every office in every region, as soon as a deal is marked ‘Closed/Won’ in our CRM. “So wherever you are, whatever you do, Auto Gong will be with you,” Prashant adds. Now, this should give everyone a reason to celebrate.
Winner of the People's Choice Award
We should all do our part to make the planet a little greener, and this hack is already making a big impact here at ThousandEyes. The team conducted a “very scientific” trash audit to understand current behaviors as they relate to trash, compost, and recycling. The results were, um … let’s just say we’re on the right track now. The team placed laminated cards near most products, pre-consumption, so that employees know whether they should be put in the trash, compost or recycling bin when they’re done. They also posted signage around the wastebaskets with examples of what should go in each. Then, they even had time to produce this PSA. It’s creative, clear, clean and already saving the planet.
According to Arash Molavi, the inspiration for this project really came from the mutual, innate desire to be more green. “What inspired me was really seeing how pretty much everyone in the office cares about being green, and we just needed a group to take the lead on it,” adds Arash. The team even got our CEO involved in their project, and Arash recalls one particularly memorable moment: “When I put on the green suit, I was supposed to shoot a scene where I stop Mohit throwing his trash in the wrong bin, but I ran crashing into him because I couldn’t see well with the costume on.” Disclaimer: No CEOs were harmed in the making of this hack.
At ThousandEyes, we value teamwork, and this Hack Day was a big success, in large part, because of the number of employees who participated. By combining the collective expertise of our team members, we were able to make headway on a number of initiatives that will impact our business, our community and our society.
If Hack Days sound up your alley, or more importantly, if you love to tackle complex problems daily, check out our Careers page to see open opportunities and subscribe to our blog to keep up to date on the latest and greatest from team ThousandEyes.