The Horizon – MatchMove Hackathon 2020
A 24-hour non-stop virtual hackathon? Well, that sounds impossible. To quote Mark Twain, “They did not know it was impossible so they did it.“ This is how, The Horizon, MatchMove’s hackathon came to fruition.
It all started as an idea to affirm synergies from a remote collaboration between employees spread across seven different countries. It took shape and crystalized into the actual event on the 24th of April 2020. With over 80 participants from various teams, it was heartening to see the sheer exuberance and crazy energy that encapsulated the spirit of the hackathon.
Our Lead Developer of the iOS Team, Imayselvan, could not have summed it up better, “For me, the Hackathon was simply a rejuvenating experience.” “The thrill lies in the fact that you have only 24 hours to ideate, design, prototype, and present” he added.
With sheer grit and determination of the teams, we pulled off the entire 24-hour hackathon virtually. Undoubtedly, there were many people working hard behind the scenes to make this a success. We take pride in the fact that despite the current constraints, it did not stop us from innovating.
Generally, a hackathon is conducted with the help of some specialized infrastructure. However, we at MatchMove decided to make the best use of distributed collaboration tools. These are the same tools we use in our Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) on a daily basis. As the famous management guru Peter F. Drucker says, “If you want something new, you have to stop doing something old.” It was not easy but it was not impossible either.
This is how we drove the entire 24-hour long hackathon via online tools.
Zoom Bomb: Each team was given its own Zoom meeting room. Their mentors could jump into the call and help them out at any time. We also used Zoom to create screencasts of the demo and shared it via the cloud to the judges.
Bitbucket for code submission. We had our teams submit their codes at the end of the hackathon.
Google Drive’s shared folders for submission of demo video and project presentation.
Typically in hackathons, ‘birds of a feather flock together’ and it is predominantly Software developers that participate. At MatchMove, we opened up the Hackathon to all staff - everyone has good ideas and anyone can catalyze the ‘next big win’.
We had Customer Success Managers, Technical Solution Architects, Business Teams, Support Managers, Finance Teams, and Compliance & Legal Teams participating. Of course, we had the Product and Technical Teams as well. Hoang from Vietnam, who is our Regional Business Manager, put it beautifully, “this is something I have not done before and to be part of such a hackathon in itself was an amazing experience.”
All our teams were empowered and guided by their mentors. They provided their expertise and advice to enrich the ideas and shape the solutions. Mentors ranged from across functions like Operations, Product, Tech, and Business.
Like any other hackathon, we had teams working on a common theme - Innovation within the MatchMove Ecosystem.
Each team had to come up with a winning idea that not only adhered to the theme but also solved a real problem with a viable and innovative solution. We recruited an esteemed panel of judges who brought their rich industry experience to the table. As a judging panel, they concurred that a winning idea is the one that checks the following boxes:
- Novelty, Creativity, and Innovation
- Business use case alignment to our vision
- Technical Excellence
“Our evaluation strategy ensured that we assessed all teams with fair and equal treatment”, said one the panel judges, Shantanu Gautam. We had two rounds of evaluation for each submission over the 24 hours and each team got to demonstrate their projects in front of the whole company via live demos and project pitches on a Sunday afternoon.
And the winner is...
With beating hearts, tired minds, and rejuvenated spirits, we waited for the results.
Our winning team was the one who came up with an innovative idea and brilliantly executed application to solve the dependence of payment authorization modules on end-users’ network connectivity.
A 24-hour long streak of hacking and coding is not just an arduous task but also an enriching and learning experience. “What we experienced was not just an event but the euphoria of team collaboration leading to great ideation, conceptualization, and solutioning in such a short span of time”, said Ankit Jain, our Head of Engineering. This hackathon not only reinforced the belief in our brilliant talent pool at MatchMove but also opened up various avenues for future development in the fields of Blockchain, Crypto-currency, Data Sciences, Distributed Programming, and Data instrumentation & Analytics. Thank you to our C-level Executives, who are the mentors and judges, for providing their full support and availability during this virtual hackathon.
MatchMove strives to continuously innovate and a hackathon like this only strengthens this vision.
I would like to close this by quoting our CEO, Shailesh Naik, who keeps reinforcing the belief within our team that, “This is MatchMove!”
By Maria Martin (Product Manager)