The 2015 ZEFR Hackathon:
How Can We Gain Greater Insight on Creators?

To further innovation and product development, ZEFR hosted an internal hackathon last weekend. It started at 10am on Friday June 12th and lasted until the project presentations at 6pm on Saturday June 13th. It provided ZEFR engineers a chance to show off their skills in a friendly competition against coworkers as they attempted to see who could come up with the best “hack.” Teams consisted of up to five people and were encouraged to include at least one non-engineer. While there was a theme (“How can we gain greater insight on creators?”), any project that benefited a business-use case, or culture and life at ZEFR, was considered.

Highlights

Hard work and perseverance were on full display, as teams worked through the night, some even sacrificing sleep in order to complete their projects on time.

“My team stayed overnight in the warehouse and only slept about three hours. We worked down to the wire and thought our app wasn’t going to work at all, at like 5:50pm, with presentations starting at 6pm. After many changes to our code, scrapping entire implementations and starting over, it was just fun to be in the foxhole with the other guys on my team, plugging away toward a common goal and constantly bouncing ideas off each other.”
-Guillaume Chorn, Software Engineer.

Hackathon #1

Not every project was approached in a traditional manner. A few engineers “experimented” with their beverage intake in an endeavor to see if productivity improved as a result. Their risk seemed to pay off quite nicely.

“After enjoying a few drinks at Willie Jane, Noah and I knocked out the ZEFR-Train-Station in about six hours of buzzed dev time. We stayed till 12:30am and then deployed it successfully. Ballmer Curve Achieved.”
-Kevin Martin, Front End Engineer.

One engineer took advantage of the opportunity to gain experience in an area in which they were not as familiar.

“I went into the hackathon with only a smidgen of front-end experience and picked the group that was arguably the most ambitious and technical, but I learned a lot and had fun despite being tired and braindead by the end of it.”
-Alex Barrera, Quality Assurance Analyst.

Team-bonding was an added benefit to the process, as the engineers got to know the people they were working with a little better.

“The hackathon helped me build more respect for the people I work with. Two days of struggling to get a product up and running was really eye opening for me. It really showed how bright the people are at ZEFR.”
-Vincent Cheung, Front End Engineer.

Hackathon #4

Overall, the judges were generally impressed at the overwhelming display of industrious work.

“I came, I saw, I marveled.”
-Brandon Folkman, Judges Panel

Awards

Overall Winner: Rod Afshar, Stephen Krewson, Ushma Bhatt, and Nick Rotondo for ReelFly, a Twitch channel tracking app.
Founder’s Pick: Kelly Gajewski, Jack Latourette, and Ted Chung for Gossamer, an influencer engagement tracker across social platforms.
Most Technically Ambitious: Wes Tanner, Alex Maldonado, Travis Johnson, Brian Ragazzi, and Warin Isvilanonda for facial recognition software visualization.
Most Creative: Steven Liu, Vincent Cheung and Guillame Chorn with The War Room Kill Cam and Leaderboard, a way to record gaming that occurs in the new ZEFR War Room (aka, Game Room.)
Most Likely to Get Funded (Most Polished): Kevin Shiue for Heimdall, a code review dashboard for Github.



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