Written by on 2 April 2015

TBT: Coolblue Hackathon 2014

Throwback Thursday (TBT) seems to be a thing, so I thought I’d share something we did last year with you: our first ever hackathon. The idea was simple, we’d let everyone in our IT Development department work on whatever they want for 48 hours on an off-site location. We’d take care of the food, drinks and internet access and the rest would be up to them.

Hackathon coding

Easier said than done. First off, finding a somewhat inspirational venue which would fit a group of this size (around 70 people) that could offer us a decent internet connection proved to be quite a challenge. Luckily, we came across an old monastery that was being completely renovated and repurposed and the owner agreed to install whatever connection we needed. Venue? Check.

Hackathon hoodies

Next up was food and drinks. Food was well taken care off with a BBQ, real stone oven pizzas made right there on the spot and ridiculously overdone breakfasts and lunches. We cleared out the local supermarket of their Red Bull and other caffeinated beverages. And in the evenings, the bar was a welcome distraction from all the coding. I’m pretty sure everyone gained at least 5kg in those three days.

Finally, we needed some proper Coolblue swag to dress it up a bit. We had hoodies and team flags made. We ordered Coolblue themed stress balls, bean bags, beer coasters and loads of other stuff. I think marketers would call this brand awareness.

The result? A crazy productive 48 hours. The teams worked like well oiled machines, really stepping up to the challenge. We saw people completely in the zone – despite the chaos around them – as well as lots of collaboration and team work. It was truly amazing to behold and they built some amazing products.

I brought a GoPro to stick in everyone’s face and cut up a video in iMovie (so pardon the poor production quality). Here’s what our first ever hackathon looked like. I’m already forward to the one we’ll be doing this year!

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