hacking day at yahoo

6 April, 2007

Chad Dickerson presented his experiences with the Yahoo Hack Day at Etech 2007. This post can be fairly short. Yahoo regularly organizes internal hack days to get developers together to work on quick prototypes or demonstrations. There are just a few rules:

  • it’s about building stuff, not about powerpoint
  • the day goes for 24 hours, starts at 12am on one day, and ends at 12a, the next day with presentation to collegues and management (no powerpoint!)
  • presentations last 90 seconds
  • there are no upfront reviews
  • and basically, that’s it!

At Yahoo this results in hundreds of prototypes. Results are that a lot of people get to know new collegues, because they do not all work on prototypes with their direct collegues. People also learn from each other what their knowledge and skills are. This is a benefit in day-to-day work, as people know where to go for specific problems. And most importantly: it’s a lot of fun! (Yahoo has a website with a gallery of ‘mashups’ where typical examples of such hack events can be found).

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