If you work in tech or even just live in the Bay Area, chances are you’ve probably participated in a hackathon, or at least known someone who has. You might even be familiar with the term ShipIt, a name coined by the folks at Atlassian for their 24-hour hackathons on steroids. The way ShipIt works is that everyone is invited to take a break from their typical day-to-day job functions and explore something awesome that has inspired their creative minds. Participants organize themselves into teams based on whatever they want to help build, and then spend the following 24 hours trying to create a ‘shippable’ finished product.
This year, our fearless CTO, Mitja Simcic rallied the troops at ROI·DNA to participate in our own ShipIt event. Once presented with the idea, our eager staff pounced on the opportunity to devote a Friday night and Saturday morning to team up with coworkers that we might not usually get the chance to work with to build something new and exciting.
Our version of ShipIt was, of course, a little less structured than the original. We ended up with three teams – one of which had around 20 members (interestingly enough, this is also the team that seemed to work the hardest and sleep the least). Another rather unique aspect of our ShipIt – since this is ROI·DNA and pride ourselves on our ability to have fun – was that our teams took advantage of many well-deserved whiskey, wine, or beer breaks and spent a fair amount of time enjoying our sleep-deprivation-induced-delirium. Oh, and one other thing – we all were dressed in our finest onesie pajamas because…why not?
Even with the party breaks and despite our adorably cozy outfits, when Saturday afternoon rolled around, we had three very successful teams ready to present some seriously interesting ship-ables. The “Victorious Secret” team of one developer and one designer had hacked away at a streamlined solution for scheduling conference rooms for meetings and displaying each room’s availability throughout the day. Team “Bullship” designed a full model, business plan, and product roadmap for a shopping app called “CloLo” (a combination of the words ‘clothing’ and ‘local’) which would provide users a list of local retailers where they could easily find an urgently needed item. The first place trophy was awarded to the enormous “Fur Realz” team for their brilliantly filmed and expertly edited video highlighting why we love working at ROI·DNA.
There are a lot of companies out there who have followed Atlassian’s lead on these ShipIt events, but there were a few things that made ours a little different and very special. The fact that our employees, who spend every day working so hard, would be willing and excited to attend an optional event that would consume such a large part of their weekend is a true testament to how deeply we all love to bond with our coworkers and spend time in an office that feels like home. This 24-hour period, while unique in many ways, is actually representative of every day and week here at ROI·DNA: we worked hard, we played hard, we collaborated, we learned from one another, and we pushed ourselves to accomplish things that we were incredibly proud of. All in all, the inaugural ROI·DNA ShipIt was a huge success and we’re already dreaming up new things to create and ship for next year.