What every company can learn from a remote workforce
4 remote-work principles that can improve all types of companies, including yours.
Hackathons are a big part of The Remote Company culture. Once or twice a year our developers, designers and product managers go to a resort in the forest and spend 24 or 48 hours coding new features — non-stop.
This is how our landing page, popup and GDPR features were built. Let's take a look at why hackathons work so well.
#1. No distractions
There are so many distractions in the office. You come in the morning, have a coffee, chat with others, check your email, have another coffee. Oh, it’s lunchtime already. After lunch, you sit down to work, but then someone comes to ask for help with a small fix, just 5 min they say. You will need another 30 minutes to concentrate and get back to what you were doing. But it’s already time to go home…
Does this sound familiar?
In the hackathon, you don’t have any distractions. No phones, no email, no social media. Someone else is taking care of your food, coffee and energy drinks.
#2. You are in the zone
We always have clear goals that we want to achieve in a hackathon. And we always know that time is very limited. That's why the team is completely focused and in the zone during the hackathon.
Our first hackathon on the ferry to Sweden.
#3. Organic team building
Working for 48 hours non-stop is an unconventional way of motivating your team and it can be a very pleasurable experience.
Dopamine, known as a “pleasure chemical,” is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine spikes when we accomplish tasks with our team, especially if we are being praised and recognized.
When the team works together to achieve so much in so little time, bonds are organically created and the team's confidence grows. Co-workers gain trust, respect and awe for one another. And, a major task is completed.
The surprising outcome of our first annual Hack-a-SaaS hackathon
We’ve been doing our own hackathons for years. We love them so much; we decided to organize a big one – this time inviting people outside of The Remote Company to build a new SaaS product.
The rules were simple: Build a B2B SaaS product in 48 hours.
People were allowed to pitch their ideas and recruit a team to build their prototype. The top three prototypes received cash prizes as well as a bunch of other perks and networking opportunities.
We were amazed by the turnout and high level of ideas. Over 15 teams pitched SaaS products ranging from chatbots and e-commerce integrations to HR applications and a myriad of mobile apps.
The weekend was full of energy and positive collaboration. In between coding, there were pitch coaching sessions and mentorship meetings, as well as fun activities like a visit from the Red Bull team and coffee tasting by Vilnius’ Crooked Nose & Coffee Stories.
And the winners are...
The top prize went to a team that created an e-commerce integration with social media. Their product enables you to seamlessly upload your products to social selling platforms within minutes.
The second place team developed a chatbot with the online gaming platform, Steam. The Steam chatbot allows brands to communicate directly with gamers within the platform.
Third place was a tie. One team created a chatbot that replaces the CV when applying for a job. Instead of asking for a CV, the chatbot asks questions to determine if the candidate is qualified. The other third place winner developed a security product for companies that use multiple clouds. This IT solution enables you to secure all your clouds under one VPN.
We’ve always had a passion for hackathons. Hosting our First Annual Hack-a-SaaS has fanned the flame, and we hope to make it a yearly event where the best and brightest can come together to create and innovate.
Have you ever participated in a hackathon? Please share your experiences below in the comments. We’d love to hear your stories and ideas on how to make our next one even better!