Nothing beats a deadline for getting things done. Deadlines focus thinking and get rid of the distractions that interrupt clarity of purpose.
At Webdam we have deadline-driven hack fests called Code Rage: a 24-hour coffee and Red Bull-fueled innovation extravaganza. Categories and objectives are set. Honor and prizes on the line. Then the company races toward zero hour.
We’ve been doing Code Rage for years now. It’s become an important part of the rhythm and culture at Webdam, and it never disappoints. Code Rage refreshes our can-do culture and reminds us that we can do anything when we focus and work together. It also opens important new possibilities by wiping the canvas clean, offering teams the space to build something unprecedented.
But perhaps more important than anything else, Code Rage bonds the company in a way that off-sites, team building or extracurriculars can’t match. Our teams start in the bright light of day with nothing more than an idea, then pull each other through the darkness of 3 AM setbacks and ultimately to the sunrise of a realized vision. The shared experience and hard-won accomplishments restore energy, reinvigorate creativity and create a lasting bond.
We’ve just finished our first Code Rage of 2016. Categories for this hackathon included:
- All You Need Is Tools: Create an internal tool that lets us produce better work and move faster.
- Customer State of Mind: Build a project that best shows our creativity in delivering value to our customers.
- Backstreet Hack: Provide the most value with no front-end components, e.g. improvements to security, performance or resilience.
- Exterminator: Fix for the most annoying bug for any of the previous categories.
Projects are presented during two-minute demonstrations. Final entries this year ran from very practical (improvised hardware contraption with an emergency button to signal an empty coffee pot) to the rather profound (a visual search feature that organizes results).
Although not yet ready for prime time, Code Rage projects break down barriers and open new possibilities. They push our imaginations and perseverance. Sometimes they produce breakthroughs, sometimes just fun. But they never fail to create experiences, memorable stories and bonds that make us better and prepare us for new challenges.