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MoEHacks 2.0 – Creating a culture of innovation and collaboration, even from a distance

  • Updated: 11 October 2021
  • 4 min read

For my first blog here, I thought it’s my perfect opportunity to talk about something that I managed very recently at MoEngage, and what an event it turned out to be!

MoEHacks 2.0, our flagship Tech Hackathon 2021

The adrenaline rush, the sleep deprivation, the pizzas, and the late-night huddles, the last two hours, and the rush to meet the deadlines - you feel it all in those 36 hours of a hackathon. And we had a very similar journey this time last month at MoEngage where 23 teams battled it out to win the ultimate winning crown of the second edition of our tech hackathon - ALL REMOTE!

For us, the idea behind MoEHacks has always been to encourage creativity and innovation in Tech at MoEngage. We plan to bring minds together, identify new and disruptive technologies across disciplines and solve the challenges faced in customer engagement. And this year, the challenge was exponential because we had to bring this entire collaborative effort together on a Zoom screen!

“Great things in business are never done by one person, They are done by a team of people” ~ Steve Jobs. and this was an invitation for everyone to inspire and innovate.  

36 hours of collaboration, innovation, and fun

The countdown started at IST 12 PM with mentors doing rounds with their assigned teams and getting to understand what the teams plan to do with their ideas. Around 150 folks started their quest to soar their wings to inspire and innovate. And each team was assigned a mentor - a senior leader from the teams who would be guiding the teams through the ideation to the execution stage.

The ideas presented were crazy yet awesome! The need to innovate and tweak in a challenging environment is what a hackathon offers and is what we saw yet again. With a diverse set of folks from the product, quality, and business teams came in diverse inputs and improvements to ideas and hacks. The event brought together people who innovate and people who would be using the innovation to make something new or better and thus collaboration was the key to ace this.

Of course, you cant be in a hackathon and not having fun! Because we had loads of it. Our zoom room was open throughout the hackathon hours and we had multiple short connects to unwind and relax. We had a couple of folks do a musical gig for us too. We surely missed the pizzas and the red bulls on the floors too - however, we promised we will make it happen in person soon! And besides all these - we had a fun Hackathon starter vibe goodie bag shipped to everyone participating in the event too. After all, what is a hackathon without the black tee-shirt that says "Crack it-Hack it"

The race against time

Over 23 teams trying to get their hacks and prototypes ready in 36 hours at a crazy speed is itself a spectacle! Hackathons are a quick route to innovation and speed is the most important factor. The hackers motivated by their ideas while collaborating with the team members and getting ready for the final presentations - it all boils down to that 5 minutes of presentation in front of the judging panel. We had our Co-Founder & CEO Ravi, Co-Founder & CTO Yashwanth along with our Senior Vice President of Product Nalin Goel in the panel eagerly waiting to evaluate the ideas and the hacks. And it wasn't easy even for them to choose the top teams! It took a lot of deliberation to arrive at the winning teams - of the hackathon and the other categories that we had. 

From uploading fresh content for your customers on your app every day as "stories" to Hacking the Sentry Flag Management & the Alert system at MoEngage - Notifications that are 2x faster with 70% fewer machines-also with a reduction in CPU (50%) and Memory Footprint (75%)  to Building time-series forecasting as a service that will be helpful to forecasts all kinds of time-series data - we had some amazing ideas and impacts coming out of the hacks presented. Besides the 1st 3 winning positions, we also opened the doors to ideas in different categories that impact business, save maximum cost, and improve developer productivity.

This jam session was at 9.30 in the night just after the dinner break we took during the hackathon 24 hours!

The event saw a lot of unexpected getting done and a lot of impossibles getting executed. Personally, this was a remarkable journey even for me - getting to conduct my first remote hackathon with 150 plus members was an idea we started with, and looking back I know this was a success. Lesson learned: A Hackathon can successfully drive innovation and collaboration - even from a distance! We all loved the ideas that came out of this hackathon and a lot of them are going to be integral to MoEngage tech very soon. I congratulate the winners and appreciate the efforts put all together by everyone who participated and helped me in the run. Cheers to MoEHacks 2.0 and looking forward to the next edition very soon. May the hacks be with you :)

The last 7 years have seen a tremendous scale at tech at MoEngage. One could check out one of our earlier blogs to understand why we take pride in the scale that we work on. We are also looking to expand our Engineering teams and would love to add some passionate folks here - do check out our open opportunities at moengage.recruiterbox.com

 

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About The Author
Sujit is Engineering Manager at MoEngage with over 10 years of experience in the industry specializing in open-source technologies.
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