Project Interest Graphed, in all its glory.

Last Friday was less TGIF and more CFSWCMHH (code-faster-so-we-can-make-happy-hour) as Socialize held its first ever company hackathon!

Our team was busy hacking away from 8:30am until our impromptu project, dubbed “Interests Graphed”, went live at 5:09pm. Interests Graphed is an interactive map that allows developers to cross-section Socialized app user ID’s to reveal similar interests. The proof is in the data pudding; there’s a community inside each app waiting to be unleashed.

So what’s a hackathon really like, anyway? Here’s a not-so-technical perspective from a not-so-technical participant:

  • 8:30-8:51am: Scarf hashbrowns. Figure out what we’re working on—a visual Interest Graph. BAM!
  • 9am: People divide into “front-end” and “back-end” rooms to start coding. In the front-end room, people get busy with GitHub and Google App Engine.

    Inside the minds of developers.

  • 9:26am: The whiteboard is a scribble of ideas. There’s a method to the messiness.
  • 10:01am: Check out the back-end room, where they’re generating user data for the graphs. Intense focus, eerily quiet. I back out slowly.
  • 10:25am: We have a logo, basic layout, and bubble representation of a person’s interests by platform.
  • 10:27am: I’m pulled out to make myself useful beyond noting each move, breath and Diet Dr. Pepper sip taken during this hackathon.
  • 1:57pm: Checking back in. The back room is about to push to production! Apparently they’ve done a month’s worth of work in 5 hours. Crazy.
  • Sometime between 1:57pm and 2:37pm: The Interest Graph is coming together. It’s not just informative, it’s fun to play with too.
  • 2:37pm: They’re on the brink of pushing the data out to production as a release.
  • 5:09pm: And we’re done! Project Interests Graphed on the site, alive and kicking.

The back room: bringing new meaning to "glued to the screen".

This hackathon wasn’t just for us to churn out a cool project, but to see what we’re capable of under intense pressure (as if working at a startup isn’t intense enough). And our team killed it! Now we have a great representation of how a user’s app profile gives insight into their interests—and how powerful that information is.

Plus we got free McDonald’s. Yup, it was a good day.

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