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The clock strikes 12. A bead of sweat trickles down Nawaz’s forehead. The team’s presentation is due now, but there’s a bug that needs attention. As the projector boots up and the judges gear up, Nawaz and the team know that they only have one choice — to debug during their pitch.
It seems almost impossible to pull off, but somehow, they manage to pitch their product and debug the bug at the same time. The judges don’t betray any reaction. The team is unsure if this bug will cost them the coveted prize.
Meanwhile, on the other side of the new MoEngage office, two teams sit dejected. They thought they had a killer idea, complete with a killer presentation deck. But they didn’t get called through to the next round.
The tension is palpable across video calls. Team members from around the world sit connected through large cameras and TV screens installed around the office. There’s a table on one corner filled with pizzas and beers, both left untouched because no one seems hungry. The Red Bull, however, is a big hit. It’s what kept teams up all night. And no, this isn’t an ad for Red Bull.
38 teams. 168 participants. 24 hours.
The MoEngage Hackathon 2022 is on! It is the first of it’s kind, built for the post-pandemic world: a hybrid hackathon. Some teams participate online, some offline, and some mixed. But one thing is in common — they’re all here to win.
This becomes evident when one of the judges, the CTO of MoEngage, Yashwanth Kumar, confesses that it’s hard to shortlist a winner because all ideas seem great.
Another participant quips that we should replace monthly OKR planning activities with a hackathon instead. Wouldn’t that be fun!
It’s true! Productivity levels have truly skyrocketed before and during this hackathon. In fact, two of the core committee members, Suraj and Nilesh, even built out a full-fledged hackathon management and participation portal in just 6 hours! The portal is complete with a coding backend and facilities to register, add team members, add ideas, slide decks, and pitch videos.
They did this because the generic hackathon portal was charging an outrageous fee, which our Co-Founders believed would be better off given as a prize amount to the winners. As the saying goes:
What’s At Stake
Our organizers and volunteers really upped the ante on this one by creating seven new winning categories apart from the first, second, and third prizes:
- Wolf of Wall Street: The product with the biggest business impact, preferably as a new revenue stream.
- Hunger Games: A product that improves developer productivity by a significant amount.
- Million $ Baby: One patch to production which can save maximum costs and improve GMV.
- Sidekick: Any hack to reduce support TAT or close a support ticket automatically.
- fireproof: Any patch to production which directly impacts customer experience or NPS.
- Minority Report: A fix to production which reduces security risk at MoEngage
- Non-tech Hack: Any teams that only have business, design, sales, or marketing teams as members.
The objective of this Hackathon was to harness creativity and expertise and provide innovative solutions to the MoEngage platform. Every team over-delivered here: most presentations seemed like company pitches made to VCs!
While the judging panel had a tough time shortlisting the finalists, it’s safe to say that the winning teams truly deserved it.
In fact, even the team that was debugging during the presentation, Nawaz’s team, won! And the other two teams who were rejected because they didn’t get shortlisted to the next round? They won too. Turns out, the judges were so sold on their pitch deck that they didn’t need a final round.
All in all, it was a crazy 48 hours where we learned that innovation in tech can bring people together in wonderful ways. Teams used new technology to bring down the cost of existing systems. For example, Mohit and team brought down costs of one service by 40% using Scylla DB. Meanwhile, Neha’s team built a real-time debugger for Flow campaigns, and Nilesh’s team added SQL based segmentation.
Everyone who participated received a cool box of goodies which included a hoodie, laptop stickers, and a laptop sleeve. The organizers received their due thanks for hosting a great event over a dinner at Bier Library, Koramangala, Bangalore.
While there were some challenges hosting a hybrid event and coordinating this within a short time frame, the feeling of hacking together with your teammates, whether offline or online, was an unmatched experience.
Would you like to participate in the next MoEngage Hackathon? Check out our careers page!