In an incredibly insightful article, ex Director of Engineering at Facebook, Pedram Keyani unpacks some of the magic of the +/- 40 ‘hackathons’ he ran at Facebook over the past 7 years. If you don’t have time for the full article (6 min read) here are 10 of the tastiest tidbits I clicked away with:

  1. At the same time, it was through trying to capture, reinforce, and amplify the very magic that made those original hackathons so special that I came to realize that the hackathons themselves were strengthening and protecting our culture as we grew
  2. Time Pressure feeds innovation – Constraints are a remarkable force multiplier for innovation.
  3. Hackathons organically encourage culture-building and collaboration within the company without any top-down guidance.
  4. Organic self organization results in people from across the company meeting new people and building connections that they wouldn’t otherwise make.
  5. Building trust during the good times will help your company better handle the bad times because people will feel a connection to their coworkers and they will lean on those relationships.
  6. By normalizing failure, we encourage risk taking.
  7. Most of the ideas at your hackathon won’t result in a killer new feature or technological breakthrough — and that’s 100% okay, because the point of a hackathon is to support bold experimentation and the fearless embrace of failure and iteration.
  8. Hackathons turn great ideas into reality by executing on the here and now. Hackathons push past the hypothetical and force ideas to either fail or thrive.
  9. Not every idea has to — or even should — be focused on big changes. In fact, being too focused on high-impact change all the time can blind you to the obvious ideas right under your nose.
  10. At Facebook we hacked to connect the world, at Uber we’re hacking to move it.

What is your company hacking for?

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