Life at Yahoo

This is what it's like to work at Yahoo.
4 posts for Hack Day

Revving up the innovation engine

Posted: 7th of June, 2013

By David Filo, Co-founder of Yahoo!

 

This past weekend, we celebrated Yahoo!’s 18th birthday. A birthday is a good time to reflect on the experiences that have helped shape you. This one is no different.

 

That’s why our birthday was the perfect time to bring together Yahoos from around the world for our quarterly Hackday. We created our first Hackday in 2005, bringing some of our most eager minds together in an all-night coding session. I’m proud that this tradition has continued.

Hackday Final Presentation at Sunnyvale                  


Hackdays are special for Yahoos -- as much a part of our history as our birthday itself. Hackers from all over the world come together for 24 hours to create something truly special. The experience is memorable, not only for the eccentricities, but also for the inspiring hacks that Yahoos create. Some hacks have become full-fledged products, like Yahoo! Weather for Android.
 

For our 18th birthday, we decided to turn our Hackday up a notch. We challenged hackers to focus on making our core products more inspiring, entertaining and innovative.

 

We were blown away by the number of Yahoos, diversity of hacks and creative energy. And, in fact, we broke a hack-to-product record by integrating the winning hack into our existing products within just a few days of its victory. This winning hack intelligently helps users find a web page when they have an incomplete URL for that page. Y! Canada News and Y! Sports blog are already live with this new feature.


 
Hackday Winners with David Filo and Yahoo Develop Network

We also broke another record -- it was our biggest Hackday in the history of Yahoo!. Yahoos participated from nine offices across six time zones, all the way from Sunnyvale to Singapore, and from Norway to India.

 

We’re excited to turn our hacks into products, so stay tuned to see what’s in the pipeline.


Happy 18th Birthday, Yahoo!. Here’s to many more ..

 

The original post is from Yahoo! Yodel Blog

Yahoo! brings Agency Hack to India

Posted: 16th of January, 2013


After the Yahoo WPP and Publicis Hack days in New York, which drew top developers, marketers and designers from the digital advertising and consumer media industry, Yahoo recently brought Agency Hack to India. Held in Gurgaon, an influential tech and media hub, this was our first-ever hackathon in the region open exclusively to advertising agencies.

Some of the country’s biggest ad agencies like Ogilvy, Webchutney and Digitas were there. What made the format interesting was the participation not just from developers, but also designers, user-experience specialists, digital strategists, media planners and copy writers.

Participating teams could choose to either build a campaign-based solution or a product-based one using technologies from Yahoo and other players. Teams came up with smart digital hacks and other ideas to solve real-life problems in a frenzied 24 hours. Working prototypes ranged from mobile apps, to companion apps in a living room experience, to social apps for voting and blood donation. (See the complete list here.)

Since this was a creative bunch, the event had its share of whacky ideas. The winner, “Y! Loo.” was a hardware hack that leverages Yahoo Messenger and enables users to remotely check the availability of their office loos (or conference rooms) and physically knock on the door if engaged! Webchutney took home the Gold for this notification system which they described as an “interactive restroom service.” :)

Digitas walked away with the Silver for their Twitter-based hack “Twinority Report”, a Tweet investigator that anticipates criminal intentions ranging from drug abuse to suicide to serious national threats, by analyzing keyword patterns. (This could also be of use to marketers to gauge or assess a new market / trend).

Sapient Nitro took home the Bronze for their movie viewing companion experience platform “Lens”. This digital advertisement publishing platform enables digital production houses to create ads in the movie timeline in rich visualization formats. Ads created on Lens can be published to companion apps of the production houses on platforms like iOS, Windows and Android.

The judging panel comprised technology, media and marketing experts
.
The event was jointly organized by YDN, India Marketing, Communications and the Events team. Our YDN tech crew was also there to support the hackers. When participant Rohit Chaudhary’s fellow teammates could not make it to the event, the YDN crew guided this Strategy Planner from Reprise Media to build his hack – an app for blood donation which helps you find blood donors in your locality. 

Agency Hack was held as a precursor to the prestigious Yahoo Big Idea Chair Awards 2012, which celebrates India’s most cutting-edge work in digital advertising. This year, the event drew a record 383 entries. “In the past, we have recognized innovation and excellence in digital advertising through the Big Idea Chair Awards. This year, with Agency Hack, we have gone a step further by encouraging innovation and giving agencies a playground to hack their ideas. Given the response, we would be looking to make this an annual event that builds on our commitment to digital,” says Nitin.

There was keen media interest, given the format of the event, with journalists stopping by to meet the teams. One of the first pieces of coverage appeared in the Hindustan Times, which is among the largest circulated English dailies in India. The paper’s tech commentator, N. Madhavan, hung out with the teams and shared the experience in his column. Read it online.

30552027

Hackswept! Inside Open Hack India 2012

Posted: 13th of September, 2012

Our fifth Open Hack in India held in Bangalore on August 11-12, was Yahoo!’s biggest Open Hack ever. Check out the cool hackers, and the amazing energy which sets this event apart!

With huge participation from across the country, Open Hack India 2012 saw over 700 hackers getting together to build on their ideas across three main categories: Multi-device Experiences, Digital Media and Advertising, and Digital Communications. In the spirit of Open Hack, there was also a catch-all category called Surprise Us.

24 hours, 7,600 cups of tea and coffee later, it came down to five hacks, which wowed the judging panel. A simple and intuitive tool edged out 157 others hacks to win the grand prize. Amod Kumar Pandey and Nikhil Baliga, who have been part of past Open Hacks, struck gold this time with Brock. This tool allows even non-developers to build very useful mini-apps for their Android devices, with just a few clicks. Brock is built on top of on{x} and completely insulates the end-user from the code, by generating it. You can try out Brock here.

Other winning hacks included:

Pictrendz: Lets users understand ongoing trends with a single look at image clusters, instead of word clouds.
Beam OS: Helps users to manage, organize and browse all their files spread across multiple cloud services, from a single user-friendly desktop-like environment.
BookMafia: A mobile app that enables easy circulation of books among geographically close users.
Vibration Reduction for Improved Readability: A group of ex-Yahoos built this browser-based hack to counter physical vibrations on mobile devices, to improve ease of reading while in a vehicle.

Read the detailed post on the winning hacks, along with other updates from the event, on the YDN blog. See these and other submitted hacks on the Hack Tracker.

This year’s Hackers’ Choice Award went to 'I’m bored'. Designed for when you’re on the go, the app picks up your location and maps events and activities around you. It restricts the radius, and also gives you the time the activity is going to begin. It was built by the team “Null Pointers” in answer to the question, “What do you do if you’re 27, single and have so much free time that you flop down and say, “I’m bored!?”

The place was crackling with energy and music, as music station Radio Indigo (91.9 fm) broadcast live from the venue through the 24-hour hackathon. Several folks went on air to play their song and talk about the event. Many developers present, like Madhurima Malla, have attended back-to-back Open Hacks. “It’s great to see the range of ideas. The demos are amazing, and I look forward to finding out what my fellow hackers have ‘imagined’ and built each year. That always brings me back.”

See photos.

Southern California Hack Day 2011

Posted: 16th of September, 2011


Originally posted on the WIT blog.  By Karen Bruner.

Yahoo! has been hosting company-wide Hackdays two or three times a year now for several years, and while Yahoos in the Southern California offices were welcome to work on hacks, they didn't have the support of an organized local event. That changed for Summer Hackday 2011. The SoCal chapter of Yahoo!'s Women in Tech group, with funding from the Yahoo Developer Network, put together a great environment for local hackers to collaborate and concentrate on their hacks.

Prospective hackers listen to pitches over pizza

A week before Hackday, potential hackers came together to pitch ideas and find interested hackers. Hacking wasn't limited to engineers who fit the traditional definition of computer hacking. The Southern California offices have a large proportion of people in the advertising and business side, but they still have many of the necessary hacking skills: ideas, aesthetic input, and enthusiasm.

By the time Hackday rolled around, 19 hackers worked on several local projects that had come together. Hacks ran the gamut from ideas that could someday appear on the front pages of Yahoo!'s sites to internal tools that would make the behind-the-scenes run better. While most hackers were local to the Burbank office, Yahoos from the Santa Monica office also came to join the hacks. WIT volunteers kept them energized with drinks, munchies, and pizza.


SoCal Summer 2011 Hackers

For another first, the teams in Burbank got to present their hacks in the Friday afternoon demos via teleconferencing with Hackday HQ in Sunnyvale. Several dozen people, hackers and supporters alike, crowded in a boardroom over pizza and beer to watch the local demos. The enthusiasm and excitement from everybody was tremendous. Second-time Burbank hacker Srikanth Bangalore said this was a big improvement over his first Hackday, when he worked from his desk and had to record his demo so it could be replayed in the Sunnyvale demo session. Doing the demo live and having an energetic audience made for a very different experience.


A first: Burbank Hackday demos teleconfereced live with Sunnyvale 

Mariena Quintanilla's hack was related to her day-to-day work, a monitoring tool she had been needing for awhile but hadn't had time to work on. Hackday gave her the perfect chance. She found another would-be hacker to help out, and her tool will have an immediate impact.

With one successful Southern California Hackday under WIT's belt, the plan is to make this a regular event, allowing local Yahoos to tap their hacking talent more easily, which can only benefit Yahoo as a whole.