The days leading up to the hackathon you will be floating between waves of sheer joy that you were somehow able to get this green lighted by your company, and waves of utter anxiety trying to prepare yourself and your team for remote working.
After getting the location, bathing suits, and lists of local bars and restaurants, you’ll need to figure out some other minor details. Like Internet access. Enough computers with working connections to your code base. Local copies of all code and reference databases. Essential programs. Sign-off on all those lovely product ideas you were planning on building.
The latter ended up being the most time consuming for us. Refinery29 has a strong editorial voice and direction, one we want to support and develop with our technological feats. It’s all well and good to come up with some sort of responsive, live stream feed, but where will it live? How does it fit? What is the user story—how will a reader want to use this tool and what makes the most sense for them, not our own egos? These questions surrounded each product idea we had among our teams, and were met by a tide of answers that seemed to change the questions themselves as it moved through them.
Clearly, you’re going to want to give yourself some time to prepare for your hackathon, in light of all of the above. We did most of the discussions in a week, and the laptop configuration less than 24 hours before our flight. Why? Because work got in the way. While preparing for the trip we still had bugs to squash, features to release, sold products to design and construct. We were so busy with our day to day that we couldn’t give ourselves the right time to think outside of it.
Which, in essence, is why we are doing this hackathon and why it’s so important to do this experiment. We are taking ourselves completely out of these daily tasks and responsibilities so we can sit in this bubble of innovation and creativity. We’re building for the love of building. We’ve been given this great opportunity to become a technology thinktank. It’s a daunting challenge, but one we’re all excited for. And come on, wouldn’t you code your heart out if your company sent you here: