Non-profits, podcasts, and NFTs: inside some of our most exciting 2021 Hack Week projects

Once a year, Dropboxers around the world get to set aside their everyday work, roll up their sleeves, and get cracking on new products and innovations that they’re passionate about during Hack Week. And this year’s Hack Week, our second one in a Virtual First environment, was one of the most exciting we’ve ever had.

One project took on a very timely, hot-button topic that generated worldwide interest this year: NFTs (or non-fungible tokens), which are a popular way for creators to monetize their digital assets. But what if you could do that all within Dropbox? The DropNFT team answered that question as they designed a way for creators to convert their assets into NFTs without ever leaving our platform.

DropNFT was truly a melting pot of roles and experience within Dropbox, led in part by Director of Software Engineering and Hack Week veteran Ola Muse. Ola said, “I enjoyed the collaboration of team members from different parts of the company coming together due to a passion project and spending time learning from each other in a fast, rapid, thoughtful way. Everyone’s skill set is highlighted at their best, with the intent of continued contribution to the growth of DBX and our customers.”

Group Product Manager Jane You echoed Ola’s thoughts: “We often hear at Dropbox, ‘this product/feature was originally from a Hack Week project.’ Hack Week plays an important role for us to break through and innovate. What I appreciate most is that I get to meet fellow Dropboxers from different teams and regions. Nothing is more fulfilling than meeting a great group of people and achieving something together within such a short period of time.”

The breadth of experience on the DropNFT team stretched all the way to first-time hackers. This was Sundar Saiprasad’s first Hack Week, and he said of his experience, “I was amazed and overwhelmed by what I saw at the event. The high quality ideas and working prototypes that are almost ready to be shipped to our customers are among the best I have seen. Hack Week instills a culture of innovation and ownership which enables Dropbox to deliver great value to customers, and it also empowers engineers to be entrepreneurs and not feel constrained in their thinking.”

But beyond being a space to innovate useful products, Hack Week is also a time for Dropboxers to get involved with projects that speak to their personal interests. Senior Sourcing Specialist Justin Pinckney said, “Hack Week really embodied and brought out what is truly special to me about the Dropbox culture! As a self-proclaimed ‘crypto nerd,’ I was so excited to be a part of Team DropNFT. In some environments, I would have been fearful of bringing up crypto or NFTs, but here, I was fully embraced and though I was not an engineer who would be able to help program or engineer this solution, they welcomed me with open arms! I was able to bring value by bringing my true self to work and share my research and experience in this new and emerging space.”

Sundar wasn’t our only first-time hacker — new Dropboxers, apprentices, and interns around the world took their projects by force. Timothy Pecina, who works in CX Advanced Support, was a part of a project named Dropbox on Dropbox, But for Customers. This group of Dropboxers from five different teams utilized our own product, Dropbox Capture, to create short and snappy education and tutorial videos, featuring real customers and real Dropboxers. He said of the experience, “This was my very first Hack Week and it was amazing! This is an important part of Dropbox, because it allows team members from all over the world, across different organizations, to come together and solve problems.”

And the team that took home the Grand Prize for setting a new standard for how ambitious, original, and revolutionary Dropboxers could be was Team Photo Albums. If you notice a more tailored experience with your backedup photos in the future, you have this team to thank!

Here are some of the other Dropboxers who helped us blow the roof off the future during Hack Week. Thanks to all who participated in such a successful event!

Left: Miron Veryanskiy, Systems Engineer, Team: IRLighthouse; Middle: Team Freelancer Business-In-A-Box; Right: Shalaby Turner, Sales, Team: Margin Automation
Left: Team What Dropbox Products Are Right For You; Right: Team Dropcast
Left: Ciaran Carrick, Customer Support, Team: Help Non-Profits Use Dropbox; Middle: John Spaetzel, Senior Software Engineer, Team: HelloSign in the File System; Right: Team Speedy Tests with Fake Filesystem



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