Brisbane Tanda Hackathon 2018

Last weekend was the annual Tanda Brisbane Hackathon, our fifth and largest hackathon event in 4 years. With 160 tickets sold and the Brisbane office prepared for the masses we were ready, or so we thought. There were a few hiccups, including a production outage, but all in all another awesome weekend of hacking.

This year we decided to move away from a technical theme and went with the theme of Employee Experience; How can we make the lives of employees better, let them love their workplace, and remove all the hurdles of leaving one job and starting another. This is something that we’re spending more and more time thinking about at Tanda, especially with the release of our Employee App.

Unfortunately, I missed out of the initial brief and rundown of the hackathon on Friday because someone at Tanda decided that running a 160 person event wasn’t hard enough, so they pushed a sneaky bug into production a week before. As people started to arrive the bug reared up and took down our production site. Friday night outages are a bad time even on a good day, but throw a hackathon in the mix and you’ve ruined 160 other people’s weekend as well. Thankfully the operations team saved the day and brought the site up just in time for the pitches!

With 160 people and a room full of ideas, we had people pitching things from an anonymous cross-company chat service to an offboarding tool that directs you to the nearest pub when you get fired. There was a pretty amazing assortment of ideas, and it’s really cool to see both a mix of completely new and previously unthought of projects mixed in with recurring favourites (Tinder for Tanda 4 will be a winner, I’m calling it now).

160 people don’t even fit in two photos

For the remainder of the evening, everyone split up into teams and got to work either planning, coding, or (somehow) both at once.

The Saturday was at River City Labs, an amazing co-working space just off Brunswick St, where the teams buckled down and got some serious work done. Some teams knew what they had to accomplish, wired themselves in for the day and barely said a word, while other teams and more whiteboard diagrams than I could count, mapping out every little part of their product. They all had one thing in common though, downing tools at the smell of food.

Following lunch, there were a lot fewer questions about the best approach for the problem and a lot more questions about how much could be hardcoded and if the judges would notice. The final couple of hours really make or break the teams, and leading up to 7pm, there were some teams that said it couldn’t be done, however almost all of those teams went on to pitch what they had put together over the weekend.

7pm finally arrived, and the pitches commenced. There were 20 pitches, and with a short break in the middle, both the attendees and the judges managed to get through all 20.

Say hi to our 3 awesome judges: Bronwyn Voyce, Joanna Cantly, and Dr Daniel Thomas

Once it was all said and done the judges had 2 awards to announce: the Technical Award, and the overall Tanda Hackathon winner.

The technical award went to ETAssistant, the team behind an Android Auto integration that would notify your manager or team through any chat service that you were running late, and exactly how long it would take you to get to work given the current traffic conditions.

ETAssistant, the technical award winners

The overall award went to I’ll Get back2U. They created a messenger bot for employees to allow them to lookup shifts, how much they’re going to get paid and what their leave balance is, all with a fair few gifs sprinkled in.

I’ll Get back2U, the overall winners (+ Dan from Tanda getting his squat on)

A great weekend of hacking, and an enormous effort from everyone who came. I can’t wait to do it all again next year!