Recently, we had our second Hackathon here at SurveyMonkey, where my fellow Monkeys were given 24 hours to create a new product or feature of their choosing. During the Hackathon, anything is fair game—including new product features, new internal tools, and new workflows. At the end of the 24 hours, each team presented their project to our esteemed panel of judges (as well as the rest of the company), who picked the winners.
Our first Hackathon was hard to beat with all the amazing ideas people had for their projects. We were a little concerned that the second Hackathon would be a smaller, more lackluster affair, having already scratched the itch 9 months prior. Instead, we essentially doubled our numbers with about twice as many participants, and the competition was fierce.
We’re all pretty impressed with the concepts created and wanted to share them with you. While almost all of these projects were actually functional when the Hackathon ended, we haven’t actually put any of these into production….yet. They’re all still just concepts, but stay tuned and see if your favorite hack makes it onto the SurveyMonkey site.
Without further ado, the teams and projects of the 2012 Hackthon:
Team Emperor Tamarins
Team Emperor Tamarins built a “true” Twitter collector for SurveyMonkey. By allowing users to add a Twitter hashtag to a survey question, they could turn live tweets into survey responses. They could collect full text of tweets in an open-ended question, or search for answer options in a multiple-choice question. They built a UI to input a hashtag and to request collection of responses from Twitter, as well as a back-end that collected data from the Twitter API and processed tweets, searching for hashtags and answer options and entering the results into SurveyMonkey survey responses
Team Kelsey’s Mom In-Law
The Business Intelligence Team not only joined the Hackathon for the first time, but also took one of the prizes. They used the Splunk (website data) to provide even more insights about how SurveyMonkey customers use the site—such as time spent on particular pages like the help center or the pricing page—and integrated the data into our Sharepoint platform for easy access.
Team Map It!
Team Map It! built on an idea started by Team Pinkeye in the 2011 Hackathon and moved it closer to being production ready—adding a map view to the new Analyze tool set. The finished work displayed a new “World Map View” tab along with Question Summaries and Individual Responses, showed all the survey respondents on a Google map (in near real-time), displayed the location of the survey author, displayed the respondent meta data in a bubble from each respondent pin with a link to the respondent’s full survey response, and displayed regional meta data in two charts below the map — “Top 5 countries” and “Top 5 cities”
Team Bonobo solved a question that our customers ask: “How do I get feedback on my survey before I send it out?” We’ve heard from customers they have to write drafts in Word, send emails, or print it out to get the feedback. The Bonobo team product, SurveyMonkey Collaborate, allows users to share a link, which enables collaboration tools within a survey. Users can then annotate the survey with any feedback, which appears to other reviewers in real time.
Team Quick Response
Team Quick Response added QR (quick response) Codes as a survey collector option. This collector generates a QR code for each individual survey, making it easy to add the codes to printed documents, which allows people with smartphones to quickly scan and take surveys.
Team SurveyMonkey Says
Team SurveyMonkey Says is a Web 2.0 take on the classic game show Family Feud, where players try to guess the most common answers to questions asked by SurveyMonkey Audience customers. SurveyMonkey Says…this game is a winner!
Team Room Busters
Team RoomBusters tackled a pretty serious problem here at the Monkey: finding available conference rooms. This awesome hack was built into the integration on the Exchange API so all conference room bookings were visible. And the best part—it all works on mobile platforms!
Team Standard Deviants
Team Standard Deviants provides customers the ability to see numeric data in statistical distribution form, with data outside specified control limits highlighted. Data was charted in our new Analyze beta to show data that was inside and outside of control limits.
Offering direct incentives for people to take surveys can have a variety of side effects, including encouraging participants to misrepresent themselves. This can degrade response quality and may lead to bad decisions. Team TrueSimian’s Hackathon project, No Evil Monkeys! (code name: WhoYou), leverages the power of Scala and Facebook’s Graph API to find and neutralize these “evil monkeys.”
Team Disco Ninjas
Team EventMonkey built an online web application that allows users to create events and send invitations to contacts. The site also allows for pre-registration forms, post-event surveys and post-event rewards for attendees.
Team n00bz created a way for users to take a survey and “automagically” upload demographic information from Facebook. With this demographic information they were able to then compare how specific regions answered questions. This information could be useful in predicting survey results, so perhaps in a situation like the upcoming election, this feature could allow candidates to understand where they should spend more time campaigning.
Team MonkeyBusiness tackled another request we often hear from customers: the ability to give feedback on a survey’s results. By adding a message board to a survey’s results, anyone can discuss and collaborate results in real time.
Team Control Freaks
Team Control Freaks built an internal tool that stores database updates. This allows for stored procedures and schema changes to be built into source control and enables the ability for roll-forward and rollback deployments.
Given the number of Monkeys in our Palo Alto office, Team Sisyphus worked on an easy way to find where people sit. The product includes the ability to search by name (or conference room), and the result is a grid that shows the location of where a person sits, and includes their phone number extension.
Team Mike Sela
Team Mike Sela (the one man wonder) did some deep data wrangling to determine what questions and answer options can skew results.
Team Just Jayd3e
Team Just Jayd3e addressed an issue near and dear to our Monkey hearts: foosball. The game room is quite possibly busier than our kitchen and with so much traffic, this team decided to build a foosball reservation and tracking system—allowing Monkeys to reserve their game time and showcase the winners.
Team Mo Money, Mo Travel
Team Mo Money, Mo Travel also built an internal tool—one that had our finance team cheering. Mo Money Mo Travel is a workflow tool that makes it easy to submit expense reports, including the uploading of images like receipts and manager signoff.
Ever hear of Facebook? Monkeybook is like that, but with Monkeys. This team built a company directory including space for a profile picture, contact information, and other important information like each employee’s favorite monkey.
So, as you can see, there were a ton of great ideas that came out of this year’s Hackathon—several helpful internal tools, some exciting customer-facing products, and lots of outstanding logos.
Which hack is your favorite? Do you have any suggestions for our next Hackathon? Let us know in the comments section below.