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Iterate for Impact: Our 3rd Annual Hack Week

It’s that wonderful time of the year when we retrieve our thinking caps, power up our laptops, and embark on an exciting adventure brimming with innovation, teamwork, and boundless enjoyment. This year, we kicked off our third annual Hack Week with a bang, and it’s all about “Iterate for Impact: Forging the Future.”

Why does Iterable dedicate an entire week to hacking, coding, and experimenting? The answer is simple: innovation.

Hack Week is our way of fostering a culture of innovation within the company. It’s about pushing the boundaries of what’s possible, thinking outside the box, and turning wild ideas into game-changing solutions.

What to Prepare: Essentials for Hack Week

Here’s what you need for a successful Hack Week:

  • A Killer Idea: This is your moment to shine. Think of a project that aligns with this year’s theme and can wow both your peers and our esteemed judges. (Our judges included Iterable’s CEO Andrew Boni, VP of Product, Bela Stepanova, and CMO, Adri Gil Miner…to name a few.)
  • A Dream Team: Assemble a diverse team with different skills and expertise. Remember, it’s all about collaboration and learning from each other.
  • A Plan of Attack: Once you’ve got that killer idea, make a plan. What’s the scope? What are the goals? How will you measure success?
  • Embracing the Theme: Iterate for Impact! This year’s theme is all about building the next generation of marketing tech. Think AI, think reliability, think data-driven brilliance.
  • Coffee Reserves: Stock up on coffee! Seriously, you’ll need it. Hack Week runs on caffeine.
  • A Sense of Fun: This is not the time to be too serious. Embrace the fun, the craziness, and the unexpected twists and turns.

The Awards: Bragging Rights Galore

This year, we’ve got some epic awards up for grabs:

  • People’s Choice: Let the people decide! This award is all about popular demand. Win the hearts of your colleagues, and you could be the People’s Choice.
  • Most Innovative (AI-Powered): This award goes to the project that leverages the incredible power of AI to advance Iterable as a product. To win, you MUST utilize the Iterable AI LLM Library or capabilities.
  • Reliability: In the tech world, reliability is gold. The project that stands the test of time and scrutiny will earn this accolade.

Hack Week Thoughts From Iterable Engineers

We’ve invited some of this year’s winners to share their experiences and insights. What worked? What didn’t? What inspired them to create award-winning projects?

Jeff Sing (Director, Quality and Engineering Operations • Engineering, Hack Week Program Owner)

Biggest takeaway—I’m always stunned by how talented our teams are every Hack Week. It makes me so grateful and humbled that I get to work with such a group of talented people.

Here are some things I’ve learned by watching teams participating in Hack Week:

  • There are no bad hacks! Sometimes the learnings just from the effort is easily worth the cost to participate.
  • Cool Hack + Business Narrative = $$$$. Understanding why your hack is important, how it changes the story, and why it’s gonna blow everyone away is how winners are crowned.
  • Halfway through the hack, start thinking about how we could actually launch your creation (both internal reliability hacks or external ones). This helps ensure your legacy and work carries forward. Remote Hack Week is hard! Especially if you don’t know what you want to work on. Join hack pitches and use all the resources put together.
  • Involve a partner outside of engineering. Some of the best and most impactful hacks had a product manager, support engineer, or solutions architect as a member. These folks have firsthand knowledge of the product or what ails customers. Uplevel your hack by including their feedback.
  • Some of the best hacks were done in two days.

William Nyffennegger (Staff Software Engineer • Winner for 2023 Reliability Improvement Award)

Hack week gave us the opportunity to bring engineers together across teams and domains to understand and attack difficult, meaningful problems. For us, that meant providing insight into the performance of our core product journeys. In a week we built optimization tooling that is going to drive performance improvements broadly for our customers.

There were a lot of complex, quality features and improvements to vote on that were remarkably complete. More impressive is the number of hack week ideas that will reach production within the next month or even before this blog is posted. Given the scale and variety of our customers, taking something from an idea to product in a week isn’t trivial.

I’m looking forward to more hack weeks and more cross-functional collaboration which Iterable is actively driving towards.

Krisha Agatep (Senior Software Engineer- Winner for 2023 Most Innovative with AI Award)

What I love about Hack Week is it gives us an opportunity to think outside the box and ask the question, if I had no constraints, what would I build? We get to put our user hats on for a week and put focused efforts toward features we wish we had as users.

Having worked on two hacks this year, it was a ton of fun getting to collaborate with some amazingly talented engineers from other teams that I normally wouldn’t work with.

The best part of the week is getting to see what exciting hacks the teams can put together in just a few short days. Every year I am blown away by the amount of thoughtfulness and innovation put into these ideas. Truly impressive stuff! And these are not just ideas we throw to the engineering graveyard, in fact, we actually push some of these ideas into our future product roadmap.

The 2023 Champions

Now, the moment you’ve all been waiting for.

In the vibrant landscape of creativity and innovation, it is with immense pleasure that we extend our warmest congratulations to this year’s champions! From a pool of 28 remarkable pitches, 20 of which dazzled the audience during the hack week Demo Day, the winners have truly earned their moment in the spotlight.

These Iterators’ exceptional ideas and steadfast dedication have not only secured victory but have also positioned them as trailblazers in our community. This triumph is not just a recognition of hard work but a testament to the boundless potential that lies ahead. As these team members bask in the glory of this achievement, we hope it serves as a stepping stone to even greater heights in the exciting journey of creativity and excellence.

Well done, champions! Your success is an inspiration to us all.

People’s Choice

CMD + K Menu:Dylan Mahler, Elizabeth Mills, Geoff Kim, Lauren Li, Levi Campbell, Michael Seiden

The idea: In the current Iterable setup, there’s no comprehensive “Global” search feature available, making it cumbersome to locate specific resources amidst numerous campaigns, templates, snippets, and more. Introducing this feature would present a streamlined user interface, eliminating the need for an extensive index to support a consolidated view of various resources. This enhancement allows power users to effortlessly navigate different sections of the app, with the flexibility to add more functions over time.

Why is this Hack Awesome?

  • Effortless Implementation: Thanks to the React package, implementing this feature becomes a breeze. It streamlines the process, making it both efficient and user-friendly.
  • Low Risk, High Reward: By seamlessly overlaying the existing interface, this hack mitigates the risk associated with tweaking the current UI. The transition is smooth, ensuring minimal disruptions.
  • Tailored for Power-Users: This feature is tailored specifically for power-users, offering them enhanced functionality without impacting those who may not engage with it. It’s a win-win for both sides of the user spectrum.
  • Proven Success: Drawing inspiration from successful Progressive Web Applications (PWAs) like Vercel, Linear, Raycast, and Framer, this pattern has already demonstrated its effectiveness. We’re tapping into a methodology that has stood the test of real-world applications. Get ready for an enhancement that’s tried, tested, and proven to elevate the user experience!
Iterable Hack Week Winners for People's Choice: 6 Headshots

People’s Choice winners Dylan Mahler, Elizabeth Mills, Geoff Kim, Lauren Li, Levi Campbell, and Michael Seiden.

Most Innovative with AI

Generative AI journeys: Krisha Agatep, Greg Methvin, Thomas Kim

The idea: In the realm of marketing with Iterable, crafting customer journeys becomes an art of AI ingenuity. Marketers can seamlessly integrate artificial intelligence into the journey creation process, ushering in a new era of personalized and responsive campaigns. By utilizing AI, marketers gain the ability to predict user preferences, dynamically adjust content, and automate responses, ensuring that each step of the journey is finely tuned to individual behaviors. Iterable empowers marketers to not only streamline the journey creation process but also to elevate the impact of their campaigns by delivering highly targeted and relevant content. Dive into the world of AI-assisted journey creation with Iterable and witness how innovation can transform your marketing strategy into a dynamic, data-driven masterpiece

Why is this Hack Awesome?

  • Reduced Errors: AI ensures a higher degree of accuracy by automating tasks prone to human error. Marketers can rely on the precision of AI algorithms to deliver campaigns without the risk of common mistakes, leading to more reliable and error-free outcomes.
  • Customization at Scale: AI empowers marketers to customize customer journeys on a large scale. By analyzing individual preferences and behaviors, campaigns become highly tailored, resonating with each customer personally. This level of customization enhances the overall customer experience.
  • Saves Time: AI streamlines the journey creation process, automating routine tasks and allowing marketers to focus on strategy and creativity. This time-saving aspect not only boosts efficiency but also frees up valuable resources for more impactful and strategic marketing initiatives.
Iterable Hack Week Winners for Most Innovative with AI: 3 Headshots

Most Innovative with AI winners Krisha Agatep, Greg Methvin, and Thomas Kim.

Reliability Improvement

Journeys Optimization Detection: Will Nyffenegger, Nate Turner, Daniel Pugliese, Jenny Tan, Yueun Kim, Nishant Satpathy, Krisha Agatep, Sneha Dontireddy, and others

The idea: Read all journeys into memory and then search each journey for antipatterns. This will let us quantify how poorly journeys are organized and begin the path to developing best practices and suggestions in the user interface to improve journeys.

Why is this Hack Awesome?

  • Spotting and Fixing Flaws: Recognizing that most journeys harbor significant flaws, this hack addresses common issues, like processes, that consume resources without any actual functionality or journeys laden with redundant tiles. It’s a powerful solution for streamlining and optimizing the user journey.
  • Effortless Optimization: The beauty of this hack lies in its simplicity. It doesn’t necessitate intricate coding or complex development processes. In fact, achieving these optimizations is as straightforward as running a single Python script.

In essence, this hack is a game-changer, providing an accessible and efficient means to enhance and perfect user journeys, ensuring they are not just functional but optimized for peak performance.

Iterable Hack Week Winners for Reliability Improvement: 8 Headshots

Reliability Improvement winners Will Nyffenegger, Nate Turner, Daniel Pugliese, Jenny Tan, Yueun Kim, Nishant Satpathy, Krisha Agatep, Sneha Dontireddy, and others.

Hacking Our Way into the Future!

As we conclude our exhilarating 3rd Iterable Hack Week, the atmosphere is still buzzing with excitement. We’ve delved into a week of continuous iteration, innovation, and leaving our mark on the marketing tech landscape. So, hold onto your keyboards, rally your teammates, and unleash your boldest ideas because we’ve just wrapped up an incredible journey of hacking our way into the future! 🚀💡🎉

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