AUTO1 Group

One more Hackathon at AUTO1

Davide Debernardi

By Davide Debernardi

Davide is Team Lead at AUTO1 Group, heading our Milan tech office.

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Social Jun 20 2018

It's not all about engineering! That's quite a statement from a software engineer, but I do believe that's a true fact in our life as professionals: sometimes you really need time to hack things together. We just had our fourth Hackathon over the last weekend and though I could not contribute to it actively with a project of mine it was a tremendous amount of fun!

Day 1

Unfortunately, the BBQ we were hoping to have got cancelled due to bad weather conditions - thunderstorms showering Berlin repeatedly during the two days and the first night of the event. We had a fallback plan of course, so we simply resorted to it, with a massive pizza delivery ordered for dinner. If I were superstitious, I would likely expect at least some bad luck from a date like Friday 13th...

The start of the event is marked by a very informal pitch of project ideas from all the teams, that happened in one of our lovely kitchens in our Berlin Headquarters. I cannot make it to the meeting, but thanks to Lukas this moment is documented in pictures I can enjoy later during the day.

After the presentation the vibe of the Hackathon starts to percolate through the whole department, with groups of people discussing the nitty-gritty details of their plans: people start grouping around whiteboards, chatting in a kitchen over a coffee or a cup of tea. Countless hours of hacking follow, seldom interrupted by breaks and further cross-team chats, until those three delivery guys make it to Engineering, carrying three huge piles of hot pizzas. Most participants leave before eleven, just a couple of hours - and of course a few drinks - after dinner.

Day 2

Day two doesn't start with the best premises either: one of the entrance doors got broken, forcing everybody to find their way in through a secondary door most people were unaware of until this very moment. When they finally make it, they find a nice breakfast provisioned by this guy, earlier in the morning: bread, butter, berries jam, mortadella, prosciutto and salami... that's what you get when you send the Italian guy out for the groceries...

Back to work, one more day of hacking. Hours fly by and in the afternoon everybody starts to look tired, with people leaving a few at a time when they either reach their goals or simply drop the towel. The last man standing leaves the office at 9 pm, when I finally lock the door behind me and leave as well. We won't meet at the office on Sunday, though further remote work is allowed, for the overly-committed.

Wrapping up

The weekend is over, we are back to work. As the day is getting closer to its end, I see a few colleagues around the office working on their projects presentations - the election of the winning teams is about to happen. We gather again in a meeting-room and groups take turns at the beamer, showing everybody else the best of their hacks. We all enjoy seeing our colleagues presenting implementations ranging from innovative to crazy and from business-focused to fun-making: cloud-based real-time analytics of business events, The-Matrix-style error logs visualization, "The Mini Kevin 500" - ok, this one would take some time to explain, in a nutshell, it's a hardware monitoring tool named after our CTO - and, to our greatest delight, somebody built a 3d printer for our office!

We do our usual voting by popular acclaim and the winners finally get some brand new Nerf guns, the well-deserved prize for their efforts!

So once again, it’s not all about engineering, but also making crazy ideas become real and most importantly have fun together. And that’s why AUTO1 is such a great place to work!

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