The Power of Hackathons at Diremo • Diremo – E-Commerce on the Blockchain
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The Power of Hackathons at Diremo

Hackathons allow us to combine many meetings into one, avoiding usual formalities that occupy unnecessary time.

By Diremo Staff  •  Published on Apr 4, 2022

The Power of Hackathons at Diremo

The definition of a hackathon, according to Google, is “an event in which a large number of people meet to engage in collaborative computer programming.” That said, hackathons are more accurately slang terminology for excessive amounts of time spent coding in one sitting. At least, this is the case for Diremo.

Perhaps one of the most influential discoveries in our company’s short history, Diremo has been utilizing hackathons to complete large amounts of work at a time. Around once each week, we have begun organizing hackathons where the entire Diremo team joins a call for upwards of five hours. Our sole purpose: to work relentlessly until we reach a milestone. The series of events that comprise a hackathon resemble something of a routine for us. At a predetermined time in the evening, we all click the link to join a call. Formalities are briefly exchanged, then we get to work. The subject matter of what we work on can vary greatly from hackathon to hackathon, however, it tends to consist of completing an identified feature in its entirety. After our individual duties are identified, we converse while pitching in as best we can. When an employee is done with his assigned work he may opt to remain on the call and chat, or, as our company policy dictates, leave the meeting to make better use of his time. In short, hackathons are used to tackle large amounts of work at once in as efficient a manner as possible.

Several examples of how company milestones have been achieved through hackathons are the products feature and the categories feature. After customer interviews identified that these were lacking in quality, we resolved to address this issue by allotting a night to product development. Gabriel, our primary software engineer, then assigned us tasks that would aid him in effectuating these as quickly as possible. For instance, while he worked on the categories feature, the rest of our dedicated team meticulously sifted through 200 seller sites, identifying each under one of ten distinct categories. At the same time, we were able to deal with and remove products that did not meet our company guidelines.

As another example, one of our hackathons wasn’t even about coding. That time, we dedicated our energy towards seller calls, building our understanding of how these worked through trial and error. Hackathons, under our definition, are therefore more of an umbrella term that we use to coin our extensive work meetings. Although this definition is not synonymous with the widely accepted one, we have continued to use the term “hackathon” in tribute to our early software related calls.

In a broader sense, Diremo has found hackathons useful for several reasons. Primarily, particularly in programming, it is advantageous to work for long periods of time to eliminate the constant need to context-switch between different tasks. Moreover, our workforce is composed of busy individuals across multiple time zones, so it can be easier to schedule long drop-in team meetings instead of scheduling specific times to discuss specific topics.

Although their long durations can be unideal in terms of scheduling, hackathons fulfill both of the above quota in a manner satisfactory for achieving our company goals. Firstly, because of the times at which they take place, it can be reasonably inferred that everyone on the team should be able to attend the meeting. If not, the sheer length of time that hackathons occupy at the very least guarantee partial attendance for all members.

With the initial problem of bringing the whole company together addressed, we must now assess the work-oriented benefits of a hackathon. Yes, hackathons are — there is no better way to put this — a grind, however, such long periods spent working ensure a greater level of focus and subsequent output. Think about it: by combining many meetings into one, we avoid repeating the usual formalities of greetings and debriefs that occupy unnecessary time. By condensing our work, we not only accomplish more in the process, but the long periods of synchronous time we spend focusing ensures a more thorough product. This is crucial in an early stage startup environment where product development is paramount to success and any oversights can damage our credibility.

The process of incorporating hackathons proves actually quite seamless, and, in the long term, beneficial. We are able to come together, get work done and socialize in a fairly relaxed setting while knowing that our time spent hackathoning (yes — this is perhaps not grammatically accurate terminology) will translate into more free time later. If we find our free time replaced by more work we can at least take solace in the fact that, because we did not spread our duties out, any problem requiring immediate attention runs no risk of being overshadowed by company building matters. Diremo has always prioritized efficiency and this proves a quintessential example of how we achieve it.

In conclusion, our use of hackathons has acted as a catalyst to growing the company and moving fast to build Diremo as a whole. Through them, get-togethers are more inclusive and efficient.