Jun 22nd 2012
The real beauty of Hatch Day is the ability to draw creativity from everywhere. My teammate and I didn't have any solid ideas going into the event, however, the creative atmosphere helped us come up with our own plans while listening to other project ideas get thrown around. Once the necessary tools and development-kits were downloaded, we were able to dive straight into our coding.
When the time ran out, we weren't anywhere close to being finished. Our idea was well crafted and halfway implemented, but the day seemed to slip away too quickly! Shortly after 3:30pm, the judges began to evaluate the finished projects. The other groups presented their projects one-by-one. A couple that stood out to me included a full-scale trip planner that let you calculate every aspect down to the price of gas; a tool to gather your friends in one spot; and Facebook integration to seamlessly match your likes with other users' to determine a hangout location. The creativity and ability involved with these projects was mind-blowing!
Even though our ideas never came to fruition, we walked away from the event with more code and insight than we had when we entered. My first Hack-A-Thon, was overwhelming to say the least. Hatch Day exists as more than just a Hack-A-Thon. It serves as a creative hotbed for all of AOL; the products produced in just one day for one platform were outstanding! Given more Hatch Days, one can only imagine the amount of creative property that would be produced. I know I'm hooked on them already!
To learn more about interning at AOL, visit our Careers page.
Jun 8th 2012
Developers, coders, hackers, creative-thinkers and innovators from all over AOL huddled together all day Wednesday to develop and implement cool ideas during our Hatch Day hackathon. The goal of the event: Come up with ideas to make MapQuest the ultimate destination for trip planning.
Hosted from Patch's New York headquarters, the event pulled together AOLers from Denver, Dulles, Dublin, Lancaster, New York and several remote offices. "What makes Hatch Days so great is that teams from all over the company assemble to help make a product, in this case, MapQuest, better," said CTO Curtis Brown. "The diversity of new ideas, community building and best-practice sharing makes Hatch Day events an invaluable part of our engineering and product culture."
When I first heard about Hatch Day and its purpose I was immediately inspired to participate. I don't know the first thing about coding, but loved the idea of being part of the product development process from inception, even if it was just as an observer. The real fun began as teams came together to flush out details of their projects, collaborating and sharing snippets of code and app keys via AIM Blast, and posting offers for assistance based on their level of expertise. I especially enjoyed listening in to the Pictela team brainstorm as they built out a new concept for the Portrait/Devil ad unit.
The day flew and before long it was time for the pitch presentations. Eighteen projects were presented covering everything from plotting itineraries to a topographic hiking map to the integration of the MapQuest API to 3G-enabled Kindles. Overall, I found Hatch Day to be eye-opening by seeing the results of several teams' efforts to innovate technology for our products and revitalize the culture of innovation at AOL. There are so many ways we can cross-collaborate as a company, but the projects that were created on this day, and Hatch Days to come, prove what can happen when we communicate openly and source internal talent.
To learn more about joining the AOL Team click here.
Nov 3rd 2011
The TechCrunch Disrupt series of conferences held its first international event this week in China, bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Beijing. The event brought together leading technology innovators and investors and hundreds of new startups. TechCrunch Disrupt follows a format that combines thought leading discussions with new product and company launches.
TechCrunch recapped the event:
In a very competitive Battlefield competition, the winner was revealed:
"After many months of planning and countless flights to the other side of the world, our first ever international TechCrunch Disrupt event has come to a close. 15 companies have launched new products to the world for the very first time in our Startup Battlefield, an on-stage, high stress battle for riches (50 grand!), glory (press coverage!), the much coveted Disrupt Cup, and all the open doors you could ever desire."
To learn more about the event, please visit the official TechCrunch Disrupt Beijing site.
"Without further ado, the winner is... OrderWithMe!
OrderWithMe is a group buying system meant to help Western small business owners by drastically simplifying the process of acquiring Chinese-made goods in bulk. By splitting orders (and simultaneously removing a vast majority of the middle men involved), OrderWithMe allows shops to acquire any size shipment of these lower-priced goods, as opposed to the usual minimum order of 100+."