“You’re doing a what?” - Gravitywell’s hackathon

3 minute read
Polperro hackathon

Reactions from clients and partners are polarised. The responses are either "wow, that sounds cool" or eyebrows are raised and a blank expression slowly forms.

On Saturday we're packing up the studio and moving to a large house by the sea in Cornwall. We're loading our desktops, servers, network gear, whiteboard and post-it notes into Jack's van and driving 3 hours south to a very beautiful part of the country. 

The plan is to work and live in our temporary coastal studio for a whole week. Fortunately we checked that the house has broadband internet access.

Apart from a change of scenery, what's the point?

One of the biggest changes to our working week is going to be shelving client work and collectively focussing on just one project. But we don't even know what it is yet.

When we arrive we're going to brainstorm ideas for a project. Ideally it will be something that we can conceive, design, build and release before we leave the following weekend. It could be a new product, a new service or a tool for developers and agencies like ourselves. 

We hope that getting away from the studio and the intensity of client projects will allow us to be more creative and work more closely as a team. Committing to a release by the end of the week should ensure that the process is satisfying and conclusive. It should also be a lot fun.

You're just going to get pissed and muck about, right?

Sure, there is the opportunity for all of us to enjoy some wholesome recreation during the week. Polperro is a charming fishing village with coastal walks nearby and the house itself has a swimming pool and gym. It's pleasant environment for the team to spend some social time together without much work pressure.

So are you going to let everyone know what you're working on?

As far as possible we'll tweet, photograph and blog the process. We'll share any insights and conclusions.  

What if it goes wrong?

It's entirely possible that we can't overcome a technical challenge or we overstretch and can't finish by the end of the week. We'll have to chalk that up to experience and move on. Hopefully the week will be enjoyable and we'll still have learnt a lot!

Sounds great! Can I come?

Not this time! But future hackathons might be more open. We may invite collaborators and perhaps even clients.