FreeAgent's second Hack Week winds down today, and we can't wait to see what our developers have created after a week of working away on their own projects. In the spirit of employee creativity, this week we've been talking about other companies that embrace the Hack Week ethos.
Dropbox may be a big player in the cloud market, but they haven’t forgotten their start-up roots - CEO Drew Houston has decided to hold a Hack Week every six months, seeing the event as a chance to hark back to the company’s early days when he and his co-founders coded late into the night. You can follow two Dropbox engineers on their Hack Week journey in this video.
We love Twitter’s approach to Hack Week - they’ve opened up the event to the entire company, encouraging teams to learn about each other’s work and to try new things. Twitter’s latest event featured a “Code Class,” where non-developers learned the basics of web design. The internal video promoting the class is the stuff of legend.
You’ve probably heard that Google gives their staff "20% time" - allowing them freedom to work on their own ideas during their working hours. But did you know that 3M actually pioneered this idea way back in 1948? In 1974, 3M’s 15% program helped create one of the most enduring products of the 20th Century when scientist Art Fry used his time to invent the Post-It note.
Atlassian have condensed Hack Week into a single 24 hour period - or ShipIt Day. They’ve held 19 days so far and created a whopping 550 new products - but even more impressively, they’ve started to outsource these events to other companies, including Nintendo. You can even download their guide to bring a ShipIt Day to your own company.
If you're starting to like this Hack Week idea, now think about an entire company based on “hack” culture - where employees are left to work on the projects they believe are most important, and encouraged to zoom around on their wheeled desks in search of new people and ideas to work with. That's how the game company Valve operates, and they've turned out blockbuster games like Half Life and Portal using this unorthodox model. Check out their employee handbook - it's incredible.