Choosing Our Own Adventure: Return Path Hack-@-thon

Posted by Jeremy Goldsmith on

One of the reasons I love working at Return Path is that I get the pleasure to work with some really smart, creative people every day. Smarts and creativity were definitely on display last week when we had our first ever Return Path Hackathon. We took two days off from our normal routines and unleashed our creativity and innovation in an attempt to create something awesome.

For the unfamiliar, a Hackathon is typically a coding event or competition where programmers get together, sometimes form teams and build or modify software, usually over a day or two, sometimes working around the clock. Many times there are prizes or awards.

At Return Path, we broadened the definition a bit to welcome anyone in the company who wanted to participate. Not everyone who participated was writing code. Some people “hacked” their business plans or internal reports. We even had a team who hacked an espresso machine to monitor it’s usage. It might sound silly, but they learned about electronics, some new programming techniques, and also figured out the perfect time to get a cappuccino and avoid waiting in line.

So what’s the point of all this hacking? Well, we had 50 people working on 22 different projects, having a good time and learning a great deal. We also had some amazing ideas come from some unexpected places. We all voted on winners and celebrated our efforts. Some of the things people built will be showing up in our products soon. Some are just wild ideas that inspire creativity. In the end, we know that in order to continue to be world-class organization, dedicated to making email safer, more secure, more reliable, we need to think differently. That’s something that we’re committed to, and another reason why I’m excited to come to work every day.

Want to join the Return Path team? We’re hiring. Check our careers page!

Jeremy Goldsmith is an Engineering Director here at Return Path. He’s been here since 2004 and has specialized in PHP, web development and database work. During the Hackathon he explored geolocation and dynamic mapping of some of our data.


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