Yahoo! Hack Day tomorrow, and some of my inspirations

Tomorrow at noon, we kick off our fourth Hack Day at Yahoo! It runs from noon tomorrow until noon Friday, followed by demos Friday afternoon and a party. As I write this, I am fielding questions from Yahoo hackers who are planning to stay here all night tomorrow night putting together their hacks. Awesome.

We’ve now had two (1, 2) in Santa Clara and one in Bangalore. Hack Day #5 happens in Bangalore on July 4th, followed closely by the pan-European EU Hack Day in London on July 6th. This thing has serious legs around Yahoo! Terry Semel and Jerry Yang presented Hack Day awards personally in Bangalore (see the Flickr photo — there are close to 200 photos tagged hackday on Flickr now — expect more this week). During the Friday demos, C-level execs will be mixing it up with the hackers (we’ve had wonderfully enthusiastic support from the top!)

Hack Day at Yahoo! has minimal rules:Tools for Yahoo! Hack Day

  • Take something from idea to prototype in a day
  • Demo it at the end of the day, in two minutes or less (usually less)

Sounds simple (and it is), but like all simple things, a lot of thought went into making it so simple. Most of my time the past few months has been spent keeping Hack Day relatively “pure.” What do I mean by “pure”? Well, it would be very easy to make such an event a “rah rah” corporate exercise with all sorts of interests trying to mold the event to some very specific business end, but that doesn’t happen. Hack Day is by hackers, for hackers. The ideas are theirs, the teams are self-determined, and no technologies are proscribed. I don’t even know what people are building until they get up to do their demos at the end of the day.

Looking towards Hack Day tomorrow, I wanted to point out a few of the inspirations that inspired those simple organizing principles (to paraphrase the famous Newton quote, we’re definitely standing on the shoulders of giants):

These are just inspirations, of course. I can’t begin to tell you how much I’ve learned getting this off the ground initially and putting it together for a multi-national public company with several thousand employees. It would fill a book that I don’t have the time to write right now.

In the end, Yahoo! hackers really make the whole thing happen, though — I just help create the context. I’m looking forward to seeing what happens tomorrow. I have no idea what will emerge, just that it will be cool and I’ll have a big smile on my face.

22 thoughts on “Yahoo! Hack Day tomorrow, and some of my inspirations

  1. I’m looking forward to seeing the hacks that come out of this. And if I feel inspired, maybe I’ll submit something or maybe just polish off my widget that works on Windows but not Mac.

  2. Not to be greedy, but are there any prizes besides the trophy? It might be difficult for me to justify to my wife that I’m going to be out all night. :-)

    Also, why are people staying there all night? Can they not hack from home? I know that Ryan is coming down from Sacramento, but can’t he hack from a hotel? :-) Or maybe it’s because of the scene? Is there going to be pulsing techno music, X, and bagels in the morning? :-)

  3. TechCrunch » Blog Archive » Yahoo Hack Day Today

  4. web.XpunktNull.de » Yahoo Hack Day

  5. Yahoo今日放大假:Hack Day | BiZwiKi.CN - 喧闹 PK 噪音

  6. Hey Norton! - Ken Norton's blog

  7. Plaxo's Personal Card

  8. TechCrunch Japanese アーカイブ » 今日はYahooの「Hack Day」

  9. getluky.net » Hack Day at Yahoo

  10. Web 2.0 - Что нового? Новости интернет проектов » Yahoo проводит Hack Days

  11. Yahoo! Hack Day: wow again -- Chad Dickerson’s blog

  12. Yahoo Hack Day Today - davecentral Planet David Central & Dave Central Planet

  13. ETech@Work

  14. IBM does Hack Day -- Chad Dickerson’s blog

  15. Stuart Johnston - ctrlclick » Blog Archive » Hack Day 2006 - innovation lives!

  16. Yahoo! Open Hack Day: how it all came together -- Chad Dickerson’s blog

  17. Our visit to Yahoo! Brickhouse « nubiq

  18. Bookmarks about Hackday

  19. Scaling Startups | Fast Company

  20. Science Hack Day, San Francisco - open.NASA

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