How we ran our last hack day

March 24, 2021 – Michael Bensoussan 4-minute read

For the last few years, we did about one hackday a year where the whole team gathered together in Paris from different areas of France.

For one day, participants were given creative freedom to create a demo-able, team-based Getaround-related project. People try new technologies, explore new ideas, get coffee together and we all end up debriefing with a cold beverage and a cheese board 🧀🍻.

Writeup of our first hackday.

Despite the pandemic and the fact that we’re currently all working remotely, we didn’t see any reason to miss out on the fun. Thus, the first fully-remote Hackday was born!

The organization

A day is short and to come up with something meaningful, you need some organization.
When I say meaningful, I don’t mean some code you could put in production at the end of the day but really anything that would make this day different from the others; work with a coworker you never work with and learn he/she likes cats, discover and play with a new technology or plant a seed for a future feature.

So, to make sure the day is used to its fullest the objective was mostly to have groups and ideas ready for d-day.
One month before the event, we created a slack channel for people to pitch ideas and find their crew.

We also had a spreadsheet accessible to the whole company - not only people participating - to submit ideas.

The format

We had 32 people participating from the tech and data teams split into 12 groups of 2 to 5 people.

We met in the morning on a Google Meet and, while people finished their breakfast, did a small round table to explain what we’d be working on during the day.

People then gathered in their own Meet to work together during the day. There also was a global “breakroom” to chitchat during breaks.

Later in the evening, we had a virtual beer to debrief the day and chill out 🍻.

The results

Some projects warrant a blog post in their own right, but in the meantime here is a quick overview and some demos.

📱 iOS App Clip

Jean-Élie created a proof-of-concept allowing anyone to scan QR codes off of in-street-cars and book them instantly 😍
He created an iOS App Clip so that users don’t need to download the full aplication.

iOS App Clip

🚗 Android Auto Companion application

Quentin created an Android Auto companion displaying trip information (return date and place, kms & fuel at checkin, assistance, …), navigation and notifications (missing check-in information, fuel before return reminder, …).

Android auto companion

🖼 Cobalt Web IDE

Romain and Thibaud worked on a no-code React app connected to Android to build a full Android native page based on our API Driven UI and our design system

Cobalt Design System

Emily, Alice, Rémy, Benjamin, Hugo and Camille (😅) built a car ecoscore and implemented it in our search pages to direct demand towards greener supply.

Here’s the full presentation:

💎 Type signatures with Ruby

Miguel, Howard and Eric spent the day exploring type signatures with Ruby.
They played with Sorbet and rbs.

Here’s the full presentation:

But also, all these other projects:

🧬 Use of a graph database dgraph to detect risky profiles
👀 Use of computer vision to autofill car listings
🤑 Create a car listing in the Blockchain with Ethereum
🍕 Foodaround, an app to share recipes between employees
💬 A notification center for our Android & iOS apps
🐦 A system to analyse, categorise and apply sentiment analysis on Twitter messages
🔬 NLP on user-generated content; categorize reviews and support tickets, and recommend macros to answer our clients

Hackday Slides
Slides from different projects presented at our Demo Day

Skills were sharpened, bonds were strengthened, beers were enjoyed - it was a blast!

Thanks for reading 🍻

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