Every year, Team EyeEm takes a break from daily tasks and shifts focus towards a two-day internal hackathon. The rules are simple: come up with a good idea to improve EyeEm, recruit a bunch of colleagues to bring it to life, and get to work! The aim is to build and ship something within 48 hours.

Previous hackathons have resulted in the EyeEm Photohaus, EyeEm Magazine, Lightroom presets, an analog photo scanning service and an AI-powered photo editor – not to mention a host of prototypes that became full-blown features, like EyeEm Selects.

How It Works

Employees self-organize into teams of 2-5 people. It’s a great opportunity to work together with colleagues you don’t normally spend time with, flex creative muscles and see just how productive you can be in a very constrained time slot.

In the run-up to the hackathon, we asked the EyeEm Community for ideas on what to build and also debated internally back and forth on the best projects to pursue.

On the Day

We kicked off on Thursday morning, with the team gathering together, pitching ideas and forming teams. Then everyone got to work. Fueled by coffee, pizza and vegan donuts (yum!), the teams powered into the night and submitted their ideas ready for the presentation on Friday at 5pm.

What followed was a gloriously chaotic tour through the creativity of the team – each group had exactly three minutes to convince their colleagues that their hack was worthy of the prize. There was laughter, groans and more than a little amazement. After the presentations, everyone got to vote on the ideas they considered most worthy of winning.

The Winning Hacks

Third prize went to a hack dubbed ‘EyeEm Highlights‘ – a way for photographers to present a selection of their best work to feature on their profile. Congratulations Marili, Friedemann, Dario, Alessandro & Nelson!

Second prize went to the team who shipped a Lightroom plugin – allowing photographers to pull EyeEm Vision magic into their LR workflow, with both keywords and aesthetics. This was no mean feat, as none of the team had developed using this code language before. Their hard work certainly paid off – congratulations Ramzi, Nicolas & Evgeni!

The overall winner was the Sales Dashboard – allowing EyeEm’s best-selling photographers to gain a wealth of information on their sales. Huge congratulations to Adrienne, Tim, Jedrzej, Ricky & Alessandro!

As it turned out, the top three hacks were all high on the list from the Community poll too. We’re currently putting the finishing touches to them, ironing out a few last bugs and expect to launch them in the coming months. Stay tuned for more details.

Some of the other hacks presented included: a new meetup group focusing on QA Automation;  a Slackbot which pairs up colleagues each week to have lunch together; an online resource championing diversity in visual culture and a Wordpress plugin for sourcing EyeEm photos.

This last PhotoHackDay was by far the biggest and best yet. So valuable, in fact, that we’ve decided to run these more regularly going forward. The next one will be held in June. Want to get involved? Pitch your idea and how you’d like to contribute by getting in touch with me here.