How Hackathons Turn Into Products

Today is the 12th hackathon I’ve done since joining AddThis back at the start of 2011.  While I definitely spent many all nighters working on AIM in its early days, I never got the chance to work on projects not related to my day to day job.

Earlier this spring we released a major new product called Audience Discovery, and the dev team that works on the product crushes it.  But before we started investing in the product, there were the hackathons.  While I joined AddThis to run our publisher web tools, during my interview I was exposed to all of the fun side projects that we built on top of our data.

So how did we get from a hackathon project to a product used by Fortune 500 companies?  Here are some screen shots showing how a simple hackathon project evolved over time.

Hackathon Fall 2011

Hackathon Fall 2011 – Excel outputs, heaven help me

Hackathon Winter 2012

Hackathon Winter 2012 – An early test of search data and flot.js output

Spring 2012

Spring 2012 – More flot.js output using free form inputs

Hackathon Summer 2012

Hackathon Summer 2012 – Who could forget our London Olympics Project

Hackathon Fall 2012

Hackathon Fall 2012 – County Level Candidate Data.  We predicted every county and state correctly except Arapaho County, CO

Hackathon Spring 2013

Hackathon Spring 2013 – Using D3.js to output new Audience Interests data type

Hackathon Spring 2014

Hackathon Spring 2014 – Using NVD3 to output bar charts on new data types and analysis

Audience Discovery Spring 2015

Audience Discovery Spring 2015

None of this could be done alone, and a big thanks goes out to all the engineers, designers and dev ops who helped along the way.