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Facebook is one good example of how a company has leveraged the power of hackathons to its advantage and brought ideas to life. What started as an informal brainstorming session between Mark Zuckerberg and his team in the formative years of the company, gradually became a ritual of sorts and a potent tool to promote teamwork and encourage developers to initiate new projects.
Over the years, several ideas from such internal hackathons have seen the light of the day and adopted as live features. Some of these features include:
In 2007, Justin Michael Rosenstein created the famous Like button in a company hackathon which became quite popular with Facebook users worldwide.
Two engineers with a shared vision of developing a platform for uploading and sharing videos came up with this path-breaking idea. Even though there were several video-sharing sites, the ability to easily tag friends and communicate through video messages made this feature an instant hit.
An overnight hackathon project consisting of two engineers, a designer and an intern led to the development of a working demo of an earlier version of the timeline in 2010. By 2011, more people were added to the team and the Timeline was created within six months of ideation.
Tagging people in comments
This feature was first added in 2011 allowing users to tag their friends in the comments section. Interestingly, this feature was created and presented by an intern. Soon, this became a huge success among the users.
Time and again, hackathons have helped in introducing novel solutions to pressing technical problems and even spurred innovation.
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(This is a story written by Noyonika Chakraborty, Trainee at TechGig)