Redefining Work: A Recap of Our First Community Hackathon

This weekend, 150 developers joined us at Box HQ to redefine work, and they produced some clever, creative and downright useful applications. We were joined by TokBox, Twilio,, Mashery, Parse, SendGrid and Firebase, all of which provided not only prizes, but also training in how to use their services, which in turn helped to power the fantastic projects that were built.

We had an excellent keynote that featured Drew Olanoff of The Next Web interviewing first Adam Pisoni, CTO and Cofounder of Yammer, and Jason Green, General Partner at Emergence Capital, then Jeff Lawson, CEO and Cofounder of Twilio. They offered insight into what it takes to create a great enterprise software company and the power of APIs in building the next generation of business applications, which left our developers inspired and ready to start hacking!

And hack they did, many of them straight through the night. Fueled by pizza, waffles, corn dogs and a 4am visit from our CEO Aaron Levie, they produced projects that were demoed live to our panel of judges – Our CEO Aaron Levie; Danielle Morrill, Cofounder of Referly; James Yu, Cofounder of Parse and Jai Das, Managing Director of SAP Ventures.

They selected our winner - OMGHelp, an application to improve the technical support business. By allowing the customer to use their smartphone's camera to show the tech support representative what they're doing, OMGHelp has the power to speed up calls and improve customer satisfaction. Its feature set is even deeper than that - you can see more by checking out their demo video.

Aside from being a fun way for developers to learn about new APIs and spend their weekend building cool projects, hackathons teach us a larger lesson, which Jeff Lawson summarized perfectly in his keynote. He referred to Twilio as a tool in the developer's toolbelt, enabling them to quickly and easily add telephony to their application. Every one of the other companies that joined us provided another tool to our hackers - video chat from TokBox, real-time interaction from Firebase and of course document management and collaboration from our own API.

Each of these tools saves the developers from having to recreate these pieces of functionality if they want to include them in their own app. This saves time, and not a trivial amount - the difference in time between a developer having to build telephony themselves versus use the Twilio API isn't hours, it's weeks. Those are weeks that can be spent innovating instead of reinventing the wheel. That, above all, is why we decided to host this hackathon – it gives developers a chance to spend a full weekend being creative and innovative, and that's something that we'll always get behind.

For more on our hackathon and the results, check out our partners' blogs:


Neil Mansilla of Mashery’s Storify: