Early Saturday morning nearly 200 attendees crowded into the cafeteria at the Box offices in Palo Alto, California for the first ever Box hackathon.  Hackers were challenged to form teams and hack together apps that redefined the way that we do work.  A short 24 hours later there were 40 hacks that accomplished exactly that.

Hackers gonna hack

There were a handful of awesome apps that were powered by SendGrid.  Here’s a short description of each hack and a link to their pitch videos.

  • BizTeam Tracker – A way to track and manage your team at conferences and collaborate in real time.  (built using Tigzi)
  • Circle – Share and manage employee schedules.  Email schedule when it’s updated.
  • greenTea – An app that gives researchers a centralized dashboard for their case studies and lets them interact with participants seamlessly through email.
  • Trisha and the Trees – A workflow coordinator powered by Box.  Sends an email when someone finishes a part of the project they’ve committed to.
  • Walkie Talkie for Office – Automatically transcribe voice messages into text and send them via SMS or email.

greenTea demoing their app

The Best of the best

The prize for the best SendGrid hack went to Avesh for his attendance Sheet app, Verifly.  Avesh manages the public relations for a few clubs at his university and is constantly passing around sign in sheets at their meetings.  Afterwards, he takes the paper lists and copies the names and email addresses over to a spreadsheet.  A lot of things can go wrong during that process.  Sometimes these lists can have upwards of 200 names on them and poor handwriting can leave email addresses and names illegible.

Avesh designed a simple SMS app that allowed you to text in your name and email address instead of signing in on paper.  Using SendGrid he would then send the attendee a welcome email to the provided address.  To make things even more awesome, he hooked into the SendGrid Event API to monitor for deliveries and bounces.  If the email bounced, he could send the user a text asking them to update their email address so they could get the information!

Right now, Verifly is looking for early adopters to test out the app.  Join the Google Group to try it out!

Avesh demoing his app

Closing thoughts

Overall I’d say the first ever box hackathon was a big success.  There were a lot a great hack and hackers, tasty snacks and meals, and interesting discussions the whole time.  Really looking forward to next year’s event!

Swift is a developer evangelist at SendGrid who is based out of NYC. He is one of the founders of Hacker League and tweets as @SwiftAlphaOne. Follow him there and check him out at http://theycallmeswift.com.