This past weekend, most of the Enliven crew got to participate in Globalhack 1 put on by the folks at Lockerdome, Cultivation Capital, TopOpps, and T-Rex here in St. Louis.
The goal was simple enough, build a Salesforce based product that enables salespeople and VPs alike to more easily and efficiently forecast and interact with sales revenue data. The challenge came in when the teams had to decide for themselves exactly how they were going to process that data in order to come up with an intelligent and scalable forecast. For the most part, the weekend was a really cool chance for our team to work together doing what we normally do–ux, creative, design, development, qa–but in a really condensed amount of time with a lot of pressure and money at stake. Of course, it wasn't about the money. For us, it was actually about team building. It was about learning how to work with and learn from others in the St. Louis community. It was about living up to the things we claim to be in front of our peers. It was about being team Enliven.
Friday felt like the day before summer camp. At our office we celebrated Tết so we were on holiday giving us the day off. I spent the day packing up food, organizing cables, and stashing away a few strands of christmas lights (you never know) for the next 48 hours that would invariably blur by too quickly. Once I finished loading in the inordinate amount of gear we brought to Union Station, I ran straight to the irresistible smell of Katie's Pizza. That's when I met John Lowe and knew this was going to be a really fun weekend.
The Enliven crew consisted of myself, Jesse Dunlap, Andrew Clark, Chris Clark, and Ian Robinson. A really talented and all-around great buddy of mine Nathan Lucy joined us for the weekend as well. Before the event kicked off, we had the pleasure of meeting Victoria Gray, Joseph White, and John Lowe, none of whom knew what they were getting into and all of whom joined our team. Victoria was interested in UX, Joseph in design, and John in planning. Our team was pretty well rounded. Now it was time to figure out how the crazy group of strangers was going to pull together to make something great.
One of the best moments of Globalhack was realizing how similar the design and development processes are to oil painting. Both have a definite sequential process that needs to happen in a certain order for them to turn out well. Getting better at both takes lots of repetition. Most of all, studying how to do the thing and actually doing the thing are two completely different animals. I tend to drift towards the theoretical side of the personality profile spectrum and end spend too much time reading about the newest framework, researching the best tools of 2013, and obsessing over the pros and cons of whether I should use Photoshop or Sketch. The hardest part of making a good product isn't coming up with an idea, it's executing it.
Globalhack provided a space where I was willingly forced to plan, wireframe, sketch, design, code, write clean css, iterate, improve, compromise, collaborate, and type really really fast in a fixed amount of time. There was no going back. As soon as one phase of the process was over we were already eating into the next and if we weren't communicating with each other we were dead in the water. Working with people I didn't know was awesome. It forced us all to over-communicate with each other and delegate tasks clearly.
The St. Louis tech community and startup scene really is a wonderful group to be a part of. I hope that events like this continue to make the community feel like a truly welcoming place full of exciting possibilities. Thanks again to the good folks at Globalhack, Lockerdome, T-Rex, TopOpps, and Salesforce for putting on the hackathon. See you in May.
And of course, ladies and gentlemen, the perpetually hilarious John Lowe.