Ilma from MailerLite

Ilma3 min readBehind the ScenesSeptember 20, 2018

Hackathons: why do we do them?

Hackathons: why do we do them?

Hackathons are a big part of MailerLite’s culture. Once or twice a year our developers, designers and product managers go to a resort in the forest and spend 24 or 48 hours coding new features — non-stop.

This is how our landing page, popup and GDPR features were built. Let's take a look at why hackathons work so well.


#1. No distractions

There are so many distractions in the office. You come in the morning, have a coffee, chat with others, check your email, have another coffee. Oh, it’s lunchtime already. After lunch, you sit down to work, but then someone comes to ask for help with a small fix, just 5 min they say. You will need another 30 minutes to concentrate and get back to what you were doing. But it’s already time to go home…

Does this sound familiar?

In the hackathon, you don’t have any distractions. No phones, no email, no social media. Someone else is taking care of your food, coffee and energy drinks.

#2. You are in the zone

We always have clear goals that we want to achieve in a hackathon. And we always know that time is very limited. That's why the team is completely focused and in the zone during the hackathon.

Hackathon on the ferry
Our first hackathon on the ferry to Sweden

When a motivated team comes together to solve a problem in a limited amount of time, a certain magic happens. In 48 hours we built a new feature for MailerLite — popup subscribe forms. 

At our most recent hackathon, we built most of the features necessary for GDPR in 24 hours. Normally, a project of that scale would have taken us a month or even more to build if we would have worked our regular hours in the office.

#3. Organic team building

Working for 48 hours non-stop is an unconventional way of motivating your team and it can be a very pleasurable experience. 

Dopamine, known as a “pleasure chemical,” is a neurotransmitter that helps control the brain's reward and pleasure centers. Dopamine spikes when we accomplish tasks with our team, especially if we are being praised and recognized.

Hackathon

When the team works together to achieve so much in so little time, bonds are organically created and the team's confidence grows. Co-workers gain trust, respect and awe for one another. And, a major task is completed.


Invitation to the upcoming hackathon: Hack-a-SaaS

Since we love hackathons, we decided to organize another one. This time, everyone is invited to form a team and build SaaS products. 

The event will take place in Vilnius on the 12-14th of October.

Hack a SaaS

If you’ve been dreaming about building your online business, Hack-a-SaaS Hackathon is the perfect opportunity to develop a working prototype while receiving mentorship and consultation from experts.

More information about the hackathon