Freespee’s hackathon at our Uppsala, Sweden office was a resounding success, it was our second attempt at a coding marathon, but this time our staff members built a product around a specific goal – speech to text.
Speech recognition is already used in IVR systems but not always in the best way, often companies will use automated voices that can be hard to understand and error-prone.
In a bid to kill the arduous IVR and perfect speech recognition for calling customers, four teams (Stomper, Buttercup, Salty Pretzel and Nugget) made up of developers, support, operations, CSMs and product marketing managers came up with four solutions.
The winners received mini Nintendo consoles, fulfilling all our eighties and nineties kid dreams.
As the content impresario, it was up to me to observe and report on the goings-on. Here are a few takeaways from our one-day event.
It was Tech Week in the Uppsala office
The hackathon was the centrepiece of Tech Week at our Uppsala hub, we spent the week discussing our founder Carl’s Speech to Text Vision, our CEO Anne’s company vision, hackathons, sales pitches and problem definition exercises. Then the work began.
We mixed teams
We integrated members of our product marketing and CSM teams in with the tech team to form a collection of technical ability and client understanding. Turns out, it was the best idea yet. Our tech team discovered that the CSM and product marketing teams have valid points when it comes to how they create features and it resulted in spot-on ideas from both parties.
Our winning team’s idea is now in production
Naturally, I can’t go into the details of our winning team, Stomper’s development. But it was impressive, as were the other demos played during our prize ceremony, so impressive in fact that our jury, made up of our founders and members of our C suite, have pushed Stomper’s feature into production.
There is an alarm in the toilet
I learned a great deal more about my tech trade while in Uppsala, words like demo, live, delay, and mobile are all embedded in my memory. One vital thing I discovered from trial and error was to never press the button in the bathroom that alerts everyone to someone falling into the toilet. I didn’t fall into the toilet but I did cause mayhem when a very loud siren rang out through the office.
We make an amazing team
The hackathon brought together Freespeers from all our offices throughout Europe and the UK, giving us a chance to bond more as a team over breakfast, lunch and dinner arranged by our amazing Uppsala office manager Diana. We laughed and exchanged ideas about work and well, life. It was a fulfilling occasion all around.