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Hack Week at Venmo

· by Cassidy Williams

By Cassidy Williams

Every quarter, Venmo does something that I think is pretty darn great: we have Hack Week!

For an entire week, we can work on pretty much anything related to Venmo. Some people work on new Venmo features, some people work with new people, some work on making new apps… it’s a free for all. And it’s awesome.

One of the interesting things that everyone tries is working on support cases. As you can imagine, Venmo has a lot of questions coming in, both about the app and how to do certain tasks! So, everyone who participates in Hack Week spends a half day helping our support team help our users. At first it was a bit daunting, but after a while it was kind of fun working through the problems.

We don’t have to just work on technical projects. Some people work on copy for our website, some mock up new designs, and one of our engineers even threw an improv-teaching event for anyone who wanted to join in! A bunch of us took over a conference room and had a blast playing games and laughing with each other. My favorite game had us all acting out superheroes. I was Batman.

Some really cool projects have come out of Hack Week in the past. Some people have built their own laptop stands, a couple made a street light that reacts to our tests, we’ve had apps that integrate our APIs with another service, and we've had whole new features of Venmo that are now in production (and will be soon!). This time around, I built a Venmo Snapchat dashboard with Django that I’m pretty proud of.

So, what are the prizes for these fabulous projects? Well, because we’re classy folk who love to eat, the best overall hack gets a fancy dinner with a Venmo employee. For the other prizes, the hackers get to choose snacks for the office (which is a pretty big deal, trust me).

Honestly though, everyone’s a winner at Hack Week. Our employees get to work on projects they don’t normally get to try, and they work with people they don’t normally get to work with. Plus our users get some cool features that they wouldn’t normally see until later. Boo yah.