Pingdom Hack Day 2016: Born to Hack

Here at Pingdom, we’re a diverse and varied bunch – if you put us all in the same room, it would be like a giant game of Who’s Who, what with all the funny mustaches, haircuts and questionable taste in shoes we all have. But here we all have one thing in common: we were Born to Hack. Recently we held our first Hack Day of 2016 at our HQ in Västerås to get away from everyday work, to have fun and experiment, collaborate and most of all, be creative. The rules were simple: come up with, design and try to build a project of your choosing, all within 8 hours.

We’ve brought together the good, the bad and the ugly of our hack day, all wrapped up in this nice video:

We saw projects ranging from a browser plugin for Pingdom, to a brand-spanking-new app for making your monitoring easy, to having a go at visualizing our uptime check data as sounds (watch this space for this summer’s anthem).

Team talk
With some bright minds working on over 10 projects over the day, great things were bound to happen but as with everything, there are always a few that are the best. We’d like share with you the three projects that we voted best in their respective categories:

Best technical feat in 8 hours

Pingdom browser extension for Chrome

‘Team Nalle’ came up with the idea of having a mini My Pingdom is your browser. Sometimes you want to be able to monitor your checks at a glance, without having to log in to the platform and the Pingdom extension for Chrome achieved just that. In just 8 hours, we had a fully functional browser extension that would show you the status of all of your checks and simple way of adding additional checks directly from the browser.

Most creative project

Melodious graphs

We’re the kind of people who get really excited by data, and especially so when it’s presented in a nice graph. So it was the logical next step for one of our teams, who decided to see what would happen if our graphs could sing. We’ll spare you the deep technical details but by essentially taking our aggregated Uptime check data and converting it into tones. We imagined uplifting symphonies, or at least something that resembled an outtake from Close Encounters of the Third Kind. Sadly, the reality was closer to the mating calls of humpback whales.

However, regardless of the outcome, it pushed the boundaries of how we currently present data and how we’ll come to do so in the future. And it was an absolute laugh to listen to.

Most valuable project

Pingdom integration with Slack

We like it when a project comes together and we think no project was as well thought out and put together as this one. Let’s face it. If you work at a desk nowadays, the chances are that you’re using slack to communicate. ‘Team Slackers’ quickly saw the potential of being able to control your Pingdom dashboard directly from Slack. Via Slack commands, you could bring up the current status of an Uptime check, run a Page Speed check on your page or get a simple overview over everything in your dashboard. The team even had the time to put together a custom Slackbot skin for it!

FILIP S_working

Regardless of whether the project had real-world potential or not, Hack Day allowed us to let our hair down, remind us to think outside the box and share a few beers at the end – some of even got brand new (and slightly embarrassing) nicknames as a result!

By working with colleagues we might not usually work with in our day-to-day, we were able to see things from other perspectives – something we think is always healthy.

Aside from just having fun and tinkering with things, we ended the day as a stronger team and a stronger company and with a few possible new features in the pipeline.

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