One of our values at Sift is “Ever Better”, meaning that we don’t settle for the status quo, and as an organization, are relentlessly curious. While I could think of many examples of how this value comes to life while working with my colleagues at Sift, our recent Hackathon was a testament to this value. The entire organization came together, both cross-functionally and globally, to solve some of the complex challenges that our customers, and businesses, face.
As a part of our Borderless Sift initiative, which is our dedication to collaborate seamlessly across virtual and organizational boundaries, we hosted a virtual-first Hackathon to bring our workforce across the globe together and to create teams that were mixed by both business function and location. Our judges were also dispersed by business function and location, and consisted of leadership from our Engineering, Product, Marketing, Technical Services, and Trust and Safety Architects teams.
This year, we had 18 groups participate in the Hackathon, with projects that spanned from identifying fraud trends, to IP reputation, and Slack Bot integrations. Of those 18 projects, 5 teams won big–taking home first and second place in both the Judge’s Choice Award and the People’s Choice Awards, as well as a Special Award.
Hackathon participants are not limited by their tenure at Sift or in the industry. In fact, Sift recently paired with the Pursuit Fellowship, a program based in New York where they train adults with the most need and potential to get their first tech jobs, advance in their careers, and become the next generation of leaders in tech. Two recent Sift hires who are Pursuit fellows were winners in our Hackathon this year, and brought their fresh perspective, insight and skillset to create a project that brought accessibility to software for those with a disability by creating reliable interpretation software.
“I’m glad that we can share our ideas and show how we can improve our product. The Hackathon was a great way to demonstrate ‘Courage over Comfort’ as a Siftie – from actually deciding to join the competition up to the final presentation. What a great opportunity to do what we love, collaborate with other team members and have fun!” – Princess Guerrero, member of winning Hackathon Team
Our Hackathon projects often wind up in our Sift Portfolio, and are a great way to innovate cross-functionally. Two strong examples of this are our demo environment that our Sales team leverages to demonstrate the power of our machine learning (ML) service to detect fraud, as well as our Watchtower tool, which detects ML anomalies and which is used by our Technical Services team to monitor any anomaly in our customers’ ML models.
Each year, I continue to be blown away by the innovation that happens in just a week at Sift during the Hackathon. Our teams continue to create software solutions to add to our portfolio, benefit our customers, and fuel the engine that powers Digital Trust & Safety.