To make an omelet you’ve got to crack a couple eggs, and this year’s Spring Hackathon event, aptly themed “Hatchathon,” was a mad scramble of omelet-worthy ideas. Teams of WP Engine employees put their heads together to have fun, experiment with new skills, and, in some cases, create innovative solutions for some of the most pressing challenges identified by our customers and employees alike. 

Our regular Hackathon events are a favorite for team members across roles, departments, and countries. It provides an opportunity to work with new faces and try new things in the hopes that their project will streamline a workflow, improve a product, strengthen our company culture, or impress our customers. More than 20 individuals volunteered time in the logistical planning of Spring Hackathon during the two months leading up to the event, working on everything from creating trophies for the winners to planning a hybrid experience that allows for both remote and in-person hacking.

As always, WP Engine Hackathons are friendly competitions as well as beloved collaborative events, and this year’s “Hatchathon” theme saw teams vie for the most “egg-cellent” idea presented, providing them an opportunity to win one of this year’s coveted awards. 

Awards were bestowed to teams based on a majority vote by Hackathon participants with the exception of the Eggsecutive Choice award, which was chosen by VP, Voice of the Customer, and Executive Sponsor of the Spring Hackathon, Ben Jackson. To be considered for an award, teams had to be comprised of at least two individuals and they had to present their work to Hakcathon participants at large. This season, teams competed for the following five awards:

The Radical Hatch: Hackathon is all about innovation, and this award recognizes a game-changing business-related idea. The Radical Hatch goes to the team whose idea will have the most far-reaching impact on WP Engine operations.

The Rabbit’s Choice: Why do we associate the Easter Bunny with eggs? It’s probably a long story, but the idea is pretty unique. The Rabbit’s Choice award acknowledges the most original, out-of-the-box idea presented at Hackathon.

The Busted Yolk: A big part of trying is failing, and no Hackathon event is complete without at least one failed project. The Busted Yolk award goes to the team who wasn’t afraid to try, even though things didn’t pan out the way they intended.

The Eggsecutive Choice award: As mentioned, the winning team for this award was chosen by VP and Voice of the Customer Ben Jackson. The intention of this award is to recognize the importance of empathy in service, and it’s presented to the team with an idea that best meets an emotional pain point of customers.

The Golden Iggy: This award goes to our “best in show” idea; the one that’s likely to make the biggest difference to WP Engine customers or the employees who serve them.

Each winning team was also awarded $200 to donate to a charity of their choice. Let’s take a look at the most egg-cellent projects from this year’s Hackathon and where their donations will go!

The Winners

Graphic showcases members of team WP Eggs with headshots. Team members include Jose Bernardes, Zain Uddin, Padraic Meehan, Alex Schimpf, and Jack Haigh.

Radical Hatch: Team WP Eggs

Team WP Eggs used their Hackathon time to focus on improving the integration process for WP Engine’s Application Performance Monitoring (APM). When a site using APM moves to WP Engine, the process of copying users from the portal into New Relic used to fall on our onboarding experts who would have to manually enter each user. Team WP Eggs was able to automate this process, saving time for our onboarding teams and limiting the margin for human error.

For their donation, the team chose Brothers of Charity. The organization has a long history of organizing education and healthcare efforts across the globe and has a strong presence in Ireland where many of team WP Eggs’ members live.

Graphic showcases members of team WP Engine ARlines Passport with headshots. Team members include Nate Gay, Ty Christiensen, Mehar Gangishetti, and Dan Fitch

Rabbit’s Choice: Team WP Engine ARlines Passport

The innovators on team WP Engine ARlines Passport created an augmented reality app that engages employees throughout our global hubs. In the app, users have the ability to scan different signs and collect stamps on a virtual passport, and even find a 3D version of Sparky, the unofficial mascot of WP Engine!

Graphic shows a 2D rendering of Sparky, WP Engine's unofficial mascot
Sparky the spark plug can now welcome employees in (augmented) real life when visiting a WP Engine hub location!

Team ARlines Passport was one of two teams to donate their funds to Central Texas Food Bank, the largest hunger-relief charity in Central Texas.

Graphic showcases members of team Budgets & Dragons with headshots. Team members include Jason Konen, Kate Meyer, Dylan Hockersmith, and Eric O'Sullivan

Busted Yolk: Team Budgets and Dragons

Budgets and Dragons took a big swing, and while the project didn’t work out as they planned, team members got the opportunity to flex new skills. They sought to create a game that makes the experience of budgeting more fun. Unfortunately, building a game from the ground up was a bigger undertaking than expected, thus cementing their status as the Busted Yolk winners.

The team still received $200 to donate to the charity of their choice, and Team Budgets and Dragons chose to support Black Girls Code. Black Girls Code is an organization focused on teaching technical skills to girls across the world and increasing female leadership and participation in STEM fields.

Graphic showcases members of team Factfind Revamp with headshots. Team members include Jessica Meis, Erica Miller, Josh Wade, Brian McMahon, Mike Valdez, and Dilum Ranatunga.

Eggsecutive Choice: Team Factfind Revamp

The goal for Team Factfind Revamp was simple: improve the consistency and efficiency of the process used by internal teams to determine the best WP Engine plan size for customers. Members worked together to create an algorithm that provides better answers to customers about the plan type and size that’s right for them. Soon they’ll be able to scale the project and operationalize it across the organization, further helping our customers find the right plan size for their needs.

Team Factfind Revamp also donated their winnings to the Central Texas Food Bank, helping to provide low-cost, healthy eating options to families in need.

Graphic showcases the members of team Try Before You Buy with headshots. Team members include Erin Olson, Katie Fennelly, Lindsey Haas, Nicolas Esser, Iza Vonk, Jason Cross, Nicholas Tilley, and Whitney Coatman

Golden Iggy: Team Try Before You Buy

The most coveted award at this year’s Hackathon event went to Team Try Before You Buy. 

Their goal? To empower agencies to try different features of Growth Suite through self-serve demos, thereby showing the true value of the product in a risk-free, no-cost environment. Visitors can create and send a sample client report, personalize a dashboard, create an invoice or unique service, and more! Check it out for yourself and see why this project was worthy of the Golden Iggy!

Team Try Before You Buy directed their donation to the Animal Welfare Institute, which is committed to improving the lives of all animals, whether they’re in a lab, in a home, or in the wild.

Hacking Our Way to Better Digital Experiences 

Thank you to all the employees who participated in this year’s Hackathon! Your insights and hard work help WP Engine press ahead and continue innovating to build a better future for our customers, our employees, and WordPress as a whole!

Hackathon is just one of the ways WP Engine works to create better outcomes for our customers on WordPress. Looking to join a team that’s paving the way for excellence online? Check out our careers page to find a role that fits your skills at the world’s leading WordPress innovation company. Who knows; maybe your ideas will inspire the next winning Hackathon project!