Emirates Travel doesn't often stop by San Francisco ... but when they do, they choose Runway! And thank goodness they did ... the Nov 7/8 Runway Emirates Travel Hackathon was wildly successful for all parties, a true privilege for us, and the biggest sleepover that any of us had ever been to.
Wide-open space with natural sunlight usually fills the "Runway" part of our layout. On this Saturday morning, however, before takeoff, the super long open space, with 100's of chairs and empty desks looked like the perfect backdrop for a high school kid's nightmare before the SATs. But then the coders started to show up. Runway staff, Emirates and SquareCircle execs, and dozens of generous sponsors began filling the floor. Two words: NERD EUPHORIA!
Most civilians probably don't know that Hackathons play a role in keeping Emirates' travel technology at the top of the ladder (actually, most civilians don't know what a Hackathon is, but that's another story). This was San Francisco's chance to prove their own place at the top of the coding pecking order. 300 individuals comprising 57 teams rubbed elbows with fellow code maestros, formulating apps for the ultimate travel search experience - on web or mobile.
Volunteers and staff presented ample quantities of the four food groups: coffee, pizza, red bull, and monster (okay, three food groups). Our IT group casually walked the floor the day before the event, calmly anticipating firing up 100X the bandwidth ever needed in the building. 100X! Very calm.
The proceedings officially began at 10:30 AM on Saturday, and continued nonstop until 10:30 AM on Sunday. About half the masses stretched out on beanbags, couches, and sleeping bags, coding through the night. Looking over shoulders, we were literally peeking into the future. If Captain Kirk had walked in, it would have seemed quite natural.
When all was said and done, 20 finalists were pre-chosen to present in front of the panel. The winners CMWe, would enjoy a complimentary trip to Dubai, with an opportunity to share their ideas with their UAE coding brethren, while three top spots and a "people's choice" award would go to the remaining four of the top five winners.
The list of prizes goes on for days, but here the top five teams:
- Grand Prize - CMWe
- 1st Prize - Pathfinder
- 2nd Prize Winner: Triumph in the Sky
- 3rd Prize Winner: Beyond
- Popular Choice Award: Yolo
Are you kidding us?!? The event got picked up by all the major news outlets! Yahoo Finance, Reuters, Morningstar Advisor, and MarketWatch. So stick around, sign up for our newsletter, apply for a space on our Runway. Get on board ... and whatever you do, sit back and enjoy the ride.