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Inside Knewton Hack Day, Summertime Edition

Posted in Knerds on June 17, 2011 by

Last Friday was Knewton’s second Hack Day of 2011, and the energy was contagious. (On Hack Day, Knewton team members take a break from the daily grind to work on a project of their choosing; check out this documentary from last Hack Day for an inside look!)

As always, the projects spanned a wide range, from in-the-trenches technical hacks to hacks designed to improve everyday life at Knewton. Since many of the product hacks are still in progress, here’s a sampling of some of the fun “culture hacks” from Friday:

Creating a healthier, greener, more sustainable Knewton:

At Knewton, we’re lucky enough to have a communal kitchen well-stocked with cereal, fruit, and other snacks. Until now, we’ve made do with conventional produce shipped in from far-off lands. But now, thanks to Brian and Dionne, who spent Hack Day negotiating with vendors at the Union Square Farmer’s Market (right outside our office!), we’ll now be putting our fruit budget toward seasonal, local, farm fresh produce supplied by Red Jacket Orchards, a farm in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

Knewton Programming 101:

We’ve got a lot of tech geniuses at Knewton, but we’ve also got a bunch of people whose expertise lies in other areas. To bring the rest of us into the tech fold, Brad is developing a Programming 101 course for Knewton employees. Why? It’s simple: “Programming is fun; programming helps everyone; Knewton needs programmers!” Brad plans to teach the Python programming language, along with data and text manipulation and other programming basics, to anyone interested.

The That’s Heavy Doc Summer Book Swap:

Paul organized a summer book swap to get all of us non-e-reader types sharing books and spreading knowledge.

Bike Rack:

Simple and much-needed: Martin, Ilya, Andrew and Karim built an office bike rack to help control the summer’s sudden influx of two-wheeled vehicles.

Eric and Danny present a product hack

WTF Brown Bags:

Ian and Sean are curating a series of lunchtime talks by employees on topics ranging from “WTF is cloud computing?” to “WTF is SEO?” to “WTF does it take to make a good presentation?” We’ve all got our strengths here at Knewton, and the brown bag series will provide a forum in which to share them.

Stay tuned for news about the many other Hack Day projects from last week!