You could sense it — the energy, the excitement, and the madness. It was there — BlackBuck’s Hackathon, HACK.kar 2.0. The second installment of the 48-hour hackathon was held from 15th to 17th of March, 2018. The atmosphere was charged with over 13 teams with 42 participants, who were gearing up to work on the crux of challenges in freight industry and more importantly understanding the business pain-points, and unravel them using some cool technology.

Who said hackathons are just for coders?

A high intensity ‘problem statement’ session with the Business and Operations teams was the ideal warm-up required for the coding marathon. The statements presented were open-ended but clear challenges. They were aspirational and the engineers had the freedom to stir up as many ideas as possible or even rethink the challenge entirely and grab the opportunity to develop a ‘wow’ solution.

The kick-off session (It wasn’t this serious)

Loaded with Ideas

Hack ideas ran across the two pillars of BlackBuck — Freight Platform and Services Platform, and on synergies across the two. Hacks included better ways for prediction of Supply, Fleet Owner visibility dashboards and Supply retention modeling. Services platform hacks included smart ways for Preventing and Detecting accidents, Trip Costs Estimation and Optimization for Fleet Owner. Cross-selling between Freight and Services Platform was one of the other awesome ideas included.

This is what you do when you don’t get a toy truck for the prototype demo.
But these guys managed to be lil more specific…

After working feverishly for 48 straight hours, each team mustered enough energy to present the solutions to the entire organization. With evaluation based on the innovative solution to the problem at hand, potential business impact and production readiness, the top 5 hacks were recognized. And it wasn’t easy for the judges to pick the top hacks (Maybe they wanted a ‘hack’ for that too…). The panel which included the CTO of Flipkart, Ravi Garikipati, was impressed with the deep business understanding and alignment of engineers.

Time to show the organization what you have been working on for 48 hours
The judging panel. Relieved that they finally picked the winners after much deliberation

The Road Ahead

We’re actively working on taking all the winner hacks (at a minimum) to production. A ‘Partner Support’ portal is already in production. Freight movement dashboards are being used by Demand and Supply teams, and some more areas have been identified to make a bigger impact. A couple of exciting features for the Services Platform are getting the finishing touches and will be an integral part of the business roadmap.

It’s amazing what people can get done in 24–48 hours. Sometimes a product feature takes months to build and then it’s a platform like this where someone will prototype it overnight. And it’s true that in a hackathon, you expect the unexpected. The surge of enthusiasm and energy, the truckload of craziness and excitement during HACK.kar resonated well with the observation, “Can every day be a Hack day?”