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Hackweek: An insider’s look at HackerOne culture

 |  Rana Robillard

I’m now a month into my role as Chief People Officer at HackerOne and know I made the right decision to be here. Of course, this has also been a month for the history books as we navigate the COVID-19 pandemic as a company and as individuals. 

Despite this unusual time, I have been struck by how deeply the values and culture are embedded here at H1. This can be seen in the weekly live “Ask Me Anything” where all levels of the company do lightning talks.  We default to disclosure in providing updates and answering questions openly, authentically and transparently. And our values show up in countless other ways as well. 

With still fresh eyes and newbie excitement, I wanted to share one of the highlights from my first 30 days: Hackweek! You might be wondering what it’s like to work here at H1 or curious about our people and culture. This example might shed some light.

First, for a little context, think “Shark Tank.” Now in its fourth year, what started as a simple “Hack Day” back in 2017 has grown to become an entire “Hackweek” with serious competition, voting, swag, and coveted awards to win as a team.

The goal of Hackweek is to have different groups of people get together from across the company and make something truly impactful (but not what you’d necessarily expect!). Our Hackeronies act like owners, innovate and take risks all of the time -- however, this program provides our people with special, dedicated time to explore and dig into something they have been dreaming about. 

Just what might that be? Past projects have resulted in amazing hacks to grow our business, create new products, and better serve our customers. A couple of great examples are Badges and Live Hacking Event Leaderboards. This year was no exception as some amazing new product features are now well underway (sorry, I have to keep those under wraps).

But in the face of COVID-19 and WFH, we pivoted to make these things the focus and saw some really fun, unexpected and innovative ideas that hacked this unique situation. We shifted to running this event fully virtual for the first time, and it was a fantastic success.

One team created a crowdsourced Hackweek Cookbook -- including food and drink recipes from our Hackeronies around the globe, complete with step-by-step instructions and pictures, to virtually share favorite meals while we shelter in place.

Yet another team hacked ways to keep kids at home occupied and entertained with a HackerOne Kids Activity Playbook filled with coloring pages, word search, puzzles, maze, cryptograms and more to inspire the next generation of hackers. This won the People’s Choice Award.

People's Choice

In total, we had over 16 truly diverse teams and 75 participants across the globe this year -- with 5 top teams scoring bragging rights and cash to support their favorite charities. The key to getting through this global crisis as a successful company is that we MUST innovate! This remains our focus and one key reason  why Fast Company named us the Number 5 Most Innovative Company in the World last month.  

Inspired by our Hackeronies, our company is hacking this unique time to provide our people a little extra support. While office perks sit on ice, we’ve pivoted to offering virtual live yoga, mindfulness classes, Wellness Wednesdays 2pm early closure, a monthly payment to enhance WFH space, extra time off, wellness reimbursement and manager training on managing remote teams. Again, all towards our Hack COVID-19 focus.

And that’s really the spirit behind Hackweek. Everyone can hack, innovate, take risks and contribute here at H1 -- and that’s a big part of what makes this company and its people so special. I’m truly thrilled to count myself among them and look forward to hacking a few dream ideas of my own.

What about you and your company? Every organization needs hackers, and every organization needs to hack itself. By acknowledging the hacking spirit in your organization, you can innovate faster and help make the world a better place. It is about hacking for good.

As a member of the leadership team, I welcome your thoughts and opinions about our values and programs - tweet to us, write to us, or send digital smoke signals to feedback@hackerone.com. And hey, if our values hit home with you, perhaps you should come and join HackerOne?