2016 Winter Hackathon Recap

// 03.24.2016 // Culture

Last week, MediaMath’s hosted its global hackathon and what we hope will be the new template for internal technology events. MediaMath has hosted a number of hackathons in the past, and each one has seen more than its share of ambitious ideas and ingenuous solutions to everyday problems. This iteration was unique for a number of reasons—the 24-hour time-frame and global participation—but it demonstrated once again the energy and ingenuity of our team here at MediaMath.

A snapshot of the hackathon, by the numbers…

  • ~73 participants
  • 14 teams/projects
  • 24 hours to hack
  • 8 locations: NYC, San Francisco, London, Berlin, Cambridge, Oregon, Raleigh/Durham, Chicago
  • 5 judges
  • 170+ people tuned in for some presentations

Winning projects

The winners in our six categories demonstrated the breadth of projects that employees came up with and the scope of problems that they chose to take on. Here are rundowns of some of the highlighted projects.

Best In Show

T1 Pulse Monitoring
The project that won the day was the result of our QA team rolling up their sleeves and trying their hand at some new skills and languages. After 24 hours at a grueling pace, they developed a framework that does performance testing from the T1 server and the client sides to identify bottlenecks. It then generates a performance dashboard that can compare performance in the aggregate. (Team members: Ronak Ray, Mikhail Martin, Sweta Parekh, Nadine Davis, Prerna Lele, Adrian Frimpong, Vidula Sabnis, Anjali Arjungi)

We Are The World

Count Me
This tool allows those attending T1 Breakfast and other types of product feedback sessions to check in to meetings. Product managers can then track user feedback sessions for each of their epics and encourage and reward those who regularly attend feedback sessions. Apropos for the global applications of the tool, this team drew from the widest variety of locations and teams, including members collaborating in New York, Paris, London, and Singapore. (Team members: Caroline Chung, Holly Lee, Pierre Francoise-Clement, Jeremy Sklarsky, Jeff Kao)

Most Finished Product

Ad Blocking Illuminated
This script enables MediaMath to detect whether a user is blocking ads whenever that user fires any of our existing javascript pixels. Clients can use this information to expand their reach by targeting that user across other channels, such as on a mobile device or on FBX. (Team members: Mike Neiss, Yang Yang, Chuchu Zhan)

Best “Home Improvement”

AWS Optimization Tool
In deep dive on reservation with reselling, this team in Cambridge found the break-even point for unreserved, 1 year, and 3 year reservation to be around 2-4 months. They found that a 3 year reservation we sell after one year still saves ~2x as much as a 1 year reservation and is about half the unreserved cost. Finally, they wrote tools for building a histogram on instance life and a tool that finds long running unreserved instances and calculates the savings of reserving them. (Team members: Mark Danko, Lihao Liu, Ajay Laxman, Lin Lin)

Most Creative Use of T1 API or Service (a tie!)

T1 Template Library
This template library allows users to utilize an entity in a DB of pre-defined T1 values such as budget, goal, contextual_targeting, audience_targeting, etc. These templates are stored in a DB outside of T1 to allow users to have a grab bag of different templates they can apply to different campaigns. (Team members: Andrew Pierce, Matt Conover, Leif Kramer, Nathan Grouse)

CodexEnforcer exposes T1 Campaigns and Strategies that are not setup with current best practices. With 34 different checks against frequency, recency, targeting, spend and performance, CodexEnforcer helps T1 clients gain better performance. (Team members: Eric Tutlys, Varsha Venugopal, Andrew Candela, Jon Pollack)

People’s Choice

HipChat Bot
The HipChat bot turns our office instant messenger to retrieve relevant information from various internal and external APIs. Once configured, the bot could answer queries by pulling metadata from Adama – T1’s API – about performance of specific pixels or campaigns. It was also connected to Google maps APIs and a number of other APIs to consolidate tools and increase efficiency. This selection, unlike the others, was awarded based on feedback and votes from the audience that voted on the day of the presentations. (Team members: Thomas Theissier, Tristan Piron, Yen-Cheng Chou, Jonathan Ku)

Thank you!

Thanks to all those that participated, and you can learn more about our Technology culture on our Technology Careers page!

A Picture of Travis Barnes


Travis Barnes is the Technology Communications Manager at MediaMath, where he helps the engineering teams communicate the massive challenges that they tackle to the rest of the world. When not in the office, he is exploring Brooklyn’s music scene or digging through the crates of his local record store.

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