DevelopHer 2015: 24 hours, 11 finalists & 1 winning hack
September 1, 2015
This weekend, LinkedIn hosted the annual DevelopHer hackday, an event that aims to foster a stronger sense of community among women in engineering and other technical roles. More than 90 participants from high school novices, to senior engineers and designers, to successful entrepreneurs came together in our offices for 24 hours of creativity, coding, and building.
Attendees arrived promptly for the 5:00 pm start, and set to the task of finding teams. Within an hour, some 25 teams set forth to build hacks that empower women. During dinner, the technologists also had an opportunity to meet several partner organizations dedicated to furthering women in technology - Girl Scouts of Northern California, Technovation Challenge, LeanIn.org.
I had the honor of emceeing the event, where I got to welcome the participants to DevelopHer. DevelopHer is a fantastic reminder of the smart and inspiring women of all backgrounds that make the coding community so great. Looking across the room at any hour of the night, you could see ideas springing to life and new friendships being formed. When at 11:00 pm one participant shouted “we have a working backend!” not only did her team applaud, but so did everyone within earshot.
At midnight, many participants paused for a short yoga session to stretch out after the first seven hours, and then enjoyed a milk and cookies snack break before returning back to their projects. By 4:00 am, some hackers caught a little shut-eye, but many stayed up through the night to ensure their creations came to life. Those that did fall asleep were woken by the smell of Nutella French toast and fresh quiche for breakfast, which signaled the final stretch of hacking.
Hacks were due at 1:00 pm and submitted for preliminary judging on their technical wizardry, impact and innovation, user experience, and the overall presentation and polish. Eleven hacks were selected for the final round, where the teams presented their work to our judges:
Jeff Weiner, CEO, LinkedIn
Tracy Chou, Software Engineer, Pinterest
Anar Simpson, Special Advisor, Women, Girls and Technology, Mozilla
Lauren Goode, Senior Editor, The Verge
Some of the notable themes of the hacks included women’s safety, mentorship, battling gender bias, and promoting inclusion. The winning teams were:
DevelopHer is an important opportunity for women of all ages to showcase their brilliant ideas that are changing the face of technology and entrepreneurship. This event is special for LinkedIn, and I could tell what it means to our technical community as over 40 volunteers--women and men--dedicated their Friday and Saturday to making this happen. See you next year!