Hack Week: The Spirit Behind Marqeta Innovation

What is Hack Week?
When people are given autonomy and time to be creative, really interesting things tend to happen. Maybe you have an outstanding idea you have been thinking about but it’s not a top priority project or you don’t have time to work on it. The spirit of Hack Week is to provide the time and charter to bring these ideas to life. Originally, Marqeta Hack Week happened annually and as a single day. The projects derived from Hack Week have been so incredible that it quickly evolved to a quarterly event and extended it to a full week. The time is constrained to 5 days to force you to think about how you can bring your idea into reality, instead of designing something too complex that might take weeks or months to complete. Think working prototype instead of a slide deck or UML diagrams.

Each Hack Week is comprised of three sessions:

1. The Ideation Session
 We begin with the ideation session. The objective at this session is to get our creative juices flowing, giving everyone in the company an opportunity to come up with creative solutions in a very short period of time. Pick two random words and come up with a crazy “half-baked” idea to share with the company.
 
 2. Pitch Session
 Some may already have an idea they have been itching to work on for a while, while others may want to get inspiration from others to come up with ideas. Alternatively, there will be some that are inspired by an idea and will want to contribute to those hacks. Ideas can be anything, be it something rooted in technology, or perhaps something physical that makes our office a better place. Whatever the idea is, it must be actionable. For this reason, it is important for everyone in the organization to be a part of the pitch sessions. It brings us together across all departments and encourages those of us with different skills to join together.

After the pitch session, we breakout for a week. Day to day work continues as usual and the Hack teams meet throughout the days and nights to complete their hacks.

3. Presentations & Awards

At the end of the week, it’s Presentation time. Each team signs up for a slot to present their Hack. They are given four minutes to present and three minutes for Q&A. Some use PowerPoint, some use demos, and all are inspired and innovative. Once all the presentations are completed, the judges meet in a room and then winners are announced shortly after. The categories are: Best in Show, Revenue Impact, Most Disruptive, Ready to Ship, People’s Choice, and Technical Wizardry.

Marqeta’s core is all about innovation. We as a company thrive on the energy that comes about during each Hack Week.