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3 Posts tagged with the innovation tag


Today Facebook announced the release of a new comments plugin.  Facebook says:


The upgraded Comments Box uses social signals to surface the highest  quality comments for each user. Comments are ordered to show users the  most relevant comments from friends, friends of friends, and the most  liked or active discussion threads, while comments marked as spam are  hidden from view.


We were proud to be asked by Facebook to launch with them today.  See the plugin in action on at or on Active Local at

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We're conducting an internal hackathon at the end of the year.  The aim is to give developers a chance to show off their programming skills and turn an idea into something concrete and demoable.  Companies are increasingly adopting hackathons to change company culture and fuel innovation, and I think this would be a welcome and refreshing way to end the year.  My feeling is we will be delighted by what our developers will come up with.


I was inspired by what other companies are doing:



Here are the rules:


  1. The Hackathon starts at 12am PST on Thursday, 16 December.
  2. The Hackathon is also open to M+M China developers, who will hack on their 16th and 17th of December.
  3. "Pre-hacking"  is not allowed.  All code must be written during the Hackathon with one  exception -- open source and active network code libraries not  explicitly developed for the Hackathon may be used in prototypes.
  4. Hackers  may form into teams of no more than 2.  This allows for designers to  pair up with developers or for developers who may not have an idea to  nonetheless participate. 
  5. The Hackathon ends at 10am PST on Friday, 17 December.
  6. Demos begin at 10:15am PST on Friday, 17 December.
  7. Each team is given 3 minutes to demo their application to a panel of judges.
  8. China-based hackers must submit a screencast of their demo to me by 10:15am on Friday, 17 December Beijing time (GMT + 8).  We will then  play the screencasts in front of the judges during the demo session in  San Diego (10:15am GMT - 8).
  9. Judges will use a point scoring system to determine the winner.  The criteria are:
    1. Originality
    2. Potential Business Impact
    3. Execution
    4. Demo Quality
  10. The winning team will win a free trip to the Web 2.0 Expo (March 28 - 31 2011) in San Francisco with all expenses paid.  If the  winning team is China-based, Jean Su will be providing International  tickets and visas.


Food and drink will be provided in the San Diego office during the Hackathon.

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I sent two developers, Jonathan Spooner and Brian Levine, to the Techcrunch Disrupt Hackathon to hack at the Mashery booth yesterday.  I wanted them to spend time networking, writing some code and having fun.  I sent them a few text messages of encouragement last night as they worked for 20 hours straight creating an app.


I woke up this morning and watched their presentation live on ustream.  They'd created an iPhone app for runners to use to play a virtual game of pacman.  Runners have to avoid virtual ghosts and eat virtual power pellets while running in the real world.


During the demo, Jonathan ran around the building with the app running on his phone, and Brian narrated it.  I thought they did a great job.  And so did the judges!  We won the "Best Demo" award, which is analagous to a podium finish!


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