It’s just a regular Wednesday in December everywhere else, but a special day here at Spreadshirt. Our IT crowd is all smiles today as we’ve gracefully relieved them from their usual tasks. We can see small groups of guys in aged-to-perfection T-shirts and worn out tennis shoes discussing (in hushed voices) new and ground-breaking projects with modest working title such as “world domination”. Hackers at Spreadshirt? Sabotage? Scandals? Not really; just a common scenario with our digital super brains. Here’s what they shared with us on Spreadshirt’s 7th Annual Innovation & Hacking Day.
Hacking Means Creative Research
Innovation and Hacking Day is our annual event for the IT crew to shed light on projects that don’t usually reap the limelight on a day to day basis. Spreadshirt‘s CTO Guido Laures explains the background: “Our IT resources are divided between several areas such as new developments, maintenance and research. We devote about 10% of our IT resources to research, which means a total workload of about two full days per month. The Innovation & Hacking Day is part of this time, and the great thing about it is that our IT guys can dedicate their efforts to a topic that’s close to their heart. Ideally, this is connected to their usual tasks at Spreadshirt, but that’s not ultimately necessary.”
User Berth and Smiley Diagnostics
There’s a whole range of topics that our IT guys deal with. Ben, our data warehouse specialist, has an eye on user behavior in the checkout area of our site. The user needs to enter the address and payment method to finalize the order, and this is also the time when a lot of people stop the process of checking out. Ben examines where users click next (on our site) when breaking up the checkout process. He uses a database called “Neo4j” to analyze the data and to visualize the numbers by means of complex graphs. This is how he gets a comprehensive picture of the user’s journey. This is a starting point for further analysis and improvement. And then there’s our software developer, Beatrice, who’s responsible for finding more handy approaches in the course of her project “Happiness Daily”. She visualizes the level of contentment with the success of a workday by means of a smiley scale.
Innovation and World Domination
We’re keen to see all the knowledge and achievements communicated throughout the whole of the IT team – and of course also to people interested from other departments – so there are a series of small presentations at the end of every Innovation & Hacking Day. The participants then vote for the project of outstanding merit, and that’s the one that receives the Innovation Award. This time around it’s the modestly titled project “World Domination” that wowed everyone. At the heart of the project is the goal of automatically localizing prices in the currency of the country in which Spreadshirt’s site is accessed – anywhere in the world. This project was closely followed by Ben’s visualization project.
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