Hack Week #4: From Dublin to Dortmund

by Humberto Corona - 18 Dec 2015

Hack Week #4 is the first for most of us who work in Zalando’s Fashion Insights Centre in Dublin, which opened earlier this year. Our crew has heard a lot about how fun and creative past HWs in Berlin have been; with all the stories of space shoe launches, parties, and other historic moments capturing our imaginations, it’s no wonder that all of our lunch conversations over the past few weeks have focused on our hacking plans. So when the day finally came for the 14 of us from Dublin to fly to Dortmund, we were all very happy.

What happens when you bring together 100 Zalandos from seven different tech offices and give them almost unlimited resources and freedom to build whatever they want, however they want, and with whomever we want? Well, pretty much everything and anything! HW feels like an early holiday gift for the hacker inside each of us. Close to 20 different projects are underway in Dortmund: Some teams are busy making contributions to open source, one is studying better alternatives to streaming, and others are building new ways to reach our customers. We also have some good-looking hardware hacks in progress.


“Hack Week is like a big reunion with your friends — you look forward to it all year long. This year’s HW hit it out of the ballpark.”

The environment here is amazing! People are really excited about what they are building, working really hard, and spontaneously applauding whenever one of us reaches a new milestone. Getting to work with colleagues from so many other different locations and teams is very inspiring. We all have very different backgrounds and experiences, but when we sit down and start building something, we start learning together … and our creativity bursts! Most of us had never met each other before, but started collaborating online a few weeks ago: forming teams, pitching and planning our project ideas and talking to other teams. After about ten minutes of hacking together, my team members and were already friends.

Besides working on our projects, we’re spending our time becoming rock band legends, exploring Dortmund, and playing games (we even have our own piñata). I am also a judge for the Inclusion Ninja Award (read more here), so I’ve been reaching out to many different teams to ask them about their work.

It’s hard to believe that the week is nearly over, but I’m already looking forward to next year’s Hack Week.


A sneak peek at a project that combines hardware-hacking with light Graffiti.

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