AutoFi Puts the On in Hackathon: Food, Music, and Collaboration Yields Success

This week AutoFi’s engineering team held their semi-annual Hackathon ‘19. Over twenty engineers conceptualized an array of team-sourced projects that broaden customer success on the AutoFi platform.

If you’ve never witnessed a hackathon or codefest, it’s pretty amazing. Think of it like an organized bouncy-house. It’s a sprint-like event that brings together Product, Marketing, Sales, and IT to collaborate around a central theme or issue. 

The goal is to introduce diverse ideas by sourcing input from various departments. Rough and raw ideas are good. AutoFi’s hackathon tapped collective talent both online and offline. Hackathon ideas commonly turn into new products, projects, or are even a launching pad for promising technical developments.

In preparation for Hack ’19, Paul Grock, AutoFi’s senior software engineer, shared a document where everyone listed their ideas. Before the actual hack day, Paul championed participation and invited everyone to come and pitch their ideas.

Gathered around the lounge with off-site attendees dialed in, the pitch meeting started. Each person had five minutes to describe their concept. Even engineers pitched their ideas.

The pitch meeting was not like Shark Tank. Whew.

It was exciting that AutoFi’s developers chose to solicit company-wide ideas. Everyone at AutoFi had a voice. Every idea was a good idea. This created excitement among the engineers as they signed up for various projects. They strategized, planned, and prioritized the day’s activities in final preparations for the event. 

Hack ’19 day is here!

It’s not uncommon to start the morning with coffee and a box (or two) of donuts or bagels. True to form, Ilan Dar, AutoFi’s VP of engineering, arrived with goodies that disappeared throughout the day. A little ‘healthy’ fuel goes a long way. 

The next thing a good hackathon requires is music! Picking music – the right music, commercial-free, is vital! Gabe Littman, another senior software engineer, arrived early ready to put his DJ talents to good use. He tested the speakers. The rafters rocked while dust-bombs floated to the ground. Yup, the sound system works.

The teams quickly jumped to the challenge. They did something that supercharged their brain-share. It looked like engineer-speed-dating. Developers shifted between groups – lending their expertise, then moving onto the next team. Other developers joined remotely. Fluid collaboration at its best!

Throughout the day, the energy stayed high, engaged, and focused.

As a result, teams developed blueprints and prototypes for new product updates that improve customer engagement and support. They developed roadmaps to tackle platform enhancements. In particular, foreign languages, usability improvements that spur dealer growth, and features to help dealers manage their qualified leads were among the explored ideas.  

Not just any hackathon

AutoFi’s Hackathon ’19 is a little different. There won’t necessarily be prizes or awards like a traditional hackathon. Bribes may have been offered to escalate ideas, but there were no takers. These guys are legit. 

The focus is to cultivate traction and integration between automotive dealers and consumers. It means finding new ways to come up with innovative solutions for specific challenges, like the car buying experience.

AutoFi’s engineers care about building a product that multiplies success at the connection points between car dealers and shoppers. The operative driver is to develop the best product, solution, and experience. This team listens to the marketplace so they can continue to solve the impossible. 

Four years ago, AutoFi set out to revolutionize how cars are bought and sold. Today, these engineers are making that dream come true. As a result, there are more happy shoppers purchasing their ideal vehicle in a fast, convenient, and transparent way. Dealers love it, and so do their customers. 

With music blasting and donuts in their bellies, these guys are changing the world.

Check out a demo and see what’s up.