Freshdesk, one of the most successful Indian startup has announced the second edition of Save the Hacker, a two-day hackathon to rescue smart IT engineers from boring IT jobs.
With Save the Hacker, Freshdesk wants to provide smart people stuck in their careers a platform to showcase their ideas, and build applications that make an impact. “We want to give talented programmers a taste of what it feels like to build actual products” said Girish Mathrubootham, CEO, Freshdesk. “We’re hoping this will motivate them and give them a head start and set them on the right career path”
The Save the Hacker hackathon will happen on May 9th and 10th in Chennai. The hackathon will also see participation from leading companies like Google, Twilio, Box, Saavn, Olacabs, offering over 50 lakhs worth of prizes and goodies for participating teams.
Developers who are interested in participating in the hackathon will need to register on savethehacker.com and submit their ideas in either of the two tracks available: mobile or web. The top 100 teams will be shortlisted based on the ideas and will be invited to the hackathon by Freshdesk.
At the end of the event, the winning teams will receive prizes worth 50 lakh rupees. Additionally, Freshdesk and Google will also have mentors at the event to help developers shape and prune their ideas over two days.
Go ahead, sign-up for the event if you want to get rid of that boring IT job and want to do something that is not only exciting, but also very satisfying!
[Article written below was done during their first Edition in 2014. We have retained this, so you can get more information about the company and the event]
“Ten years ago, IT jobs used to be the most coveted. The industry is now mired in a sea of inefficient managers and hierarchies, and pointless work”, says Girish Mathrubootham, CEO, Freshdesk and ex-Zoho VP of Product Management.
This succinctly states the frustration of an an employee at most big names in the Indian IT states. While new startup companies are slowly disrupting the trend where offshore work is not the only code that is shipped. However, the majority of the fresh coders are still tackling spreadsheets following meaningless dress etiquette.
FreshDesk is here with an initiative, not unique in ideation, but certainly a YES in the current crisis.
If you belong to that majority looking for an opportunity to show off the geeky coder you set out to be (but got stuck), here is a chance. Save the Hacker, is where you may finally find the escape route or at least find the motivation to save the hacker in you. In Girish’s words, “The hackathon will give people a taste of what it is like to actually ship code and build ideas from scratch. We’ll have mentors to offer support all day and night”. Chennai is hosting the event on March 1-2, 2014.
There is no restrictions on the programming languages you can use, you just need to be authentic and build the app from scratch on those mentioned dates.
We reached out to the to find out more about the event and here are some excerpts from the conversation I had with their PR team.
Trak: To start with let’s hear a little about the company and the service it provides.
FreshDesk: We’ve been in business since Oct 2010. We make software that helps businesses deliver customer support. We make software that allows organizations to ticket support emails, track and manage queries from twitter and provide FAQs and self-service options for their customers.
In essence, we help businesses listen to their customers 1) when they talk about them (twitter, facebook, etc.) 2) when they talk to them (when they email support) 3) when they talk among them (community forums, FAQs). You can take a look at freshdesk.com/helpdesk-tour
to get a full blown idea of the product.
Trak: How is it different from Zendesk, UserVoice or Desk….in your view what makes you the customer’s choice?
FreshDesk: Freshdesk is simple. Real simple. You can set it up in 2 mins and get it running. And it’s way more usable than other customer support software out there.
That’s not all. We gamified customer support in 2012. So, a customer support representative can earn points and scores, and climb up a leader board for answering customer questions faster and accurately. So, a ‘customer wow champion’ is an agent who is rated awesome by many customers. A ‘sharp shooter’ is one who replies fast to support queries, etc.
(More about the gamification feature can be found here.)
Trak: A little background story. How you started or most importantly why?
FreshDesk: In 2010, Zendesk raised their prices up to 300%. This caused uproar, and a Hacker News comment said something along the lines of “a support solution at an affordable price point” would be great in the market. Girish, then at Zoho, noticed this and decided to quit Zoho to found Freshdesk along with Shan Krishnasamy. The full story can be read here.
Trak: Tell us about Save the Hacker event. How did this idea came to existence? What motivated the thought?
FreshDesk: We kind of noticed that many IT services companies out there hired thousands of engineers, but made them do mundane offshore IT work – which is nothing more than
filling spreadsheets, and tracking logs. Very often, these employees have to deal with stupid dress codes and incompetent managers. Now, these are fresh graduates who were promised an awesome tech job. They’re smart, but they aren’t getting what they deserve. They’re tired of having to work on boring projects.
At Freshdesk, everyone is the CEO of what they do. It’s part of our work culture. Amazingly enough, we don’t care about the insignificant things. Our emphasis is on shipping code that matters. We wanted to give smart engineers in IT services companies a taste of what it’s like to build and ship code that matters, let them experience what it is like to work on awesome ideas. That’s why – Save the Hacker is our way of redemption for people who stuck in an IT services company.
Teams can be of sizes 2-4. If people are not able to find teammates, they can just register and we’ll pair them up with others who are participating. We’re looking for a 15-20 teams for the first edition.
Trak: And the bounties?
FreshDesk: We’ll offer one lakh rupees in prizes for the winning code. The idea stays with the hacker. We don’t own anything. They can choose to open source it, build a startup out of the idea, or continue to work on it as a side project. We’re just giving them a platform with mentors who’ll guide them to make the most of their idea to completion.
Trak: Do you have other partners in this initiative or it’s just a FD initiative?
FreshDesk: So far, Freshdesk, but, we’re planning to bring in other startups and companies in the future. For this event, we’ll have mentors across companies to help the hackers out. This is our first edition of Save the Hacker. We plan to be doing more of these hackathons and related initiatives to rescue hackers throughout this year. And one big news. Uber Chennai will be offering free ride coupons for hackathon participants. Winners will get free credits to top up on their Uber account.
Trak: What has been the response of the event? Any numbers will be great.
FreshDesk: Fantastic. I can’t share with you numbers right now, but I can tell you that we’ve received a good number of entries and lots of appreciation for the idea behind the event.
Several people have expressed interest to partner and mentor. We’re still evaluating applications, but we’ve seen both freshers AND people with 0-3 years experience apply for the event so far.
Freshdesk is a flagship product with more than 15,000 businesses across the world using it to manage customers support. They have over $13.5 million in investment (most recently a Series C from Accel and Tiger Global) and have over 160 employees currently. Currently they have offices at Chennai, India and Los Angeles, California, US.