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Inside Facebook's hackathons: 5 tips for hosting your own

Kristin Burnham | Aug. 22, 2012
The only rule of Facebook hackathons is you can't work on work.

5. Follow Up With the Best Projects

After the prototype phase, Zuckerberg and other executives choose a couple of projects to view more in-depth, Keyani says, and they'll give the groups feedback and suggestions for making it better. From every hackathon, there are one or two projects that go on to become a new Facebook feature.

The follow-up phase is one of the most important--and it sets the tone for future hackathons, Keyani says. Employees need to know that the business takes their ideas and commitment seriously. "Otherwise it just disrupts people's schedule and they view it as, 'We spent time working on stuff, then dropped it,'" Keyani says.

A number of Facebook's familiar features have stemmed from hackathons, such as Timeline, Video and the Like button. Another is Chat. "Chat was a small little project that a couple of people worked on," Keyani says. "They built it just for employees and when it was presented everyone asked, 'Why didn't we think of that?'"


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