Hacker Culture at iHeart Radio
iHeartRadio has a thriving culture of self motivated, driven, and brilliant makers. We channel this energy in a number of ways, including our “Hack” event series. We have multiple Hack Days per year, and Hack Week each summer. Hack Day is an onsite 24-hour hackathon: a few months before the event, teams begin to organically form and share ideas. During the event, teams collaborate and in many cases pull an all nighter on an idea they came up with and are passionate to solve.
All ideas share a common basic theme that they improve an aspect of iHeartRadio’s product offering. Projects range from productivity enhancing internal tools to data dashboards for greater user insights to new features or even whole new product lines. Hack Day ends with a demo session to show fellow hackers and iHeartRadio senior management what has been accomplished, followed by a vote for the grand prize winning demo.
See here for information on our Mac App, a brand new product for us and the grand prize winner from the March 2015 Hack Day. Check out the Hack Day demo of Mac App:
Hack Week shares the same organic idea and team formation philosophy from Hack Day, but takes place offsite. With an entire week, teams complete more ambitious projects, are bigger and have a more cross functional team makeup. Hack Week is a great bonding experience, providing an opportunity for people to meet and spend quality time with people they seldom come in contact with during the normal workday.
This year’s Hack Week produced a number of wide ranging new innovations in social, station building, accessibility, analytics insights, our product process, infrastructure, international expansion, data science and visualizations, and search. In addition, several brand new products to be announced in the near future.
The Hack Week grand prize winner, Eric Cogan (Android product manager) designed an iHeartRadio chrome extension from scratch on the first day, then spent the rest of the week adding new features and customizations to it. Here he is, fresh off his demo victory!
Also at the Hack Week house, our heads of engineering, operations and product took part in the inaugural Hack Week Grill-Off. First prize honors went to our Manager of Data Engineering, Neil Gallagher, who slow cooked award-winning BBQ ribs for a very appreciative crowd and took home the honors!