Last week, DoorDash held our Fall 2016 hackathon: Hack to the Future. Like previous hackathons, we asked our engineering, design, IT, and business operations teams to think beyond quarterly roadmaps and build what they envision DoorDash to be years down the line.

Kicking off the hackathon

The hackathon kicked off with an icebreaker to help people meet other like-minded hackers outside of their own team and form hackathon groups. We played new hire bingo — a two stage bingo game where everyone works together to fill out an empty grid with the newest names by join date.

We love new hire bingo because it encourages everyone to meet the newest members of the team.

We listed teams and ideas on a central whiteboard as they formed. This tiny bit of organization makes the event more navigable — especially for people who want to hack part time or start late.

Late night ahead?

Per tradition, we keep our hackers amply fed throughout and we closed out the hackathon with some bubbly and demos.

Brain food

Popping bottles with…the data models

Ideas that came to life include:

DoorDash for Amazon Echo — Voice controlled food delivery through Alexa.

Insta-Boba — Physical button that orders boba tea and has it delivered to the DoorDash office to feed our office boba addiction.

TableDash — A paper menu with sensors that allows someone at a restaurant to order from the table, with no waiter necessary. The device has buttons which allows picking of items and switching between members at the table. The order is sent directly to kitchen staff, requiring no middle man. The team not only wrote the code from scratch, but also blueprinted the embedded system and soldered together the electronic circuit, the backbone for the device.

EmPythy — Open source library to classify customer sentiment to help our support team understand customer feedback. It’s live here!

DoorDash Transport — Our interns formed a team and built a prototype of a service that would allow users to ask Dashers to pick up items from custom locations. Very handy for those times you leave your keys behind!

The TableDash circuit board

It seems like the future belongs to the internet of things, ML, and the highly efficient.

Special thanks to Shayon, our hardworking and fearless hackathon ringleader, Brandon, purveyor of shirts, and members of the hackathon committee Kasey, Viraj, Andy, and Ding!