A well-managed company culture isn’t a given. It takes time and persistence to build upon the business’s core principles, values, mission and purpose. At Kabbage, everything we do is measured against our core values:
- Care deeply
- Inspire innovation
- Create “Holy s**t!” moments
- Unconditional commitment
- Stay connected
A prime example is our annual Hack Day competition, which started in 2014. Each year, we form cross-functional teams to create new products, features and process improvements. It’s a chance to step away from our normal tasks and compete for a chance to have our names on the coveted Hack Day trophy.
As the company has grown, we’ve raised the stakes and now require that each team creates a working prototype, with winners selected by peer votes and panelists. Over the years, panelists have included:
- Vice President of App Development at CNN Digital
- Director of Tech at Cox Media
- Head of Tech at MailChimp
- Kabbage investors
Each group that has participated in Hack Day has made an impact on our culture as well as the ways we do business. Some past winning projects are:
- Discovering new ways to monitor important company metrics
- Adding efficiency to how we order the beer we have on tap
- Developing Kabbage integrations to disburse funds and make payments with Bitcoin
- Creating tools to measure a users’ brainwaves as they navigate Kabbage’s website and products
The teams behind these projects have been awarded various prizes, ranging from swimming with whale sharks to cash.
Last year’s winning team automated the previously manual process for ordering beer for the office. The project required a range of hardware and software skills and gave the team a chance to showcase talents they may not use in their day jobs. The project was open source so everyone in the company could access the backend. The team even paid tribute to a local growler who used a similar chalkboard design to display beers currently on tap.
The winning team in 2016 was comprised of members from Technology, Finance & Accounting and Customer Service. Their project leveraged Amazon’s Alexa technology to create a way to check a Kabbage balance and make payments.
“It really was an amazing project,” said Joanna, a Customer Service team member on the project. “It was so cool to see it in action and hear Alexa tell us the balance, take cash and have that Kabbage account knowledge so easily accessible!”
“I was excited to join a team and actually deliver a project without the overhead required at my previous job,” said Nan, a Finance & Accounting team member who was new to Kabbage at the time. “It was exciting to put together and win.”
Hack Day continues to garner ever-growing participation, from coming up with an idea, staying late to finish a project or even cheering on a favorite idea during the final presentations.
We’ve discovered that our team greatly appreciates the chance to spend time on passion projects that aren’t necessarily related to their particular roles. We can’t wait to see what our team members will innovate in the future!