Rocket Science: 24 Hour Hackathon, Fueled by Nothing but Red Bull and Passion

Rocketeers spent the weekend recovering from Rocket Science, our second annual company-wide hackathon.

Rocket Science brings together our individual talents for 24 hours to make something amazing. The goal is to stretch our minds, sharpen our skills and work on things we’re passionate about. It is also a competition, where we self-organize into teams without management intervention, work intensely on our idea together and pitch the result to the rest of the company. At the end, everyone votes for the team they believe was a magnificent success, brilliant failure or had the best presentation.

This year’s magnificent success award went to Team Lunchbox, made up of Rocketeers Andrew Hulsizer, Evan Davis, Ryan Gant and Jon Harvell, who created an app to streamline making lunch plans.

Lunchbox allows Bottle Rocket employees to create a lunch bucket, a place to eat, and fellow Rocketeers can opt in or suggest somewhere new. The app uses geolocation to find lunch spots nearby and even irons out who is driving in advance.

“I am not sure what else is out there like this, which makes it pretty pure from a creative process,” Andrew said.

Andrew also credits the win to the app’s clean and simple UI; however, many Rocketeers just cannot wait to start using Lunchbox. The team is currently getting the server ready to deploy the app, so Lunchbox will be available at Bottle Rocket soon.

The brilliant failure award went to Team Positive Reinforcement, comprised of Jordan Sindelar, Justin Seabourn and Ian Slinker, who created a gaming app where you cannot lose.

In the app, the player is constantly barraged with positive reinforcement – complete with cheesy voiceovers, shooting confetti and coins.

“We wanted to create a mockery of the current state of mobile video games by creating the ultimate embodiment of shallow, no challenge, high-reward gaming,” Jordan said. “Luckily, the people at Bottle Rocket got it. Then again, it could have been a combination of kazoo noises and confetti squares that got us the win.”

Jordan said the Positive Reinforcement App will be online and available soon for iOS. The team is considering creating an Android version too.

This year’s new award, best presentation, went to Team BR10, which included Lyndsay Wright, Christopher Bess, Randall Mitchell, Julian Placino, Kirby Sander and Brooks Grigson. The project was to predict the future of Bottle Rocket between now and 2018, our company’s 10th anniversary. The team investigated current trends and emerging technologies and then brainstormed how these will shape Bottle Rocket’s future.

Predictions included Bottle Rocket offices spanning multiple continents, divisions of the company devoted to new surfaces outside of mobile and even the construction of the Calvin W. Carter Expressway in Tampa, our president and founder’s hometown.

“My favorite predictions were the ones involving new surfaces and what Bottle Rocket would be creating for those,” Kirby said. “Watching videos of what Corning is envisioning with their glass technology got me so giddy about possibilities for the future and I can’t wait for Bottle Rocket to be a part of that.”

The team believes they won because their presentation was about Bottle Rocket, a company that Rocketeers love being part of. The team’s presentation also provided inspiration and laughter to some very sleepy Rocketeers.

Now that we’ve cleared all the Red Bull cans, our office dove back into our projects with renewed respect for our Rocketeer family and what we do together. We feel that events like Rocket Science are what set Bottle Rocket apart, ultimately cultivating ideas that will benefit our users, employees and clients.