At CBI we like to experiment. Here are some of the projects that came out of our first ever Hack Day.
At CB Insights, one of the core tenets of our culture is “experiment to win.” But it’s easy to come up with a culture slogan. What we value is putting those words into action.
With this in mind, we recently hosted our first-ever “Hack Day.” Employees were given a full 24 hours to work on any CB Insights-related project of their choosing. Groups across all departments developed new tools and processes and then presented them to the company. Here’s a roundup of just a handful of the cool things some of our teammates built during Hack Day.
If being part of a culture that values experimentation appeals to you, you should come work with us.
Megabot – ChatBot Upgrade
At CB Insights, we have a bot that lives inside our chat program. While rudimentary at first, it received a dramatic facelift on Hack Day thanks to one of our engineers, Julien. After talking to teams around the company, he added tons of new functionality, including the ability to scrape websites for company logos, integrate with Salesforce to highlight key stats about customers and prospects, and manage internal functions like booking rooms, all with a simple messaging command. And to further support the additional functionality, the bot was migrated from our local network to AWS. With Skynet-like abilities, the bot has become an integral part of the CB Insights team.
Bl@ck Widow – Load Balancer Visualization
Chima on our Dev Ops team likes to visualize things. And, given that the rest of our products and content have nice graphs and visuals, there’s no reason our load balancer shouldn’t as well. Chima used Hack Day to accomplish the first steps in creating a heads-up display of our networks’ activity in our data centers.
Research Team Swiss Army Knife
There’s a fair amount of production work that goes into the analysis we put on our blog, including data slicing, chart formatting, logo hunting, etc. Using a combination of SQL, plug-ins, Excel, and coffee, Nikhil from the content team built a sheet that generates all the key pieces of our research posts just by inputting the sector you want to analyze. The sheet can even find relevant logos based on company names and highlight key trends, including jumps in funding, top deals, and most active investors.
CB Insights Timeline
We like to keep track of where we’ve come from and where we’re going so Mahd from engineering built a tool to help the company visualize its achievements on a timeline. While some of the milestones on the timeline relate to the entire company (like when we moved offices, announced new products, etc.), the timeline also lets people add their own significant events. Now people can see the story of CB Insights, all the way from our “Chubby Brain” terrible logo days to the company we are today.
Chubbier Brains – peer-to-peer lessons taught by CBIers
Lunch with strangers – Lunchbot that groups you with other people to eat with
Our company is growing rapidly and with all of these new faces, Cameron (Business Development), Mark (Business Development), and Justine (Product Management) thought building a way for people to get to know each other would be helpful. They built a !Lunch bot that selects 4 random names from our company list, and whoever calls to the bot now has 4 new friends to eat lunch with. Lunch is great, meeting people is great, and now they’ve combined these two great things into a meet-up round the kitchen table.
Industry Vertical Digest
Finding good, relevant content is hard (outside of the CB Insights newsletter of course). Roy (data) and Donovan (engineering) set out to fix that. Using existing technology that powers The Cruncher, they built the beginnings of a personal digest that delivers news on specific industry verticals. This is a good way to keep on top of everything that’s happening in an industry, whether that’s healthcare, CPG, or e-commerce.
TED (Team Engagement Dashboard)
We really care about our customers. Really, really care about them. So to make sure that our customers are getting the most out of CB Insights, Nicolle, Jake and Alex from engineering built an in-depth dashboard for our customer success team to better understand the way their clients are engaging with the platform in an effort to increase features usage where it matters most.
CB Insights recently released our “Trends'” tool to help customers quantify and predict technology trends. But trends doesn’t always have to be so serious. Jon from customer success created a video demonstrating the functionality of the trends tool using some more light-hearted analysis. Can trends tell you if Steph Curry is a robot? See the full video here.
Just For Fun
Cards Against Silicon Valley
Sometimes, it’s hard to distinguish between real life and satire in the tech world. As part of the content team, Nick and Zoe have both read some pretty crazy stories about the industry. They translated that knowledge into “Cards Against Silicon Valley,” a “Cards Against Humanity”-inspired game that skewers the common tropes of venture capital investing, founding startups, failing fast, and living in Silicon Valley.
Mosaic: The Game
Have you ever read a TechCrunch funding announcement and thought to yourself “I could be a venture capitalist!” Jack (Marketing), Kristin (Design), and Jeremy (Engineering) built a board game that offers players the highs and lows of investing in and exiting companies as players compete to be the next Sequoia.
The CB insights theme song
When was the last time you were put on hold and loved it? Anand (CEO) helped organize and create the “CB Insights Jingle.” How many data providers do you know with a jingle?
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