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Stayzilla Design-a-thon

They’re baaaaaaaaaaaack!

If you were following our blog since its inception, you’d be aware that some time ago, Stayzilla approached us to conduct a hackathon. This hackathon turned to be a great success and Stayzilla managed to poach a bunch of great developers.

This time around, Stayzilla wanted to “steal” a few UI/UX designers. To that end, the idea of conducting a Design-a-thon was born. This Design-a-thon, scheduled for the weekend of August 22nd and 23rd, was predominantly for UI/UX designers.

Early on Saturday morning, members from Team Venturesity arrived at the Stayzilla office to beat the crowd. Initially, the crowd was sparse, as it was election day. (Most were fulfilling their civic duty by voting!) Once the participants finished performing their civic duty, they started trickling in. When all was said and done, we had a total of 33 designers present with 2 participating online. This was a great turnout considering that the design-a-thon was for a relatively niche community.

Once all participants signed in, we held an icebreaker session. This is a feature of all our hackathons because it is instrumental in team building and raising attendees’ spirits.

Let us take a brief time-out to describe this particular icebreaker session as it was rather unique. You remember, when you were kids in class, you had to create a “story.”  Each child had to add one sentence to a developing story. It was amazing to hear the stories that had been created, right?

In a similar vein, the designers had to create a pictorial story. Each participant had to draw a pictorial element on a white board. By the time all participants finished sketching, an interesting pictorial story appeared.

This was the fruit of their labors.


After the icebreaker session concluded, participants were introduced to the Stayzilla team and the problem statements. (On a side note, it was interesting to observe that many from the Stayzilla team were the ones installed from the previous hackathon.)

The designers had a choice of two problem statements: to redesign the Stayzilla M-site, or to create a home page and map view for the search listings page for Stayzilla.

After the problem statements were announced, participants got to work in earnest. Fuelled by Redbull, pizza and Subway rolls, participants brainstormed and wire-framed with great enthusiasm. In the meanwhile, Kushagara played the part of DJ enthralling participants with his choice of music.

Come nightfall, several participants went home to continue working on the problem statements. But many diehards chose to stay at Stayzilla. (See what I did there?) To keep these participants engaged and revved up, we had several impromptu competitions including such tasks such as seeing how long one could lean against the wall in a sitting position. (What?! Is that even possible??)

Once these contests ended, we left the designers at it. It was amazing to see their dedication as most did not catch a moment’s sleep while they worked through the night.

As morning dawned, the night owls, joined by the early birds, put up finishing touches to their creations. At 11:00 a.m. the deadline for submissions passed. All the 9 teams present had to demo their submissions to the Stayzilla team. At the end of each demo, each participant received a laptop bag, a coffee mug and a Stayzilla T-shirt as a “thank you” for participating. This fantastic gesture was much appreciated by the attendees. (To the Stayzilla team: You guys rock and you’ve certainly set a high bar!)

After the presentations, the judges retreated into their chambers to decide who the winners would be. While this was going on, I had a chance to speak to Kishore from the Jamaican Hopscotch Mafia team. I asked him about his impressions of the hack and whether he would participate in future such events. He said that he had been following Venturesity for about a year now but did not get his feet wet earlier because he was a UI/UX designer. So, he was very excited when the Design-a-thon was announced and said that the “Design-a-thon was an amazing event, a good learning experience.” He was pleased to “connect with some very interesting people” and that it was “one of the most exciting experiences” of his life.

(Note to other designers: You don’t have to wait for a specific Design-a-thon to participate in a hackathon. UI/UX designers are in great demand! For more information about what to expect during one of our hacks, and how to optimize your Venturesity hackathon experience, check out this link.)

Finally, after what seemed like an eternity, the judges made their final decisions. Here are the results:

  • First place (tie): Jamaican Hopscotch Mafia. Kishore, Annie Joseph, Vineeth Bangera and Shireesha Parampallai worked on the second problem statement. For their efforts, they walked away with top honors and INR 30,000  in prize money.

Winners 1

  • First place (tie): Dream Team. Sharing top honors with Jamaican Hopscotch Mafia, Manikanda, Jitin, Shabir and Abhilash worked on redesigning the Stayzilla M-site. They also won INR 30,000.

Winners 2

  • Consolation prize: The Arch. Subhash, Kishore (not to be confused with Kishore from Jamaican Hopscotch) and Harish worked on the second problem statement. For their efforts, they won INR 20,000 in prize money.

Winners 3

At the end of the hack, the Stayzilla team shortlisted a total of 7 candidates for further rounds of interviews. We wish all these candidates the best of luck for the rest of the interview process! Of course, we do need to give a shout out to the rest of the candidates without whom this Design-a-thon would have been a Dud-a-thon. (Oh, yes, I really can get that cheesy!).

Inspired to create and showcase your creations? Our upcoming hacks, Battle of the Minds hack (for Innoviti) and the Ola API hack are a perfect way to showcase your skills. We also have other hacks, online challenges and learnups in store for you. Check out our webpage for further details.


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Bharat Ramakrishna

Blogger. Part-time mathematics enthusiast. Loves esoteric and quirky things. Bibliophile. Has a wide range of interests including playing chess and pool, juggling and creating puzzles of fiendish difficulty. Grammar Nazi.