Last weekend I had the honor and pleasure of taking part in StrategyHack at Grind Broadway, where my team "hacked" the user interface and marketing plan for Thankful Registry, a site for design-minded couples that enables them to create thoughtful and personalized registry lists drawing from any online retailer.
StrategyHack is a full-day event dedicated to accelerating startup growth. We select awesome startups and match them with brilliant marketers to collaborate and create tailored marketing strategies.
Helen Cho of StrategyHack explained to me that the event was a way to bring together startup founders and marketing strategists in a mutually-beneficial environment. Startup founders get access to the marketing talent that they might not normally be able to afford, and it also helps them understand the value of good strategy. For strategists, it gives us the opportunity to apply our skills to support the local start-up ecosystem, network with others in the marketing space, and to foster longer term relationships with growing companies. And honestly, for me it was just plain fun too.
My amazing team included fellow strategists Gladys Henriquez and Chris Sparks, as well as Thankful Registry founder/CEO Kathy Cheng. We had a getting-to-know-you happy hour on Thursday and then spent all day Saturday on our "hack." Our team hit it off right away, and we were able to use our complementary skills in building out the growth strategy for Thankful Registry. Chris used his analytics magic to help us understand current user behavior on the Thankful site. We then worked together to redesign the user flow to help increase conversions. At the end of the day, all of the groups gave short presentations reporting back on their work.
As an event and a convening of minds, StrategyHack had a great energy. The short time-bound constraints of the format helped us focus, prototype, and iterate quickly. The energy and time constraints reminded me of other "hackathon" type events I have participated in the past, such as UX for Good in New Orleans and Vancouver.
"Hackathons" as a format are definitely not just for software developers anymore. Professionals in almost any industry can adapt the short time-bound format as a way to focus and energize their work. We draw from the model in Foossa's one-day intensive workshops, where we work hands on with our clients to "hack" their communications and design strategy, and to rapidly build the scaffolding for longer term execution and iteration. How can you use the hackathon format for your work?
Kathy is leaving her design agency job in a couple of weeks to focus on Thankful Registry full time. Our StrategyHack team wishes her all the best, and we will keep in touch as Thankful increases their user base.
If you are getting married, or know of anybody who is, definitely check out Thankful Registry. I recommended it to my sister, who is recently engaged, and she loves it!