Halls Of Hackathon: A Non-Techie Encounters Personify:D

Disclaimer: The author of this post would like to confess that his knowledge of the magical world of code and computing begins and ends with MS Word. So, dear readers, if you are looking for an insider’s account filled with in-depth analysis on the vagaries of hacking and code, here’s where to go.

All said and done, it was a pretty cool event. For a non-techie, there was plenty of sorcery happening, with spells like APIs and BigData being discussed with abandon. The night was spent amidst furious tappings of the keyboard, while tense and haggardly faces discussed demo sessions and data structures. Sleep was not an option.

In the end, though, the exhausted coders brought something new in to MakeMyTrip – a new product, a culmination of all those brainstorming sessions and coding fabrics and sleepless night(s).

Something new, you see.

But rather than give you an exhaustive account of what happened (which will mostly include stuff like ‘that computer thingy’, ‘that other technobabble’ and ‘God, I wish I wasn’t so very technologically-challenged’), I’ll let the pictures spell out what happened:


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 The pre-Hackathon pep talk

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The teams talk strategy

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The race is on!

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But there”s always time to lounge and smile

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And grab some shut-eye whenever team members aren’t looking

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Oh, the stress!

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The hackers converge for the presentation

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Pitching products

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When all the hackers converged for a group photo

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Kudos to the Personify:D team!

PersonifyD: A Non-Sleepy Account Of The Hackathon

24 hours of coding, creating an innovative solution, and unlimited food. What more could you want from a hackathon? Trippervilla witnessed the culmination of a 24-hour coding fest from 8-9 August, 2014. Here is a nearly accurate recollection of how it all started and ended.

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The pillars of PersonifyD: Ideate, Create and Amaze

12 noon – The teams were formed and as it always happens in the beginning, the energy levels were reaching a sky high. The initial wireframes for the mobile and website applications were made and were given to the designers, who could breathe life into mere squares and rectangles on the paper.

2 PM – The work behind the beautiful interfaces had started its rapid rise. Coders had started their marathon on a blank screen. Lunch could take a back seat as there were variables that were not assigned a proper value. Many features had yet to be added.

4 PM – After discussing the additional features and the estimated time to code them, we got back to writing letters, numbers and special characters that would not have made sense to someone, who had missed Computer Programming 101.

The first demo translated the primary ideas into a presentable format

The first demo translated the primary ideas into a presentable format

6 PM – The first demo session provided the much needed break. The designs were still in their crude form and there was more coding to be done, which meant a few more smoke breaks would follow. The picture of the final product was becoming clearer as time passed and fresh changes were far better than the initial thoughts.

8 PM – We dispersed for dinner, with the thought of eating less and the available food helped. The dinner table talk had nothing to do with the usual office gossip. It was about what the next six hours would contain apart from the multiple caffeine getaways to keep us awake.

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The much needed dinner break!

10 PM – The first caffeine break had done no good. The speed of coding had reduced diminutively, but the passion for building something innovative and effective was still driving us. A visit from the members of the L-team helped encourage us move past the post dinner lethargy.

12 midnight – Time for debugging. We were checking whether or not the code was functioning as it was supposed to. Like all great things have some obstacles, some features were not functioning as they were programmed or not programmed to do.

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Just as sleep was about to take over, a visit from the L-Team members inspired us

2 AM – Keeping our eyes open had been added to the list of to-do things. The changes after debugging had begun; code was being fixed with a cup of black coffee in one hand. After 14 hours of no sleep and more than 10 cans of Red Bull, the search for the wings that were promised in the advert had begun. The coders and designers were working in tandem to create the first version of their application incorporating the changes after the first debugging session.

4 AM – The second round of debugging had begun, and there were a few changes that still had to be coded. We had moved past the normal sleeping time and now there was very less or no trace of sleep. We were aware of the last minute changes that would creep in, so the major part of the coding had to be done before that phase had to begin.

6 AM – After 18 hours of coding, we had the feeling that 24 hours would not be enough to finish it. After multiple coding and debugging sessions, we were nearing the final product, which could turn out to be MMT’s next big thing or that is what every team was thinking.

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It was really hard for a few of us! Sometimes sleep got the better of us

8 AM – Breakfast time! Another break that was taken reluctantly because functioning on Red Bulls and coffee is not advisable by any sane medical practitioner. The conversations had become silent and now it was about a working product which had the potential to become big. Show time was nearing.

10 AM – We were two hours away from submission. Final changes were being made to the applications and the scenes in the UX bay portrayed a post-apocalyptic phase. All that remained was code. It was a race against time to build a working solution that could bring the next big change or at least give a glimpse of it.

12 noon – Submission Time! Every team put in their working applications forth and readied themselves for the big demo. 24 hours had passed, but the real test was still left. The pizzas had arrived and the idea of lunch had never sounded better.

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With 19 innovative entries, choosing a winner was a tough task

After 19 demos and a few power naps amidst the demos, the hackathon had come to a productive end. If you are wondering about the winners, here they are:

Winners – Vibhor, Sumit Gupta

Runners Up – Prabhat, Sanchit Bansal, Vineeta Sangwan

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The winners are all smiles after receiving their gifts

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Nothing says ‘Well Done’ like an Apple product

7 Ways of Spreading Chaos: The Ibn Battuta Treasure Hunt

What do you get when you spread a bunch of knick-knacks across three floors and challenge 70 people to go hunt for them?

Pandemonium, that’s what.

That would be an apt word to describe the IB 300 Days Treasure Hunt, held on 25th June in MakeMyTrip’s Gurgaon office.

Now, we could launch into a long-winded description of the event, the frantic strategy meetings, the triumphant yells and desperate curses, the number of innocent passers-by flattened against the wall as one team after another raced from floor to floor, and the nail-biting fight to the finish…

But we won’t. Not today.

We’ll let the pictures do the talking instead.

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 Rule#1: Let your attention wander as they try to explain the rules

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  Rule#2: Find yourself in a spot since you didn’t listen to the rules

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 Rule#3: Turn meeting rooms upside-down. Feel free to trouble occupants in the process…

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 Rule#4: Be lost in thought as you decipher gibberish clues

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 Rule#5: Rush to the nearest Hunt Helper for hints

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 Rule#6: Honour hard-working Hunt Helpers for their handiness

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 Rule#7: Applaud gender diversity. Madam Battuta says ‘howdy’.

Tripper Represents India at Fencing World Championship 2014

These days Deepak Saini, Manager-Technology Department, has been extremely busy. No, it’s not the many projects that are taking up all his time. For those of you who aren’t already aware, Deepak has been selected to represent India at the Fencing World Championship 2014 at Kazan, Russia. The event which is scheduled to take place from July 15- July 23, 2014 will see participation from over 110 countries!

Deepak Saini, all geared up for the Fencing World Championship in Russia

Deepak Saini, all geared up for the Fencing World Championship in Russia

Deepak started fencing from the tender age of 10 and there has been no stopping him ever since. He has participated in events at the state and national level and has won several medals, including bronze medals at the 23rd and 24th Senior National Fencing Championship held in Rohtak and J & K, respectively.

“Fencing is my first love. I love this sport because of its unique combination of elegance, tactics, concentration and coordination.”

Deepak Saini in action during a Fencing tournament

Deepak Saini in action during a Fencing tournament

At MakeMyTrip we constantly encourage Trippers to pursue their passion, going beyond work life. We are proud to sponsor and support Deepak as he embarks on his mission for national pride.

Here’s wishing Deepak all the very best from the entire MMT Family! It’s your turn to show your support by sharing this post with your friends and family.

We shall be back with all the inside scoop once Deepak returns from Russia. Watch this space for more…

Mukteshwar Marathon 2014

“If you want to win something, run 100 metres. If you want to experience something, run a marathon” -three time Olympic gold medallist, Emil Zátopek

Running in the Mukteshwar Marathon 2014 that took place on 25th May was one such unforgettable experience. Besides running for a good cause (the marathon was organized to raise money for a school run by Chirag, a local charity), Aman, Deepak and I were looking forward to running a marathon in the mountains, at an altitude of 2,286 metres.

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Mukteshwar’s picture-perfect beauty was breath taking

15 days before the D-day, Team Tripper, as we called ourselves got together to discuss travel arrangements, and of course, the prep for the race. There were three categories in this event- a 21 km Half Marathon, a 21 km Corporate Relay and a 5 km Dream Run. We were competing in the Corporate Relay Challenge, wherein three members per team would run 7 kms each.  As the much awaited weekend arrived, we caught a direct bus from New Delhi to Kathgodam, which took approximately 6.3 hours.

Upon reaching the small, scenic town of Mukteshwar, we were welcomed by chaiwallahs, all ready for business. The nippy morning was a welcome change from Delhi’s gruelling summer, and a piping hot cup of chai was all we needed to shake off any sign of tiredness.

The drive to Mukteshwar was full of ‘oohs’ and ‘aahs’ from the three of us. For a moment we forgot we were there to participate in a marathon and behaved like tourists from the plains. Armed with DSLRs, Deepak and I took full advantage of this drive, and clicked pictures of beautiful, misty valleys along the way.

A two-and half hour ride and hundred photos later, we arrived at our hotel in Mukteshwar. After a quick check-in and a sumptuous breakfast, we decided to walk up to Brahmeswara Temple and Chauli Ki Jali, which are amongst the top tourist attractions here. The walk was very picturesque and we stopped at various lookout zones for photos, and sometimes just to soak in the beauty. It also gave us an opportunity to get to know each other better, sharing stories of our past adventures. We bonded as a team and became friends. And probably, it was the magical mountain air which made us unusually animated, specially since we had barely caught a wink the night before. Deepak enthusiastically chatted up a few locals and was delighted to know that the marathon was a big event which they were looking forward to. Aman and I made new friends too. I would like to give a special mention to Gambo, the German Shephard, who happily ditched his owner for a walk with us.

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Shipra, Deepak and Aman- Team Tripper

Before long we reached the temple, and settled down at the steps to take a break, snacking on Kafal, yummy berries peppered with a tangy masala. The vendors near the temple were a friendly lot and happily posed for photographs.

A few hundred meters ahead of the temple was the marathon registration desk. 401, 402 and 403- were our bib numbers. The geek in Aman was disappointed for not getting number 404, the common “File Not Found” error message online.

There was also a cultural programme organised by the school children and local women. They sang traditional Kumaon songs which echoed in our heart. It was very touching to see cards made by the school children, wishing luck to the marathon runners.

Mukteshwar marathon 2014-cultural programme

The cultural programme and greeting cards by the local women and children was indeed touching

We also made a quick visit to the beautiful ‘Chauli Ki Jali’. Massive rocks dangerously hanging over the cliff and the view of the valley was breathtaking. There were mountain peaks as far as the eye could see. One can also do rappelling here, but fatigue was slowly creeping in, and we decided to head back to the hotel to get some rest for the race next morning.

Finally, the D-Day arrived! We reached the start point at 6:30 in the morning. The arrangements were surprisingly good for a small town event like this. Glucose biscuits, bananas and energy drinks were available at the starting point and after every 2.5 kms on the route. There were about 200 odd people running with us that day- locals and outsiders included. The race started at 7:30 AM. We had decided a day before that I would run the first leg of the marathon as it was a mix of plains and relatively easy inclines. The boys took on the tougher routes with difficult climbs. It was absolutley amazing, running in the mountains amidst scenic views, with the locals cheering us on.

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The proud trio posing after the marathon

Our team clocked an overall time of 2 hrs 37 mins, and came in fourth. After the race, we were presented with medals and certificates in a small presentation ceremony. We returned home the same day, feeling very proud of having represented MakeMyTrip in this event.

You can also read about the highlights from last year’s Mukteshwar Marathon, by clicking here

The blog has been written by Shipra Yadav, with inputs from Aman Bansal and Deepak Panwar.