It’s a dream scenario for anyone passionate about building, designing, and engineering products: a week working on a project you’re passionate about alongside your fellow team members.
We get that opportunity here at Peloton. Each year, we hit the pause button on all business-as-usual work, giving our product team and partners around the globe the chance to participate in the company’s annual hackathon. During this weeklong event, we get the opportunity to work on a new product, feature, or design project of our choice – and then get a chance to pitch our hacks to each other and, ultimately, company leaders.
“If you give people time and space to build what they're passionate about, they will build amazing things,” said Alex Niderberg, Engineering Manager - Peloton Platform. “The hackathon is a fun way to foster and leverage the creativity, excitement, and passion of our team.”
How it started
The first Peloton Hackathon was held in 2017 and was the brainchild of Peloton co-founders Yony Feng and Tom Cortese, who wanted another way to stroke the creativity and passion of the product team.
“Hackathon is one of my favorite times of the year, the whole team comes together and comes up with innovations that propel our business in ways we may not have thought about” Cortese said.
Several popular Peloton features started or were inspired by hackathon projects including: target metrics for our Members during rides, the Peloton Guide, QR Code Log-in feature, and improvements to the Android app and other Android products.
In June of 2023, more than 300 of our team members participated from across the globe and submitted a total of 126 ideas. Of those, 106 ideas were adopted by teams for exploration and teams delivered more than 70 hack projects.
How it works
Our team members assembled into self-organizing teams and chose their hack project to work on. Some teams brainstormed their own ideas and others chose from one of the hundreds submitted by colleagues.
Our Peloton Global Hackathon kicks off on a Monday morning with a live broadcast from our New York headquarters for our global team members. Then, teams have three days to bring their ideas to life. Some teams choose to work only during business hours, others leverage a follow-the-sun model partnering with team members based in different time zones, and others work around the clock to bring their visions to life.
“There’s a lot of excitement and energy during the hackathon. In a way, we’re competing, but it doesn’t feel like that,” said Jennifer Barry, Engineering Manager, Onboarding/Account/User and Device Services. “Everyone is helping each other along the way.”
On Thursday morning, Hackathon teams submit a video pitch of their project. Then all 300+ of our hackathon participants review projects and vote on the top 10 that get to move on to the next round.
Our 10 finalists' projects go through a technical review, and then a panel of our executive judges narrow the pool down to five finalists. On Friday morning, those five finalists pitch directly to Peloton’s Lead Team, who make up the panel of final-round judges.
“It’s an incredible opportunity to share ideas with your incredibly talented teammates and bring them to life,” said Thansha Sadacharam, Tech Learning Program Lead.
And that’s exactly what we’re hoping to foster – more ways to bring creative ideas to life from those who know Peloton’s products inside and out.
“I love the passion and innovation our team brings to Hackathon every year,” said Matt Skavenski, SVP of Engineering for Mobile and Shop. “I also love that we enable our teams to ship hacks that benefit millions of our Peloton Members.”
Check out the recap video below and see you next year!