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Hackweek at Vise: How friendly competition connects us

From creative passion projects to office-warming events, it was a week for team bonding and culture-building.

By Johnathan Anderson

We hosted our annual Hackweek at Vise recently, and I wanted to share a little bit about my experience as an organizer and a participant.

Hackweek is a time for everyone at Vise to drop what we’re doing for one week and work on passion projects with teams of our choosing. These projects are inspired by ideas that we have not been able to prioritize on our roadmap (yet) but could deliver outsized benefits to our internal team and/or clients with just one week’s worth of attention. 

I wanted to lead the charge to organize Hackweek this year because I saw a lot of good ideas and bonding during our first Hackweek last year. Vise was also preparing to relocate to a new office — I felt that the team could use a change of pace while we got acquainted with the new space, since a lot of us were there in person during the opening week.

The week embodied our company values: Value Growth, Solve for the Customer, Dare to Dream, and One Vise. We spent the entire week brainstorming and building in teams that we don’t usually work with on a daily basis, and ultimately developed several projects that will solve significant pain points once they make their way into production. We also had a lot of fun breaking in our new space with some awesome hacks!

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Solving problems and bonding

Our Hackweek projects focused on solving a wide range of problems. One project involved allowing clients to white-label a portion of our product. Another offered clients greater control of our target model by providing a new input in the portfolio creator. A few projects had more of an infrastructure focus, as they sought to reduce the amount of clutter in our internal Datadog traces and revamp our user permissioning structure. Others specifically catered to improving our clients’ experience when onboarding to and logging into the platform. And the remaining project used machine learning to decipher patterns from our optimizer’s behavior.

Stay tuned for more details about these projects as we finalize them and launch many of them  into production!

The week was also an important opportunity for the entire Vise team to bond and get to know each other better. We had various teamwide office-warming events throughout the week including a welcome breakfast, project pitch event, team-matching ceremony, potluck lunch, team dinner, happy hour (featuring some fun games), and project demos and awards. It was really great to come together in person to tackle some tough problems and build solutions that will ultimately benefit our clients.

Annie Wang (left) and Karmen Yuan lead one of Hackweek's team bonding activities.
Building culture at Vise

I’m excited to see how much more we can accomplish in future Hackweeks. This year, I noticed an improvement in the practicality, usefulness, and final quality of our projects compared to last year’s Hackweek, and I’m confident that next year’s projects will be even better!

Hackweek is just one of the ways we’ve worked to build a fun and engaging culture at Vise. We always try to keep things fun with events like this one, and we have a very close-knit team which results in great collaboration and ultimately makes work much more enjoyable. There’s also a high sense of autonomy and initiative: Everyone can contribute in the areas that motivate them and mold their role into what they think is best for them and the organization.

I’m happy to be part of such a strong engineering team and culture at Vise, and am looking forward to playing a part in building the future of wealth management!

Johnathan Anderson is a software engineer at Vise.

September 2, 2022