eCommerce Hackathon

eCommerce Hack Day organized by DWolla (Alex Taub) and Etsy was a gathering of developers, designers and API evangelists from all around the nation. We Pay flew from the west cost to sponsor the occasion (one sponsor out of many) and support their awesome product.

In that hack day I had to great pleasure and fun to work with a bunch of people: Jay Zalowitz a teen spirit and a great entrepreneur in the making, Gabriel Butu BI that provided us with English accent, Angie Chan that was the first to answer to the call "Who is the best designer in the house?" and Justin Walker the man and the jewel (Ruby).

The best part of any hackathon, unless you have an agenda to promote your start up, is to come up with an idea. Taking into account the eCommerce theme, the sponsors API, and the mood the team was in, we create a subscription service that uses DWolla and WePay for online payments.

Mashing Volkan's shoes idea, Chris subscription idea and Jay's smile I came up with a Shoe subscription service, that later on Gabriel donated the product's name "Well Heeled".
The service is very simple - every month you will get a shoe! that's it, no more no less, a shoe! 

While Justin and Jay worked on bringing Well Heeled to life on Heroku, I developed a small iOS game PricePop using Zappos API. The game is very simple, the app presents an image of a product (shoe for example) and you need to choose the right price out of 4 options. In every game session there are 5 products and the player gains points on a true answer and speed. At the and base on the performance we gratify the player with a discount coupon to purchase the featuring products from Zappos. 
 pricePop end of game PricePop

The simplicity of the game covers the wonderful opportunity to measure brand recognition and under pricing accidents. 

Because it is a 24h hack, not including the extra 6 hours for demos, Jay made sure to bring people to hear the pitch for Well Heeled. 

Gilad Shai and Ben Milne
Ben Milne from DWolla, came to make sure that we don't abuse DWolla API by selling people a shoe every month. I might say, that at this point I got really good in keeping a  straight face when explaining about the triple  black diamond premium subscription service that matches wine to a shoe.

I must confess that there were couple of people that didn't get the Well Heeled joke.
A writer from a known blog asked me "When do I get the other shoe?", and "If I don't like the shoe?". The service is simple - you get a shoe every month, left, right, blue, red, for women, or for men, you get a shoe. If you don't want a shoe, don't use the service. 
Albert Wegner from Union Ventures Capital described it as the MVP without the V.
He was a good spirit and expressed a great sense of humor after he understood that users with a pair of shoes will be able to monetize the left shoe and the right shoe as a unique product.

In my opinion, the funniest answer came as a response to Alex's question "Why only one shoe, why don't you provide 2 shoes?" the answer was simple "We decided to start slow and not to jump in with two feet, we are taking it one shoe at a time..." 

To add more for this crazy hackathon atmosphere Jay started playing at 5:00
the following vid

PSY - Gangnam style