Hack Me Up 27: Back to the future!

Posted on 10/23/2015 by Engineering Outreach Committee

How do you imagine telcos in 50 years’ time? That's the question we posed to our colleagues yesterday at 10 am before they set to work for 31 hours in order to come up with one or more cutting-edge projects in the field of mobile communications.

The results not only met our expectations, but exceeded them. In this edition we made use of beacons and a Software Defined Radio (SDR) in order to explore the participants’ creativity to the fullest and to make use of the benefits of these devices for hacking.

There were lots of ideas and more than 15 very interesting projects, but in the end the winners of the 27th edition of HMU were:

  • In the Product category, the winning project was Emotisonos by Carmen, Andrés, Pablo, Víctor and Carlos, which consisted of creating voice filters to use when calling.
  • Suso, Stefan and Laura lifted the trophy in the Geek category with Goal to the Future, a project with a Raspberry Pi and a camera to get a replay of foosball's goals.

Challenging everything is in our DNA, which is why we are even going as far as to challenge the rules of the telco sector by developing projects that are at the forefront of technology and that will surely set the trend in the market. Congratulations to the winning teams and to all the participants! We will soon find out which projects become reality.

HMU26: Improving the customer experience

Posted on 7/03/2015 by Engineering Outreach Committee

The 26th edition of Hack Me Up came to a close with a final in which the voting was very close, with a total of 13 projects submitted. This edition, which began at 10am yesterday, drew to an end after 31 hours of non-stop coding in our Madrid office located on Gran Vía.

As always, there was no lack of pizza and energy drinks. An early morning coffee and then down to work. Over 30 people took part in this event which was eight hours longer than usual in order to enable us to move forward with one of our key business points: our customers’ experience with the service we offer.

With plenty of good ideas and innovative projects, both in the Geek and Product categories, the two winning projects were:

  • Product: The winning project, Don't waste money, don't waste time, by Ramiro R., José A. and Alejandro V., consisted of a way to filter spam calls and to call 902 numbers via VozDigital, among other functionalities. 
  • Geek: Don't show me the money, by Carlos P., Ignacio M., Emanuela M. and Sergio G., won the Geek award for creating a new payment system for the whole team to use at lunch time in the office.
Congrats to both of the winner teams! Now it's time to know which projects of this HMU will become a reality, in order to improve our products and services everyday. We'll keep you posted on this.

New edition #HMU23: Interface Your Telco

Posted on 7/25/2014 by Eng Outreach Committee

The 23rd edition of our HMU concludes with two winning projects at Tuenti's offices. Focused on creating new products that provide Tuenti Móvil customers with added value, in this edition the product portion took place with the title Interface Your Telco.

The Tuenti engineers began to prepare their projects yesterday at about 5pm, following a couple of training discussions with two team members regarding WebRTC and APIs, and they will finish them today at the same time. As always, the event included dinner at the office, naps, and a lot of work to be done.

Members of the entire Tuenti team submitted votes to select the winners. The Awesome Dialer project by Andu and Julio, which consisted of improving the phone number dialer and redirecting calls using the Tuenti app, received first place. Daniel and José Antonio earned second place with their Calls in Chat project, which transcribes free calls using the Tuenti app in the chat history as text.

Innovative Talent: Identify. Empower. Lead.

Posted on 5/10/2013 by Erik Schultink, CTO Tuenti

Talent is the key to Tuenti’s success. Continuing to build and renew our talented team will be the foundation of our future. We strive to hire people smarter than ourselves, to always raise the bar, to always demand more. But we must go beyond finding talented people; we must create a place where they are free to move quickly, take risks, and challenge convention.

Identify. One of our key initiatives to identify talent is the Tuenti Challenge.  Now in its third year, the Challenge attracts thousands of engineering students to match wits against a set of computer science problems.  The best participants are invited to a final event in Madrid, where they compete in more challenges as small teams.  The winners -  incredibly bright, self-motivated people who are passionate about coding - receive prizes and job offers.

Empower. It is not enough to identify and hire talent; we need to empower these individuals to get things done.  At Tuenti, we strive to provide the environment and processes to do so:

  • We build cross-functional teams, trying to free each team to execute within their product area without any external dependencies.
  • We try to keep processes light, to have reviews done primarily by peers and tightly time-boxed to avoid delays.
  • We automate testing and tools to streamline integrating each team’s projects into our applications and websites.

Lead. A set of teams working mostly independently brings its own challenges. To harness their efforts into a single product demands effective, focused leadership; all the more so when your teams are full of ambitious, intelligent people who feel great personal ownership in what they’re doing.  You must articulate an overall vision, ask teams to own pieces of that vision,  but ultimately cull what they produce into a single, great, coherent product.  This will require that a lot of features - the result of months of personal efforts in which people feel great personal ownership - must be cut.  Great leadership will be able to motivate people around the overall vision even in the face of such personal disappointments.

Centering Tuenti’s culture around talent has gotten us far.  We’ve built a great core social networking product; we’ve pivoted to integrating that with a mobile operator - to create an innovative, cross-platform social communications service.  It includes some great features: cross-platform messaging (web / Android / iOS / Windows Phone / BlackBerry), voicemail in the cloud, social call history, app and web-based account management - but we are just starting on the journey. We look to our focus on talent - finding the best people, empowering them, and rallying them around the vision - to bring us our future success. 

A Spanish version of this post has been publish today in Think Big.

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