Social investors. The eToro team shares on Visible Banking the top 5 lessons from their recent 48h hackathon tapping open innovation in the investment industry.
In the last 18 months, I’ve followed the many achievements and key milestones of eToro the leading -and unarguably the most innovative- independent online community for investors with over 2.7 million members in 140+ countries (etoro.com).
A few years ago, I worked in banking innovation for one of the largest UK financial institutions, so I am always excited to see innovative, open, initiatives from the financial services industry like a crowdsouring platform like CommBank’s Ideabank or first direct’s innovation lab, or an open collaboration effort as part of a 24h or 48h hackathon like eToro’s.
Earlier this month, I invited the eToro team to share their key learnings following the success of their first 48h etoro hackathon. A few days ago, Abby Tsype – content editor and blog administrator for eToro emailed me her contribution.
I invite you to read her insightful guest post. I’m hoping you will find the article inspiring.
The eToro Hackathon, which took place in the 48 hours of February 20-21, was a whirlwind of ideas, development marathons, educational courses and overall unbridled energy that left a profound imprint on eToro as a company.
If you had taken a tour of the eToro offices on February 20-21, you would have never guessed that you were visiting a social investment company. With groups of laptop armed and red eyed men and women scattered all over the office space (some of them strewn on beanbags, some on the floor), cocooned figures of exhausted programmers taking naps in their sleeping bags under their desks, and masked lunatics running around in preparation for the eToro Harlem Shake, the office resembled some bizarre hybrid of madhouse, kindergarten and summer camp.
However, the lack of sleep and the extra pounds gained as a result of interminable midnight binging in our office kitchenettes were all proven worthwhile as the Hackathon gave birth to multiple new features, some of which were completed and released within the 48 hour span of the event. Some of the more successful products that emerged from the Hackathon include “OpenBook It” – a Chrome Browser plugin that enableseveryone to share items from anywhere on the Internet on the eToro OpenBook, “eToro Search” – we made our entire domain searchable, and “TweeToro” – a revolutionary new way for investors to buy stock via Twitter.
More importantly, our experiment in expedited execution yielded some valuable lessons:
1. There’s no speed limit in developing
People can accomplish amazing things in amazingly brief periods of time when they are allowed to focus all their energy towards one goal, without worrying about quitting time. Our team of developers completed entire projects that in the context of their regular work routine would have taken weeks to accomplish. This begs the question: is it more productive in general to work in brief but continuous spurts of intense productivity rather than spread the workload incrementally over more lengthy time spans? Time will tell over the course of the next Hackathons that we’ve got planned for this year.
2. Video is king
We uploaded several videos during the Hackathon that generated unprecedented audience and user engagement numbers. Our “eToro Shake” video got over 4,000 views the 24 hours after its release and is now inching towards the 300,000 mark. We also released several Hackathon updates, including an eToro Treasure hunt invitation, which also got over 1,500 views on the day of their release. Our conclusion was that video is the best way of engaging our users face to face, and giving them a personal connection to the company. Since then we’ve been uploading videos on an almost daily basis which have been generating steady views (see chart below).