A Pointless Weekend
We recently relaunched the Pointless Corp. web site, but it was in 2009 that we first explained The Point of Pointless Corp. Put simply, Pointless Corp. is a collection of projects we've built here at Viget when we're not busy with our awesome clients. It's also a philosophy and approach to learning, experimenting, enjoying each other's company, and making stuff we find to be fun and useful.
Pointless has become part of the Viget language. We often discuss project ideas in the hallway or at a happy hour. I've been known to say, "I've got a new Pointless idea for you ..." before launching into an impromptu pitch, often ignoring whether the other person wants to hear it or not (sorry!).
While all that talk is fun, execution is the real trick, and finding time to focus on internal projects is always a challenge. So, we decided to borrow from the Rails Rumble (which we often participate in) and have our own Pointless Weekend where we set out to build Pointless products in 48 hours. As a bit of a compromise, though, Viget "split" the time, offering a work day (Friday) and asking for a weekend day (Saturday).
In advance of the weekend, over lunch last week we discussed about 20 different project ideas. Anyone could pitch, and the group discussed. As you might expect, "that already exists!" was the response to a couple of pitches (which, per Pointless tradition, was met with excitement rather than disappointment.) In Durham, two ideas were selected. At HQ, we settled on a single project, in part based on who was available to help.
Side notes: (1) the core of any software project team is a software developer. Without a developer, you won't get much software development done. (2) Having an awesome designer on hand is great for results and team morale. (3). Having a disproportionate number of people who can neither design nor code will result in a lot of time spent on product naming.
At 6 pm last Thursday, the Pointless Weekend kicked off, with teams in each office huddled up and occasionally taunting our video-conferenced fellow-Vigets on the big screen.
I joined the HQ team to work on what started out as Project Tofu, and changed names several times from HungryHungryInfo to ChowDownAt and finally to Tofu Engine. We'll share more about the concept in coming weeks.
In Durham, the teams built I Dig Durham, a site that celebrates the great things about Durham, NC being shared on Twitter and Flickr, and Lunnnch, an app that makes group lunch ordering (something we do often at Viget) easy.
Each team worked hard for the weekend, and even a power outage at Viget South couldn't stop them -- they just finished up at a nearby cafe.
We learned a lot from our first official Pointless Weekend. We learned that we really enjoy working together and it's hard to get a complete app done in 48 hours. We're shooting for two weekends/year, but we also hope to launch other Pointless Projects in between. Follow @pointlesscorp on Twitter to keep up with the fun.