In our Event Spotlight series, we cover the industry events of all kinds to help builders learn about the latest tech, trends, and people innovating in the data and analytics space.

Sisense Hackathon 2020 continues our annual tradition of pushing the envelope for innovation, creativity, and collaboration, company-wide. A diverse array of Sisensers with different backgrounds brainstorm wild ideas to build new products and solve problems. 

This year we are focused on development in the cloud and to make it an unforgettable occasion, we’re partnering with the biggest name in cloud computing: Amazon Web Services (AWS). AWS isn’t just slapping a name on our Hackathon, they’re an integral part of the program, empowering our builders with AWS resources to help build bigger and bolder ideas. Not to mention giving us some awesome prizes. Read on to explore the origins and philosophy of our Hackathon, explore our relationship with AWS, and get a taste of what you can expect from our amazing builders. You might just be inspired to have your own Hackathon!

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Everyone’s a Builder

Spearheading this year’s Hackathon is a seasoned Partner Solutions Engineer, Lio Fleishman. When he’s not building integrations with partners or helping SE’s to close deals, he spends his time enhancing Sisense, the platform that he also helped to build, with add-ons like the Sisense Adobe XD Plug-in Sisense first open-source repository and other projects. Building new solutions and functionalities is a core element of Sisense’s DNA. So many teammates feel strongly about the work they do, coming in every day to make the platform a little better than it was before, improving the lives of both clients and Sisensers alike. For Lio, the Hackathon is a direct extension of his philosophy about building: “To build something for me is to create… I know those words mean the same things, but imagine that before there was nothing and now there’s something new! That’s how exciting the Hackathon is.”

To build something for me is to create… I know those words mean the same things, but imagine that before there was nothing and now there’s something new! That’s how exciting the Hackathon is.

Tackling the world’s biggest data and analytics challenges requires a team of builders with myriad skills attacking the problem from different angles. Another of our premier builders is our Head of Data Science and chief AI researcher, Inna Tokarev Sela. She’s used to dealing with radical new ideas in AI and Big Data, traveling the world to share her expertise at conferences and helping others get a handle on the ways in which AI is changing analytics. Her team is like a never-ending Hackathon, endlessly coming up with new ways to use AI to pull insights out of the biggest data sets. However, she says that one-way Hackathons are very different from day-to-day work is the level of creativity on display, the speed at which ideas need to be tested, and how out-of-left-field they can be: “Hackathons are the ultimate opportunity to validate an idea that is so far away from the current focus or road map or can even be audacious to think about. The team-building is also great; people create moments they will remember for years to come.”

Hackathons are the ultimate opportunity to validate an idea that is so far away from the current focus or roadmap or can even be audacious to think about. The team-building is also great; people create moments they will remember for years to come.

For Senior Technical Product Marketing Manager Shruthi Panicker, the value of building a new idea can be summed up simply, and poetically, as such: “One of the great joys in life is to build and create something positive and constructive — whether it is art, experiences, new processes, or a software app.”

Sisense and AWS: A Powerful Partnership

When AWS partners on a Hackathon, giving your teams access to AWS infrastructure to take their imaginations in dramatic new directions, it’s a big deal. Steven Larsen, Sisense Head of Partnerships and Alliances describes the depth of the Sisense-AWS connection: “Builders can build an end-to-end app for analytics on AWS + Sisense. They have all the APIs, SDKs, and tools they need. I’m excited to see what our builders come up with!”

Builders can build an end-to-end app for analytics on AWS + Sisense. They have all the APIs, SDKs, and tools they need. I’m excited to see what our builders come up with!

Hackathons bring together people from different teams and backgrounds to work on creative new projects and invent things that no one has ever thought of before. That was and still is Amazon’s bread and butter. When AWS first debuted, the idea of cloud computing seemed insane. Now every new application is built to work with cloud data sources, many are even engineered completely on the cloud using cloud-native architecture. The modern business and data world would implode completely without cloud technology; that’s how vital companies like AWS are to our modern datascape.

Lio says he’s most excited about the opportunities that the Sisense-AWS partnership presents for the Hackathon teams. Empowered by AWS, they won’t have to worry about the architecture of their applications and can more time to create what really matters to them. Noa Yaar, Partnerships Success Manager, says AWS and Sisense go great together from both a tech and a cultural perspective: “Constantly creating new things and being customer-obsessed are strong parts of the DNA of both our companies. Building on AWS is a natural fit for Sisense and we couldn’t be more excited for AWS to recognize that as sponsors, demonstrating our strong partnership.”

Constantly creating new things and being customer-obsessed are strong parts of the DNA of both our companies. Building on AWS is a natural fit for Sisense and we couldn't be more excited for AWS to recognize that as sponsors, demonstrating our strong partnership.

Shruthi echoes those sentiments, focusing on the common values between the two companies and how that will play out in the Hackathon team-up: “The Sisense and AWS partnership brings together two organizations focused on enabling builders build great solutions.”

The Sisense and AWS partnership brings together two organizations focused on enabling builders build great solutions.

So…What Will We Make?

The blank page can be the creator’s best friend or worst nightmare. Even as you read this, enterprising Sisensers are forming teams, brainstorming ideas, and coalescing into the units that will make the impossible possible and birth unexpected new inventions. Actionable analytic apps, innovative ways of sharing data and making decisions, and mind-expanding visualizations are just a few of the directions that these intrepid builders could go. With AWS at their backs and a trusty whiteboard in front of them, the sky’s the limit. Check back on January 27 for a recap of the wildest inventions and keep an eye on our Instagram for photos of teams hard at work (or play?) during the event. It’ll be 24 hours of unbridled innovation you won’t want to miss.

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Jack Cieslak is a 10-year veteran of the tech world. He’s written for Amazon, CB Insights, and others, on topics ranging from ecommerce and VC investments to crazy product launches and top-secret startup projects.

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