When Andy recently decided to join Khan Academy, he emailed us a secretive app and said to run it on an iPad. When we did we found a fun little toy — if the device was angled in just the right way and the little knobs were in just the right position, the words “I accept” playfully emblazoned themselves on the screen. It was such a cool way to join the team.
Point is, he could’ve just emailed us his signed offer letter and the team would’ve been thrilled. Honestly he could’ve used however many hours he spent on that app to get “real work” done or find a great pizza spot. Nobody would’ve thought twice.
When we recently ran the third Khan Academy Healthy Hackathon, I announced it with a ridiculous Doctor Seuss poem (copied below in case you haven’t rolled your eyes today). I also took the time to make a whole little single-page site dedicated to introducing the hackathon.
Point is, all of that was completely unnecessary. Our hackathon was internal only and a quick email to firstname.lastname@example.org would’ve saved hours. There were at least twenty-seven better ways I could’ve been spending my time.
But if every single person made every single decision based only on what’s most valuable at that exact moment, we’d always be fighting fires.
I’ve come to appreciate how important it is for an organization to make it safe for folks to go over the top. To express themselves by taking an ordinary task — one that you might think isn’t important — and investing so much passion into it that people say, “that’s nuts.” I wanna work with more of those nuts. And I wanna help build a team that embraces ‘em.
You have hacks in your head But never the time The last thing you need Is to be reading a rhyme. But lo and behold, an opportunity rises To hack hacks and make makes and prize all sorts of prizes. It's the third time around and a chance for some firsts Hackathon Healthy Academy Khan — now read that reversed. Some hacks will work well They'll change lots of lives We'll ship 'em bug-free And exchange five high-fives. Except when they don't. Because, sometimes, they won't. I'm afraid that some hacks Might not even ship That's ok! Time for fun! Hack make build, let 'er rip.