Lifeblue’s sixth annual Hack Week was packed with bonding, big solutions and some legit fun

by Liz

We’re feeling closer than ever after teaming up with Heifer International for our sixth annual Hack Week, where we tackle our partner’s big issues by delivering big solutions – with lots of laughs along the way.

This year, we had one main goal when we sent a sizable squad to Heifer’s headquarters: to support their mission to end hunger and poverty worldwide by launching the new Heifer.org, a massive website that rethinks how donors and nonprofits interact.

Thanks to months of thoughtful preparation and some late nights spent polishing, the team flipped the switch as expected on the last full day.

The launch was the perfect ending to Hack Week, a tradition that’s a lot like summer camp – except instead of making friendship bracelets, we develop technology to help people around the world. 

We trekked up to Little Rock on a Sunday and settled into their sunny, sustainable offices with a few members of their team to work, work, work while making plenty of coffee runs and exploring the grounds, which include a working farm.

Three people look at llamas and alpacas on the Heifer farm.

“I love animals, so getting a chance to go out and see the llamas, goats and chickens was definitely a highlight,” said front-end developer Lindsay Forrister, who attended Hack Week for the first time. “I also took a tour of the Heifer campus and was also blown away with how much thought went into its creation. 

“Everything from the bamboo floors to the solar panels and their AC systems were designed to be sustainable and go along with Heifer’s mission to help protect the Earth and its people.”

One moment people would be working with their heads down and the next, there’d be an impromptu whiteboarding session. Through it all, we always had music going – Stevie Wonder one minute, Britney Spears the next.

A Lifeblue team member with bright turquoise headphones writes on a pad of paper, while looking at a screen connected to her laptop. In the background are two other people working on computers.

And no matter how late we worked, we’d always unwind over good dinners at local restaurants.

Unfortunately, Hanaroo, our beloved (sometimes risky) sushi place has closed down, but we’ve got an entire mural in our office to remember it by. We instead went to another Hack Week staple: Local Lime, where kicked things off with a toast over margs, because you can’t keep us away from Tex-Mex, even in Arkansas.

Launching the site was easily the best moment of the week for Jordan Savant, our lead back-end developer who’s been to three Hack Weeks now, but the kickoff dinner was a runner-up. 

“That first night when we were all at the Local Lime you kind of had the buzz of anticipation, we were like a unit about to go on an adventure,” Jordan said. “There was a lot of excitement there and it only continued to grow throughout the week.”

 That collaborative, can-do spirit is at the core of our culture. And that week spent so intensely focused on helping our partners live out their mission propels us forward all year long.