Almost four years ago, my first week at Zillow started in a cultural phenomenon we call “Hack Week”. It’s a whirlwind of ideation, experimentation, new projects, new people, and new friends. It’s also an integral part of Zillow Group’s engineering culture. The bi-annual events provide employees with an opportunity to be creative and and personally contribute to our vision of transforming how people buy, sell, rent and finance homes. Teams across the country work on projects that innovate on our tools, products and processes with the goal of creating seamless real estate transactions for today’s on-demand customer.
Over the years several of our Hack Week ideas have turned into products that help our customers find a home they’ll love:
Trulia’s Local Legal Protections feature is an example of an employee-led idea that helps homebuyers understand the non-discrimination laws that exist for the local LGBTQ community. The former Hack Week project let’s home buyers know if their prospective new home is located in an area with housing, employment, and public accommodation laws to prevent against discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
The Good Alan Hack Week project evolved into our own internal CSAT platform (Quest), which now powers Best of Zillow — helping consumers identify agents with the highest satisfaction ratings in real estate. Subsequent Hack Week projects have added support for identifying discrimination and the ability to block home shoppers from being connected twice with an agent they didn’t like. This platform has empowered us with the data to ensure every home shopper has a great experience with their Zillow Premier Agent.
Zillows new 404 “Page Not Found” page received a fun animated facelift with our 2019 Hack Week project to create more delight for shoppers and inspire a culture of delight within Zillow Group. The new page, known as “The Kitty 404” has evolved into a cultural icon finding its way onto laptops and more.
Satellite imagery often lags behind the pace of real estate development. As a result, new homes often appeared as red dots in a forest, desert, or field. The new construction team saw the opportunity to repurpose the rich visual community maps builders create as an overlay to demonstrate how a community will develop over time. What started as Hack Week project Field of Dreams is now Inline Community Preview, and there are over 300 community map overlays live on Zillow today.
Got a great idea? Visit our careers page if you’re interested in joining Zillow and participating in Hack Week 2020!