Feeding My Inner Nerd…

Last week, I had the opportunity to attend the HackMIT event.  I’d like to say it was as a team member, but those days are behind me (at least for now).

I did however, have the unexpected honor of being able to assist in the selection of the final winners.  The range of applications that were developed was pretty amazing.  I was inspired at the attention to detail, and especially regarding the thought that went into the applications in terms of user experience.

Each of the eight finalists designed their entries to solve a particular problem, and the UX was designed for their customers.  I have seen A round venture pitches that weren’t as well thought out on who the customer was and what they expected than what the HackMIT teams demonstrated through their designs. The entries touched on a wide gambit of problems to solve.  Here’s just a few examples:

  • An Olin College team had built a robot arm from cardboard that supported multiple degrees of freedom. Their target users were middle school students, to teach them about robotics and programming. They scored high.
  • There was a pub crawl application that was pretty entertaining. What was spectacular about this application was the UX. The more inebriated you became during the crawl, the fewer choices you were given and the bigger the icons became.  Talk about designing for your audience…no matter where they are in their particular customer life cycle.

Also interesting was how much the applications tied into third party APIs like Uber, Dropbox, and Google Map. Almost every solution brought together multiple applications to solve a problem or offer more than a standalone solution.

As I consider the future of IT infrastructure, two things extremely important in the next evolution are:

1.    User Experience needs to adapt to the role of the user, and their expertise.
2.    APIs to work between application silos in the Enterprise are more important than ever.

Seems like the next generation of tech leaders already have these two aforementioned areas covered.  Focusing on the User Experience by investing in the UI and breaking down barriers to adoption fosters future success. This made me glad to participate as a judge at Hackathon. The finalists’ focus on their end-users reaffirmed what I’ve come to learn in my years in technology: an unwavering focus on the customer is key to being successful.

If you’re intrigued and want to check out some other presentations for the eight finalists you can view them here:

After watching this, I’m sure you’ll agree the future of technology is bright, with a new generation of leaders already immersing themselves in what is important now and into the future.

For more information on where DataGravity will be and to keep up on our thoughts on storage, technology follow us on Twitter.

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Paula Long

Paula Long is the CEO and co-founder of DataGravity. She previously co-founded storage provider EqualLogic, which was acquired by Dell for $1.4 billion in 2008. She remained at Dell as vice president of storage until 2010. Prior to EqualLogic, she served in engineering management positions at Allaire Corporation and oversaw the ClusterCATS product line at Bright Tiger Technologies. She is a graduate of Westfield State College.