Salseforce's inaugural hackathon led to an outcry from the developer community. After a review Salesforce has decided to award another $1 million to the team originally placed second. Will this satisfy the critics?
The reasons why Salesforce faced such a vehement backlash were explained in Salesforce $1 Million Hackathon Prize Causes Controversy but in a nutshell there were problems both with the outcome and with the entire process of this competition.
There were two distinct complaints about the two-man team that won the record-breaking first prize of $1 million with an app called Upshot :
- The team leader was an ex-Salesforce employee
- An app from the Upshot team had already reached the stage at which it could be demoed before the contest was even announced
The other cause for concern was about the lack of feedback and the fact that it was only the submissions from the five finalists that were made public. The element of learning from what other teams had produced was missing from this event and the judging process came in for criticism.
In his latest statement Adam Seligman tries to address all these issues by sharing the results of a week-long internal review which found that the winning team did not break the rules. Specifically the internal audit team decided:
UpShot as a team was eligible under the rules of the hackathon. One of the members was a former salesforce.com employee, but based on his departure date from the company, he was eligible.
We reviewed the source code of Upshot’s submission. It showed that Upshot started with some existing code, but the mobile app was created within the contest window and a majority of the submission was new code created during that time.
While the Upshot mobile app used some pre-existing code, this did not violate the rules. Use of pre-existing code was allowable as long as the code didn’t comprise the majority of the app and didn’t violate any third party’s rights. Our internal review determined that Upshot’s mobile app was created during the hackathon and met these criteria.
Seligman next addresses a concern about the team whose app Healthcare.love was placed second and has now been awarded $1 million. The complaint here was that they are employed by a company funded by Salesforce. The internal review:
- determined that the team was eligible to participate because such investment is immaterial and salesforce.com has no ability to control the referenced company. As a result, it is not a “salesforce.com-related” entity under the rules.
A lot of people would disagree with this finding and Salesforce may face a further set of angry comments at giving Healthcare.love its second $1 million.
To appease devs who were disappointed that their submissions had sunk without trace there are now 81 available to view and comment on on the Challenge Post Submission Gallery.
The other outcome that will be welcomed by devs is that Salesforce now knows that it hasn't the competency for running hackathons and that it will partner with an outside firm for future contests.