At the close of every year, we give back to our community, our loved ones, and of course, our team. In past years, we gifted our team the latest and greatest gadget. But for 2019, we wanted to break the mold with an extremely personal gift for each Radical on the team.
Before we loop you in to on our 2019 gift, let’s back up to a Radical’s hackathon project this past May of 2019.
Ryan Stevens, Head of Design at Square Root, embarked on an experiment turning audio into visualizations. With this project, Ryan set out to create unique, “winning” posters, utilizing audio that is unique to the Square Root experience. From Ryan’s project, he was able to create original visuals using an algorithm that detects audio patterns while also reflecting the Square Root brand (i.e. math-y, nerdy + techie).
Ryan’s hackathon project picked up where another Hackathon project (called “Chrisopolis”) left off. He used image data to populate unique cities into a visualization (the darker the sample, the taller the buildings). Inspired by our product, CoEFFICIENT, Ryan wanted a better way to view every store as unique by using data science, engineering, and design.
Three years later, Ryan wanted to know: how can we use this approach to better brand our culture?
Hackathon result: reinventing visualizations of our company values.
During the Hackathons, Ryan continues to expand the bounds of what he knows, and never fails to share learnings back to the team. That’s the spirit of our Thrive value, so it was only fitting that Thrive should be visualization number one! He partnered with Nick Karwoski (IT Manager + January 2019 winner of our bi-annual Thrive award), to provide the audio recording for the poster design.
In addition to all the “oohs” and “ahhs” at the Hackathon presentations, Ryan nabbed one of the Make It Real awards. This award green lights the Hackathon projects Square Root would like to invest in. Ryan brought his idea to life, but his journey wasn’t done.
When Chris and I began working on everyone’s end of year gift, we chose the challenge of assembling individually crafted art for each Radical. After some brainstorming sessions, Chris, inspired by Ryan’s Hackathon project, suggested using Ryan’s sound design process. I was all in! Together, we mixed hand-written, individual messages with recorded audio and turned it into original art for each Radical on the team. Radicals received the art piece and a hand-written note with the same message from Chris. All generated with 🖤 by Square Root.
Once we began the project, Ryan went even further to detail the length that each Radical has been with Square Root. For every anniversary, a yellow line was created within the ring of the audio message, similar to a tree trunk’s history. But for those who are within their first year at Square Root, we added a starburst effect to account for this being “their time” to make Square Root even better.
I’m proud to work with a team pushing for innovation, risk-taking, and collaboration. This team effort took a Hackathon project and wove it together with personalized messages to capture the individual accomplishments of everyone on the team. We all have a piece of art now to tie us to 2019 and to remind us of the success we achieved – together.
Cheers to an extraordinary 2019 + an even bigger 2020 just around the corner!
Kelsey, Fun-Time Connoisseur
Kelsey brings her passion + operational grit to HR + Recruiting at Square Root. Her goal every day is to ensure all Radicals feel excited to take on the challenges that lie ahead, while also making sure we have fun while working together. Prior to Square Root, Kelsey comes from non-profit arts administration where she helped develop donor relations + special events for opera and ballet companies. Outside of Square Root, Kelsey is a musician + creative coach around Austin, TX, and also cofounded a creative tech startup to help artists collaborate + work together, but locally.
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