Twitter Employees Get Google's 20% Time… For The Entire Next Week

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Well this is sort of interesting. Apparently, Twitter has just kicked off something they’re calling their “Hack Week”. But instead of it being a time when various third-party developers get together to hack on things off of Twitter’s APIs, Twitter employees themselves are going to see what crazy cool things they can come up with.

A post on their engineering blog outlines this. “We’ll all be building things that are separate from our normal work and not part of our day-to-day jobs,” the post notes. This sounds a lot like Google’s “20 percent time” — Google employees are encouraged to spend up to 20 percent of their time working on interesting side projects not directly related to their actual work.

In the past, as they dealt with scaling problems, Twitter hasn’t had such a luxury. But with New Twitter out the door (and its new backend), they apparently feel comfortable enough to screw around on some crazy stuff. That could be good news for us, the users. Some of the coolest stuff Google has come up with has been from 20 percent projects.

Here’s the key blurb:

There aren’t many rules – basically we’ll work in small teams and share our projects with the company at the end of the week. What will happen with each project will be determined once it’s complete. Some may ship immediately, others may be added to the roadmap and built out in the future, and the remainder may serve as creative inspiration.

Of course, we’ll keep an eye out for whales,” the post humorously notes as well.

Twitter has a Twitter account for the week as well where they’re asking for ideas.

Update: One interesting other tidbit is that this type of thing is exactly how Twitter itself was born. A few years ago, Evan Williams podcasting company, Odeo, wasn’t doing so well in the face of tough competition from big players like Apple, so a bunch of employees broke into teams to come up with new crazy ideas. A young engineer named Jack Dorsey came up with Twitter…

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