verb (used with object)
1. to suppress; put an end to; extinguish.

We base our work year around quarters, like a lot of companies do. At the end of each quarter, we have a “quell” week. It’s the end of the quarter, and it’s time for us to spend some time and think about what we did and what we’re going to do next.

Quell weeks are a mix of meetings, good food, and change. We change a lot around here, but that’s how we get better. Quell weeks make some people nervous, and some excited.

As our last quarter ended, some of our developers suggested that we do a “hackathon”, and see what we could achieve. We decided to do it. But in the true Rustici Software spirit, we couldn’t call it a “hackathon” — we called it a Quack — half quell, half hack.

Mike and Tim (the owners) stayed out of it. They let us come up with our own ideas and organize into groups as we saw fit.

…and there were awards. $500 to the team that Mike and Tim saw as the winner, and $500 to the team that the company, as a whole, voted to win.

We quacked last week. We built things. We created things to help the company and our customers. I’m not going to list them all here; they’ll be explained in a subsequent blog post.

While Mike and Tim retreated to Mike’s office to discuss their “winner”, we all voted. It’s important to note that we had to put our names on our ballots, so if you self-voted, everybody would know it. It could be an endless opportunity for your peers to shame you (not that we’d do that).

There were too many good quacks for Mike and Tim to decide on one winner, so their award was split between two teams. Winner #1 was “Team John and Andy”, with their easy-to-use Tin Can API statement generator that can be deployed to customers that want to let their users capture their experiences. Winner #2 was given Ervin, Nathan, and Brian M. for their work in making our software development process more efficient.

The “Mike and Tim” $500 award was split between those two teams. It came from an envelope full of $20 bills, so I’m not sure which team got the extra $20.

The company-voted prize was awarded to the team of David, TJ, and me, for giving the SCORM Cloud LRS a real home inside SCORM Cloud.

So, my team had to figure out how to split up our $500 between three people. You can’t split up twenty-five $20 evenly, so somebody had to get an extra $20. We left that job up to TJ.

TJ’s personal quack vote went to Joe Donnelly. Joe didn’t finish his quack because he got wrapped up in helping our customers with their support issues, but TJ realized the value of Joe taking the time to take a deep dive into our code, the Tin Can API spec, and learn more about code in general. When our customers have issues, Joe is the first person that has contact with them, and by Joe having a better working knowledge of the code, over time, the added value to our customers and our company is priceless.

TJ divided the cash award and handed me a folded stack of $20 bills. I didn’t count it. I didn’t know where the extra $20 bill went.

Mike made a joke about how it would be funny if TJ gave the extra $20 bill to Joe.

TJ: “What else would I have done with it?”

I was speechless.


That mindset is what makes Rustici Software the best place to work.