FNB Codefest: The Moonshot Factory

Technical craftsmanship must be co-located, showcased and rewarded to achieve real breakthroughs; spaceflight and banking are no different.

NASA employs the brightest people on this planet so we can learn about other planets and even land on them. Elon Musk personally phones the top grads from Harvard, Yale and MIT to lure them into his SpaceX rocket factory (read more about Elon Musk here). Both showcase and reward technical craftsmanship to achieve space travel which is why every other industry “just isn’t rocket science.” [paragraph 1 of 5]

Google uses the term moonshot to describe ambitious projects at its highly secretive lab Google X; projects such as Calico, aimed at achieving measurable life extension.  Google requires qualifying moonshot projects to; address a huge problem, propose a radical solution and use breakthrough technology. We aren’t literally going to the moon at this year’s FNB codeFest but for our ninja coders and those learning their craft some of the work they do is the banking equivalent. [2/5]

Despite being an incredibly resilient industry, there are big challenges in banking; regulations, fintech disruption, complex processes and increased urgency of improved customer centricity (read more about the real e-race in banking here). FNB’s culture enables it to address these issues through decentralised product and process innovation which also rewards employees and teams for doing this proactively. Codefest accelerates this with an annual 6 day IT sprint where hundreds of developers work on business problems that require radical solutions using breakthrough technology. [3/5]

A business stakeholder at last year’s event described it as “our factory floor; these guys can get their widgets out faster and better”. Just as rocket scientists don’t work in isolation, top coders achieve better ideas at a faster pace when they self-organise under pressure in a highly creative and collaborative workspace. This intense environment is what FNB Codefest aims to achieve for the 48 hour coding marathon, while also giving the experts a chance to show why they are the rock star programmers that have a shot at the big prizes. [4/5]

Elon Musk wasn’t just aiming for spaceflight, he was ambitiously also trying to land his rockets back on earth and has had spectacular failures before he eventually succeeded. Just like Thomas Edison’s 10000 failed light bulbs, each attempt improves the next, each idea sparks new ones that build on eachother. FirstRand’s moonshot factory runs 3-7th October; if it helps our customers with better banking products and services then they will be over the moon. [5/5]

More information about FNB Codefest at www.FNBCodefest.co.za. Read this article on LinkedIn.

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