Today was a very eventful day indeed. I spent about 3 hours of it dedicated to DropQuest – a puzzle challenge organized by dropbox. I ended up placing 207th and enjoyed every second of DropQuesting.
Thinking about this in hindsight, I see a lot of things that built the customer relationship between dropbox and made all the customers happy. Firstly, the competition was a puzzle challenge and not a hackathon – which means that everyone can participate. Then you have the fact that everyone wins for participating. Dropbox promised 1 Gig of space for life upon completion but instead of giving it in one lump sum upon completion, the gradually gave out 50 -100 mb of space every 2 to 3 rounds. This kept people pumped cause as they are playing the game, they are winning.
Though this would have been a good way to attract new customers, the people who were engaged the most are probably the existing ones. There was an irc channel set up for this and there were hundreds of people in there chatting with each other hours before the event began. What were they talking about? DropBox! When you get your customers talking to each other about how awesome your product is, the new guys who is on the fence on whether to buy or not is going to buy. This is also a lesson for companies that screw over their existing customers to attract new ones – I’m looking at you Linode.
Lastly, the competition was interesting and fun in itself. And the exhilaration one feels when they complete each level – it’s almost primal. At one point in the competition, I realized that I was the first person to solve a puzzle (The 22nd one) and I was on my toes ready to win this thing. In the end, I placed 207th, which means no special prizes but damn! I loved it and don’t care to not have won.
I’d love to see more companies do similar events. Not hackathons as much as puzzles, cause Ajai heaRts puzzles.