Crayond Blog

Do you aspire to be the tree hugger?

This is short story of an ambitious team from Crayon’d, “The Protagonists” that engineered its way to glory at the “Hack for Social Good” by SPI Cinemas.

We, Crayon’d, are a product development studio from Chennai that loves participating in hackathons. We had been kept busy off late and had to let go of the chance to participate in many recent events. But we were very gung-ho about ‘Hack for Social Good’. There was something about this event that immediately kindled our curiosity, quite possibly because of its theme on UN sustainable goals. After all, as a team we aspire to impact society positively through technology.

We started ideating on the UN sustainable goals and the potential solutions that could help. Given Chennai’s recent history with cyclone Vardah and the destruction wreaked on its trees, we were very passionate about rebuilding a green future for the city. We were very taken with the idea of people growing their own ‘mini-forests’ in and around home or office spaces. What if planting trees could be made a habit? And just like that, we knew what we were going to work on.

The much anticipated hack day arrived and we had a few butterflies in our stomachs (we were still unsure of exactly what we were going to build). We walked in and were treated to some wonderful hospitality from the hackathon team. Grouping together in a quiet corner of an office bay we had been allotted, we circled around a white board and started refining our ideas. The one thing we wanted to deliver at the end of the event was a complete user experience that would blow people’s mind and a working application that could be put to some good work immediately.

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To be really honest, we ended up with a pretty ambitious list of features to build within a short time frame. But we knew we had made the right choice to build it on Hasura. It gives you the power to hit the ground running fast with its built in components. Also, for a team that’s good with product design and creating beautiful user experiences, we didn’t have to sweat about the application backend operations since the platform came with oodles of deployment automation. That being said, we were told by the organizers that we may have bitten off more that we could possibly chew.

Little did they know, this was familiar territory for us. Delivering quality with scarcely believable turnaround times is how we made our name as a product studio. While this wasn’t exactly a walk in the park, we trusted our process and our tech choices. Plus, we also had a secret sauce – we always find ways to enjoy the experience as a team and have tons of fun along the way :).

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Each of us got busy with our tasks and, soon enough, the finish line was in sight and the team had to hustle big time to wrap up the app. The hack came to an end and it was time for the final demonstrations. We were exhausted but we had our game faces on for the presentations. As luck would have it, we were the last ones to present. Not a good thing in the hackathon world!

But, as it turned out, the presentation was an unforgettable experience. Everyone in the room was excited to see a flawless demo and they couldn’t believe the fact that the app was actually live. The jury and the audience were equally enthusiastic in their applause. We drank it all in and were beaming ear to ear. Why not? After all, we just hacked an idea, brought it to life, and delivered a great experience for people interested in planting more trees. And the whole thing was live and good to go!

Be the Tree Hugger
Be the Tree Hugger

And then it was time for the jury to announce the winners. Honestly, we were way to tired and happy with the demo to care about winning. The first award was announced and it was for “Best Design”. It wasn’t a call for us :). The second award was announced for “Best Idea” and guess what – it was ‘The Protagonists’! Apparently, it wasn’t just that -we were also adjudged the winners in the “Best Team” category. What a spectacular event it turned out to be.

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The hack has now morphed into “Be the Tree Hugger” movement encouraging people to come together and build green communities. The app has received rave reviews and an overwhelming response so far and has caused quite a buzz in the media. You can read more about the technical details here:

Be the Tree Hugger Campaign at Sathyam Cinemas
Be the Tree Hugger Campaign at Sathyam Cinemas
Be the Tree Hugger featured in The Hindu
Be the Tree Hugger featured in The Hindu

If you aspire to be a Tree Hugger, get the app @ We would be live soon on iOS. Drop us a note at to strike a conversation.


Makesh Gopalakrishnan

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