The pen and paper behind Verge Hack Week 2015

Analog guts behind a digital curtain

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Hack Week Badge

Welcome to the second annual Verge Hack Week. We're totally blowing up our site: we've given our reporters and editors the entire week to play with new tools and experiment with new storytelling ideas, while members of our amazing product team have gathered in New York to help build all sorts of interesting new things. Learn more.


We've reached the end of the second annual Verge Hack Week (*sniffle*), and our editorial and product development teams have combined to publish some truly awesome stuff. We put the whole staff in a Vine, photoshopped the future, predicted the next 35 years of college football, and studied what 24 hours of notifications looks like in 2015, just to name a few.

But as we worked, I noticed a trend emerge. While making this weird and wacky digital stuff, most of us did our planning and thinking in an analog way: good old pen and paper. As our various projects were hashed out, approved, and even killed, we were all busy scribbling the kind of crazy, labyrinthian notes you'd expect to find at a crime scene.

I asked my coworkers to hand over some of these insane drawings so I could document the madness, and I now present them to you, dear reader, as a symbol of a beautifully messy sendoff for Hack Week 2015. (Trust me, it's better than subjecting you to videos from last night's karaoke party.)

Should your company make a smartwatch?

Wearables are everywhere these days, so it's tempting to try to make some money from the trend. Lauren Goode went through the trouble of building a flowchart for people who want to know if they should invest in making a smartwatch. And while you might think it's a good idea, please don't make a smartwatch.

Choose how you'll die on Mars

The scope of this post about ways to die on Mars from The Verge's own space reporter Loren Grush originally was as wide as the galaxy itself, so she reined it in a bit. She turned it into a personality quiz of sorts that tells you the harsh truth in a much more efficient way. Internet truth #74: always get to the gory deaths as soon as you can.

Pop stars and tech titans are best friends

Pop stars and tech industry leaders have co-mingled for years. Entertainment reporter Jamieson Cox not only came up with a way for you to find your perfect celebrity accomplice, he also made a randomizer that guesses what future pairings might happen. One totally believable scenario: "Wiz Khalifa and Palmer Luckey will meet at a Tim Hortons, and they'll become best friends forever."

What do the government's secrets look like?

News editor and FOIA ninja Colin Lecher made this incredible chart that — despite its pledges of openness — shows just how much the government is hiding from the public. Evidently, Colin is so good at sifting through government documents that he can plan out a post like this with just one tiny slice of notebook paper.

What is the best drone for you?

Resident drone sensei Ben Popper guides you to the perfect drone in this flowchart. This particular tool tangled the minds of a number of Verge staffers this week, mostly because the only limitation is your mind. And maybe CSS. But mostly your mind.

Counting the times "bones" is said on Bones

Bones is a TV show. There is a character on this TV show whose nickname is "Bones." She is a forensics expert who investigates bones. So obviously I was compelled to count out the number of times the word "bones" has been used in the 10 years Bones has been on the air. After spending an hour tabbing back and forth between a Google doc, I gave up and went to a notepad.

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