Intuit Developer - Quickbooks Connect 2016 Hackathon

The Hackathon (aka #SmallBizHack)

The Small Business Tech Hackathon is a pre-conference event to Intuit's annual Quickbooks Connect conference, and the challenge for participants is to build a brand new solution that address one of the following two areas (link):
  • Category 1: Create an app that saves a small business time or money by solving a unique SMB problem
  • Category 2: Create an app that saves a non-profit organization's time or money by solving a unique non-profit problem

For added bonuses, teams were encouraged to utilise one or more of the following partner APIs (link):
  • Jibo: the Social Robot
  • Square: Credit card processing - Accept Payments anywhere
  • Google's Conversational UX platform
  • Quickbooks: Accounting software for small businesses
  • Postman: How people build and test APIs
  • Other IOT gadgets: Amazon Echo, Oculus Rift, Apple Watch, Nest Home Devices etc.
Location: San Jose Convention Center, San Jose, CA
Date: 22-23 October 2016 (Sat - Sun) 

My Team's Hack

We went to the competition with a blank state to see what we could create from scratch within 24 hours. Upon seeing some of the demos by the event organisers, we fell in love specifically with the Jibo robot as it appeared to be very engaging. We also liked the demonstration as we could build in intelligence into text messages.

Considering that one of the key problems faced by non-profit organisations is on the management of donations and donors engagement, after some brainstorming, my team came out with a simple and innovative idea for non-profit organisations. Why not deploy an engaging social robot, Jibo, to collect donations for these organisations? 

With the above user story, my team worked together to complete the following process flow. Being familiar with accounting systems, I worked on 5-7 (Github Codes here):
1. Jibo is programmed to dance and attract the attention of potential donors.
2. Upon receiving voice-converted-to-text message from Jibo, the analyses the text to return an appropriate response. For example, if the potential donor asks "What are you doing here?", Jibo will reply "I am here to collect donations. Would you like to donate?"
3. Jibo is programmed to display a 2D barcode if the donor wants to donate. If the donor does not want to donate, Jibo will be upset or it will try to dance to convince the donor to change his/her mind.
4. Upon scanning the 2D barcode, the URL is linked to our hosted website.
5. The website has a form that the user can fill in, and it will be connected to the Square API to deduct the appropriate donation amount.
6. Due to the interest of time, I used Postman's collection to GET the results from Square API to generate the appropriate POST API call to Intuit's sandbox environment. 
7. A sales receipt is created in quickbooks and an email can be sent back to the donor to close the loop.
8. Jibo dances to thank the donor once payment has been processed.

The following images are some tweets regarding our hack: 

our pitch

we won the Jibo prize
This is a post event video we did to showcase our end-to-end process flow:

To sum up, this hackathon was fun! It was definitely an enriching and memorable experience for me and my team. We are looking forward to attend more of such events.

Other Random Things

Interesting quotes on walls --

Delicious food -

Further Details

Intuit Blog:
Twitter: @IntuitDev #SmallBizHack @JiboDev #JiboDonor


  1. This event seems very interesting! Everything you all are doing is way above my head, but I think it would have been neat to see all of the apps that were presented. The app your team came up with was a creative idea. I would be curious to see how your app would play out in real time.

    Lucius Cambell @ Skild

  2. Thanks Lucius! You can find short write ups of the other winning apps here: ( To be honest, I am also curious about how will the market will react to our app. The progression of social robots in general is a pretty interesting area to watch. For developers, it is fun to build, and for consumers, the robot interacts in ways that could be entertaining for them; the audience had a good laugh when the Jibo we programmed got impatient on stage. :)

  3. Very informative..thnaks for sharing!

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