2020: Hitchhikers Year in Review

Author: Liz Frailey, VP Developer & Admin Experience
Blog Date: December 2020

2020 has been a rollercoaster of a year for everyone for a multitude of reasons. On the Hitchhikers Team, we were able to overcome some of the year's obstacles to really transform the program. The pandemic motivated our team to accelerate the development of Hitchhikers so that we could make the Training & Community available to people externally and internally faster. We challenged ourselves to accomplish even more than what we thought possible — and looking back, it's hard to comprehend how we did it all!

In January, 2020, our team had just begun to think about the training. Our number one goal was to provide training that could help Hitchhikers around the world be successful in building amazing search experiences with Yext. We started hosting some impromptu live training sessions internally on our different products, testing out what topics to cover, understanding what questions people were asking, and playing around with ways to test knowledge using quizzes and hands-on challenges. Our digital platform at hitchhikers.yext.com was just starting to come to life and we were showing it off internally at both our Engineering and our Product & Strategy annual offsites.

By March, we had started to offer a 90-day Answers Free Trial to customers. We needed to train more people internally and externally on how to do this, which accelerated our timeline for getting this training, and the product, ready. We started to provide access to some folks internally to the training, getting feedback from people all over the globe.

In July, we launched our Hitchhikers Private Beta, where we gave access to the site to over 800 people from brands and partners around the world. We solicited feedback on all parts of the platform, including the Community, the Training, Office Hours, Events, and our Blog.

So many of you responded so quickly and positively, allowing us to shorten our Beta and publicly launch Hitchhikers in September 2020. In that time, we added things like Curriculums and Guides as additional resources to hone your administrator skills, as well as the ability to do things like share your Badge or Curriculum completion on social media platforms.

In October, November and December, we doubled down on everything:

  • Added more solution templates for verticals like Higher Ed and Professional Services
  • Hosted a number of Answers & Pages Hyperspeed Workshops
  • Added an additional Curriculum for Reviews Admin
  • Added more Guides, like how to integrate with Adobe Analytics
  • Hosted more webinars, like our Pages Tips & Tricks webinar
  • Added a new training track for Multi-Language Experiences
  • Hosted a Hackathon with Partner extraordinaire CapGemini
  • Launched our Fall '20 seasonal release, as well as our first monthly release in December '20

We couldn't be more excited about what 2021 will bring. The Hitchhikers Team is taking a much needed break and we will return in the new year ready to make 2021 a bigger, better and more transformative year than 2020. Look out for things like:

  • A new and improved Developer site
  • 10-12 new product releases with enhancements to our Product suite
  • More hands-on Events like Hackathons
  • More Workshops, Guides, and Training resources to make you all even better experts
  • More Webinars and Experiences with thought-leaders and industry-changers

As 2020 comes to a close and 2021 begins, our number one goal stays the same: help Hitchhikers around the world to be successful in building amazing search experiences. As always, if you have any questions or feedback, do not hesitate to reach out via our Community or to hitchhikers-support@yext.com.

Happy Holidays and Happy Hitchhiking from our team to yours!

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