GISHWHES

Misha Collins imagined a crazy-amazing plan and created a ridiculous, worldwide scavenger hunt.

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A Bigger Purpose

Gishwhes (gish-wiss) stands for the Greatest International Scavenger Hunt the World Has Ever Seen. And it is. One glance at their Facebook and Twitter reveals stunning chronicles of pure nonsense and truly inspiring teamwork.

Gishwhes has changed countless lives for the better and delivered a concentrated dose of joy to all those it has touched. Objectives are carried out with a deep-seated purpose to spread kindness and laughter. From individual participants to passers-by, it has spun a web of adventure-loving collaboration that spans the entire globe.

The original concept was developed and launched by Misha Collins, star of the CW Network’s series Supernatural. He is a bubbly, excitable personality with a gargantuan social media following, who uses his influence well.

Gishwhes has broken 5 Guinness World Records and continually strives to break more in the funnest ways. For the Largest Online Photo Album of Hugs, 108,121 people in over 100 countries hugged someone while holding up a message to the world. Objectives on past hunts range from awkward and absurd to touching and comedic. Whatever the goal, people love this magnetic game.

Scuba in a ballet class

Buy a homeless person dinner

Kitchen battle-wear

HTML Fusion Takes the Case

Misha and his team of supporters began the hunt by themselves in 2011, and it was a well-loved success. The team knew the following year's event was going to become even bigger, and that a proper, well-programmed website would be essential to support the momentum.

Misha’s friend Adam, a fellow NextSpace officemate of Philippe’s, knew of Misha’s ambitious scavenger hunt and that he'd need a hand with the technology. So he came to us with the project. Philippe was totally on board and we began to program the site for the second Gishwhes in 2012.

Basic Needs and High Scalability

There were a couple of basic things that the website needed to serve the massive hunt: registration, payment, location-oriented team-formation assistance, and post sign-up access to the hunt information. In addition to the more basic functions, the site needed to be able to process big data quickly and efficiently. Here was our work flow:

- A custom algorithm was developed for team-creation.

- A payment system that accepts international currency was implemented.

- A photo sorting system was put in place for isolating the best images after the event.

- An ‘invite and pay’ feature was added as well to encourage those who have already signed up to bring their community into the mix.

- A custom auto-scaling cluster that will deftly manage sudden spikes in millions of users.

Bigger and Better With Us

Technology and programmers are rarely praised for helping to foster lasting and meaningful human connections. But the Gishwhes interface is a shining example of how technology, and web development specifically, can not only bring people closer in the spirit of goodwill, but it can do so on a very large scale. Gishwhes, through the web platform HTML Fusion created, has inspired people to take to the streets for the sake of friendly competition and camaraderie, leaving a vast ripple of warmth and hilarity in its wake.

In the three years HTML Fusion has been on the project, paid users went from 7,000 a hunt to over 14,580. Coincidence? We think not. Our technologies have supported the event’s growth from fairly small-scale to a worldwide phenomenon! Participants report that Gishwhes has changed them, their perspective of humanity, and the world for the better. Programming that facilitates a sense of wellbeing? That is success.

When a force for good like this takes hold, and it has the technological foundation to support its inevitable growth, great things happen.