It started way back in [topcoder] history
It has been 17 years. 2005 I started as a graphic designer at Topcoder, focused on helping to design and deliver custom software applications. We only ran Topcoder contests for competitive programming and software development at that point in time. My job was to design and code the front-end and hand that off to Topcoder project managers, who would run contests to get the customer's applications built. Jessie and others started trying logo contests (for TCO!). We were asked if we could start running challenges to design and code everything… finally capturing each step of software development as atomized steps. Time to rally a design community within a community called Topcoder. Topcoder Studio was born!
From that day, my role was always focused on Topcoder customers and helping to deliver amazing outcomes through the Topcoder model and community. Design, information architecture, and UI prototyping was the easiest way to introduce the Topcoder model. I was teaching customers about crowdsourcing, educating them on the future of work, championing their success, and showing them how to build a relationship with the Topcoder community that understands their technology problems and brand. The other side of this role was crafting the work, understanding the problem(s), and architecting a sequence of steps (challenges) to show how the Topcoder community could tackle, fix or build something entirely new to solve their tough design and development problems.
This process has always invigorated me. The ability to tackle problems from a wide range of industries, explore cutting edge technologies, and the need to quickly learn and adapt but also explain to a global community the problem that needed to be solved and… why. The art of crafting new ways to engage all of you… “how fast can we solve a problem through Open Innovation”? The live-action fun of a LUX Challenge, the fear of failure on a grand scale, on a stage at a major event (and you never failed!). The evolution of the RUX, Design Concepts, Design Direction, UI Prototypes, Design Tournaments, TCO’s, etc.
The bonus to all of this was traveling and meeting the Topcoder community! The Topcoder Opens, TCO regional events, design workshops, dinners, butter chicken, and parties - spending one-on-one time with all of you who work, learn, and compete with each other every day to make our community feel like a family.
I not only want to say thank you, which does not cover the depth of my gratitude for knowing all of you, but that I became a better human through knowing all of you. I have learned so much about the world, relationships, cultures, and open communication through our shared language of competition, design, technology, opportunity, hard work, and success.
This week I leave Topcoder the company, but I will always be a Topcoder member (since 2002!), and we don’t say goodbye… we just take extended leaves of absence from each other and hope for the next competition, opportunity, or moment to connect again.
Seventeen years of genuine friendships in a supportive community - I leave a better person than when I arrived, so thank you.
Always remember - be bold or italic but never regular