3 Main Reasons TopCoder Members Consistently Compete
Important to note: In the videos below, TopCoder member AleaActaEst is talking with specificity about his relationship with regards to the TopCoder Community. In this instance, we do not profess to speak for other models leveraging Crowdsourcing techniques and are only talking about what motivates our Community members.
As part of the 2011 TopCoder Open, we were fortunate enough to have several current and prospective clients gather for an intense and purposeful discussion at our Customer Round Table sub-event. Several important topics were covered including how to affect organizational change and how to empower individuals within a traditional work setting to become true force multipliers via the TopCoder Platform. Unfortunately for our blog readers, many of the details from that day can’t be discussed publicly as client’s shared internal challenges, wins that will enable them to be first to market with new solutions and more. One of the brightest points of an already energetic day was the presentation given by decade long TopCoder competitor AleaActaEst. And that we’re excited to say, can be shared in full, including two short videos towards the bottom of this post.
Why in the World Do People Compete?
As you might have noticed from his statistics, AleaActaEst has earned nearly $650,000 for work he has done through TopCoder competitions. But when you talk to Piotr, he professes 3 specific reasons as to why he competes in TopCoder contests and they do not relate to earnings. With that said, we of course understand that if the opportunity to earn wasn’t there, someone like Piotr could not dedicate nearly as much time as he does to TopCoder challenges. But that’s not why he chooses TopCoder to be the platform he competes upon.
Below I summarize Piotr’s 3 main reasons he chooses to compete and I highly encourage you to watch the short videos that follow which were part of his presentation at the aforementioned Customer Round Table at this year’s TopCoder Open. Speaking directly with client’s and prospective client’s who attended our ”round table”, they felt Piotr’s message and illumination as to what is meaningful to him and other’s in the Community was truly powerful and offered great insight as to how to properly engage the Community, including how to best prepare competitions for success within.
Point #1 – Gained Knowledge Through Complete Transparency
Of course he wants to win! AleaActaEst is a 5x TopCoder Finalist, so he knows a thing or two about winning. But a very big aspect as to why he competes is the fact that if he does not win, he has open access to the winning solution and the forums as well where he can find out exactly what the other competitor did that bested him in the respective instance. Watch the video below and listen to his explanation of how this transparency simply does not exist in a traditional work environment and what that means for his growth as a programmer.
Point #2 – The Passion & Love for Programming
Most people inside our Community are fierce competitors and the way in which TopCoder consistently challenges them as individuals to get better is unlike any other platform in the world. Piotr puts it quite eloquently in the video below.
Point #3 – The TopCoder Process is Itself a Positive Feedback Loop
Piotr delivers a remarkable comparison of the TopCoder process versus the preventable hectic scene that was Y2K. Siloed information and a non-iterative process stymied quality solutions and left the world’s coders scrambling to figure out exactly what to do about Y2K. AleaActaEst, with great ease, talks of the benefits to the programmers, and ultimately to the outputs themselves due to the rigor and documentation that is a consequence of TopCoder competitions.
One more very important aspect as to why members consistently compete is directly related to the fact that all TopCoder members self-select the competitions they will be submitting in. Though not captured in the above videos, AleaActaEst mentioned it several times in the room that day. In the coming days, look for an article on this very topic – self-selection – and how it is a paramount factor with regards to driving participation levels and the quality of the outputs themselves.
TopCoder would like to personally thank AleaActaEst for being such an important part of this year’s TopCoder Open.
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