Sunday, May 19, 2024

Top 10 lessons learned - 06.26.07 7:00 PM EDT

By polgara
TopCoder Member

It is hard to top jmzero's and Petr's pre-blogs and really who cares what admins really think anyway (well, besides us admins of course).

Anyway, to steal a leaf from Petr's style (yes, I realize the metaphors are mixed - it is to provide some added enjoyment to non-native English speakers), thought that I'd also start my blog with a bit of reminiscing. I've been a TopCoder member since August 2002, but never made it to an on-site event until November 2006 at the TCCC in San Diego. And let's face it, I did not get there as a member, but took the somewhat more convoluted, if easier, path as a TopCoder employee. But get there finally, I did (channeling Yoda), and here are the top 10 things that I learned from that experience:
  1. Get to the UBS booth early - their free (and tasty) chocolates disappear like magic.
  2. Practice pronouncing "Petr's" name many times in advance before you try to say it live on a webcast.
  3. If you are only 5 ft 2 inches and are made to stand between TheFaxman and Olexiy during a live webcast, ensure you have a clause in your Rider contract that provides you with a box to stand on while doing the interview (the same rule applies to interviewing misof).
  4. Visit the NSA booth. Everything on display is super-fun and geek-worthy. And if that is not enough, they have to kill you once you know too much.
  5. The white couches at the AOL booth are the most comfortable seating you can get in the competition arena.
  6. mathijs looks waaaay too relaxed to be human during algorithm competitions. I am not that relaxed taking a bubble bath.
  7. John Dethridge, Ken Vogel and Jeremy Schaap are much better than me at technical commentary and belting out snappy stats. But undoubtedly I win when it comes to snazzy hair ornaments! (I'm competitive by nature, even though a girl.)
  8. T-shirts with your TopCoder handle embroidered on it is the coolest article of clothing ever.
  9. antimatter is the member who is most obviously recognizable from his picture on the TopCoder website.
  10. jmpld40 rocks.
Bonus: If you are told to put your arms around the people that you are interviewing on a webcast, there is always the chance that one of them will hug back!

I'm sure that the TCO07 will be equally enlightening, so keep reading this space - unless of course you have something better to do like read Petr's and jmzero's contributions - I know that I will be. Stay tuned!