June 20th, 2015 is a day that will live in topcoder history, as it was the first ever TCO regional event in the United States. Just the second regional event overall (the first one being in Russia), this one was held in San Francisco at MemSQL Headquarters.
The first time walking into the building, I ran into the company’s dog, Batman. At this point, I already knew this was going to be a cool event space. MemSQL had pulled out all the stops including picnic style benches, cool comfy chairs and a ping pong table on one side of the area and on the other was the main stage area packed with snacks, refreshments, and board games.
At 10AM, members were arriving and saying hello to friends they probably haven’t seen since the last TCO. Multiple groups got together to play a large game of Cards Against Humanity, which proved to be rather entertaining for everyone involved. The music was pumping as more members filed in and started getting situated for the Algorithm rounds. Others, however, were working hard on their hackathon submissions and aiming for that $2500 prize.
This region event’s hackathon theme was to build an app for a stadium, either for the fans or for administrative purposes. The participants had begun 48 hours prior to the event and had to spin a virtual wheel (think of the Wheel of Fortune wheel) that contained various APIs three times. The options listed on the wheel were: Google, Sparkpost by Message Systems, Facebook, Uber, Pick One (choose any of the APIs on the wheel), Twitter, Instagram, Venmo, Twilio, Salesforce, and Spotify. Each team had to use at least two of the three APIs that they had spun in their application.
At around 3PM, the algorithm rounds began. It was so quiet, you could hear a pin drop. Everyone was hard at work attempting to advance to the next round or participating in the spectator round. When all was said and done 90 minutes later, everyone began to unwind at the happy hour, which consisted of beers and pizza. There was noise in the air once again as everyone began to discuss the round they had just competed in.
Following happy hour were the presentations of the top five hackathon apps. Each team had five to ten minutes to present their app to the panel of judges, which consisted of:
Ankur Goyal, MemSQL VP of Engineering
Alex Skidanov, MemSQL Director of Engineering
Tim Hicks, topcoder Marketing Manager
After the prizes were handed out, the day came to a close. MemSQL’s staff did an amazing job putting on a show for the developers and having the day so well-coordinated. Hopefully we will be seeing them around next year for the next round of TCO regionals.
Congratulations to all the winners and a big thank you to all of the developers who showed up to compete! To check out highlights of the event, please take a look at the video and image gallery below!