Inspiration, Glory and Butter Chicken at the TCO19 India Regional – Topcoder Nation Ep.03

We have been working intensely in the last week. Infinite errands have become our daily routine; buying power cords, bags, t-shirts, pens, paper, even napkins! We have slept less than we have seen our faces in the mirror recently. If we want to make all our efforts worth something we must try our best to help the members. If someone gets in trouble, smile, and help. If someone doesn’t like the food, smile, and order something for them. Fix things, get things done, help the members and smile. They deserve our efforts, they are not our guests. They are the present and future of the community. Smile and help. Let’s do this, chale chalo!

Harshit [hmehta] on January 1st, one night before opening the TCO19 India Venue.

If they made good inspirational movies these days, one would definitely start with this epic scene: a group of heroes walk in slow motion, full of energy, and with an unselfish will to help Topcoder members enjoy the best of a huge event which has been innocently misnamed as “Regional”. This was effing EPIC!

I find it important to let you know that the inspiration to write these lines couldn’t be more genuine. I wasn’t asked to come here to write about the wonder of this event. I came to India because I wanted to (see Topcoder Nation Ep.01 for explicit evidence). When I grow up I want to be as awesome as this team. I would like to have at least 10% of their infinite positive energy and endless love for the community’s well-being. All the inspiration I stole from Harshit, Nikita, Ritesh, Vikas, Sumit, and all the unforgotten hard workers (sorry on behalf of my unreliable memory) who helped set this up is just priceless. We couldn’t be any luckier than having this team organize this event. Hats off to them. Check out how TCO19 India Regional started.

IS THIS TCO?

For a large part of the event, I thought so! It’s a shame I have to wrap-up all the happenings in a single blog post. There are many interesting stories to share that made this day very special.

For a start, these are my personal impressions. I dare to compare the setup of this venue to a global TCO. A very nice hotel hall in the “Pink City” was just an empty space until brave ant-like workers decorated it and prepared it for what was going to be the best day of the year for many people there, including myself!

Best speech ever!
I should rest under the copilot’s tree.

The feeling of meeting new members, hugging old friends and pretending to be more famous than Adam was as strong as I experienced in a TCO. I was finally able to meet ngraphics, a member I’ve worked with for so long but never got the chance to shake hands with. I had the chance to meet VivekSati, a promising new designer who came in 2nd place in the on-site competition, nPixel and more new designers; Hari_Om_Pandey, an all-around student who can crack up machine learning models as well as design thoughtful UX (he advanced rounds in Jessie’s Design Month Dash Challenge – his first UI competition ever!) and Ritesh our support guru. I had the chance to hang out with hi4sandy again, Sharathkumar92, ssp555, and Starck181995. I also met many other passionate members and admins who dream of coming to a global TCO. Let me tell you something, you have already witnessed a global TCO in Jaipur!

Competition-wise, this is the first Regional that held several tracks of challenges at the same time. Designers, developers, and data scientists were challenged to solve interesting problems.

  • Design: two one-hour RUXes, intense back to back lightning fast challenges to designing an interior location screen (app to locate friends in a stadium) and another one to claim insurance cases through a mobile application.
  • Development: the challenge was to recreate the Topcoder SRM problems archive using elastic search (event sponsors).
  • Algorithm SRM: it had two rounds; a warm-up round with bucketed prize money to grab from and then the main round.
  • QA – Bug Hunt: competitors had to test and log issues found in the AJIO online shopping app. The total prize of $200 was distributed among submitters proportionately with their individual total points collected from bug hunt.

WE ARE THE CHAMPIONS

Shoes have cords, laptops have screens, humans have feelings and butter chicken has… butter.. a lot. Competition is meant to have winners, and this one did. They were flavored with the most talented Indian spices you can find in the bazaar of such a software engineer factory as this Asian Nation; sea salt, jira, masala, and passion.
These fearless community members faced tough challenges in a short amount of time, making them fair and square winners of their respective tracks. Congratulations to Ravijune (Design), Mayur.Joshi (Development), jeel_vaishnav (Algorithm – outdid everyone and had all three problems submitted within 40 mins!), hitman623 (Topcoder Collegiate Contest India 2019) and  kiranm0 (QA – Bug Hunt).

SHOOT THAT FUNKY CAMERA BROWN BOY

My now spicy lens couldn’t avoid the temptation to capture moments from start to end – from the setup, speeches, fun games, mingling around the arena, and finally the wrap up at Chokhi Dhani, an ancient-themed village for entertainment with attractions such as camel rides, snake enchanters, rope walkers and magicians. Speaking of which, one of them took me on stage to perform with him. PereViki has the video and owns its rights. You’re going to have to negotiate with her if you want to watch my fantastic magic skills.

Check our TC Flickr album to see official photos from the event! Enjoy folks!

That’s all folks. See you next time for another episode of this series. Peace out!