May 11, 2022 Thriving In An Engaged Community With Doug, the New CEO – The Topcoder Nation Show #15

It’s natural for change to feel scary, but when it’s well-managed and focused it will bring about a positive outcome. That’s how our guest frames the current leadership team that will help bring more work to our community. Meet Doug Hanson, the new Topcoder CEO, also known as dhanson in the forums and Discord.

Born and raised in the four-seasoned city of Boston, Doug shared his journey of becoming a leader for several companies and the big plan for launching this rocket full of talent to the moon, as he joyfully likes to refer to this enterprise of people and work. 

If I may unfairly summarize this episode in three words those would be: engagement, awareness, and focus. It’s remarkable that despite joining a few weeks ago, he is already pushing changes to help the community thrive as a whole, for members, staff, and customers.

“The community is our customer. If we think ‘community first’ and how the work that we do impacts our community, then we’re gonna have an impact, they’re going to become engaged, they’re going to want to work with us, they’re going to grow. I think that mindset is really important, if you can get that one down, I believe you can be successful”

— Doug on putting the community first

Anyone can probably fill pages with the values around “the customer always comes first,” however, Doug brings actual experience to the plate when it comes to putting the customer first. He has worked in a company known for this practice as their tenet in everyday decisions. “How will these decisions affect the community?” is his guiding mantra.

One of my favorite takeaways was discussion about the biggest challenge Topcoder is facing right now. Doug joined Topcoder for the potential he sees in the community, which differentiates this company from all the competitors out there. However, the problem is that the world doesn’t know about us, there is a lack of awareness on how to access and profit from the extraordinary talent available in the community.

All I can say is that I am glad to hear that there is a plan and high bets are going to be placed to bring more work to the community. I leave you with the rest of the gems he shared with us. Enjoy.


These lessons, tips, and advice captured my attention, they may also help you:

  • Doug welcomes feedback from all sides of the company – members, customers, and staff. He is available in Discord as dhanson.
  • One of the main reasons he took this role in Topcoder was the potential he saw in the community. His vision for the future of work is millions of bright minds producing incredible solutions that matter; an engaged community growing together.
  • Building his career in leadership required knowing himself, a vision, and making decisions in the journey towards that end.
  • Being a generalist helps him understand the big picture of the business.
  • One of the key lessons he has learned along the way is to trust and rely on teams to do great things rather than individual approaches to failure.
  • The key challenge to guiding this community to its highest potential is awareness. We have an extraordinary pool of talent and the world doesn’t know how to access it yet. That’s one of the main focus points for Doug’s plan to bring more work to the community.

Topcoder Nation Show #15 is up on YouTube. See timestamps below for a summary.


  • Growing up in Boston: 02:40
  • Living in Portland and fun activities: 03:30
  • Pursuing a leadership career: 07:20
  • Living by the value of being customer-obsessed and how it impacts Topcoder: 13:25
  • Why Doug joined Topcoder: 17:24
  • An engaged community is success: 21:20
  • Awareness as the biggest challenge: 24:20


We held an AMA (ask me anything) with Doug. Curious community members asked questions for him to ponder. Watch the video from 27:00 to check out the replies to questions such as:

  • What are you most excited about in joining Topcoder?
  • What do you think about our competitors? How are we differentiating ourselves?  
  • As you look to this coming year, how will you maintain community growth?
  • It seems Topcoder is going through a lot of changes right now. Are you concerned about anything in particular during this time?
  • Who are some of the other tech CEOs that you admire, and why?
  • What do you expect from members?
  • Any relationship to the band Hanson? I used to be a fan..


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Peace out.


Are you living the gig economy lifestyle at Topcoder? Want to join fellow members? Share your story, your travels, and experiences about the ultimate goal of working at Topcoder; the freedom, the flexibility, and the earnings that make it happen! Join Topcoder Nation.

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