January 13, 2016 Welcome to 2016!

Happy new year to all of you and welcome to Topcoder 2016!

This is my first post to the community and I’m very excited to talk about where we are and what’s in store. As an introduction, I became the President of Topcoder in 2015 after having worked closely with the team for the past several years. I helped get Cloudspokes kickstarted in Appirio and have a strong passion for Crowdsourcing and its future.

I’m looking forward to our Topcoder Team Live (TTL) chat on January 22nd 10AM EST, where I will share more about our vision and answer your questions about the future of topcoder [submit your questions here]. So, let’s get right to it.

In 2016, we are making some organization changes to align with the future of Topcoder:

  • We have moved the Topcoder team into a completely separate, independent business unit from Appirio’s core consulting practices.  We believe that this focus will grant more agility and faster decision-making on changes that will improve our customer and member experience.  Topcoder’s focus is 100% crowdsourcing and our goal is to drive as much customer work to the community as we can.  (The team is now back to using topcoder.com email addresses as well!)
  • As part of the new Topcoder business unit, we are embracing a “Powered By” model.  As many have noted in forums and through other questions, some of the tracks didn’t grow between 2014 and 2015.  We did, however, see a shift in our customers and the challenges we offered in each track reflected that shift.  For the first time in October, we saw volume from Systems Integrators (like Deloitte, IBM, etc.) exceed that from enterprise customers. In 2016, we expect to see that trend to continue.  We are excited to open up more and varied opportunities for members to learn new skills and participate in new challenges as our customers evolve.
  • We are launching Topcoder Connect, a new, customer-facing application that will enable customers to easily enter requirements for projects and provide a clean, simple environment for customer communication with the Topcoder community.  It’s in beta right now and we’re looking forward to enabling more challenges to flow from customers to our members.
  • We will continue to build on our Topcoder Open (TCO)  successes from 2015, including regional TCOs as well as a highly member-focused Finals at an as-of-yet-undisclosed-location.
  • Hopefully you’ve noticed more engagement from our Product Development team already this year in the forums.  We have heard valuable feedback from you and are working hard to address many of the concerns that have been raised about the new site and the competition process.
  • Lastly, we have consolidated our ‘learning’ team and our Member team into a single Community Team.  We believe that learning and skills development are key attractions for members and we have increased our investment in this year’s budget.  This team is also focused on both badging and incentive programs and we’re looking forward to bringing new opportunities for members to earn and be recognized on Topcoder.

Thanks everyone and look forward to talking with you next week.

Mike Epner


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