Today was full of preparation, before the opening ceremonies and competition begins in earnest. I attended briefings for judges, press reviews, and watched and rated advance video presentations from some of the teams. I studied nine, finishing just after 6:00 PM, in time for the second wave of busses to the Citadel.
All presentations are scored using a common form. There are 10 category ratings (like innovation), equal weighted, each on a 10-point scale. So for the mathematicians among us, that's a maximum of 100 points. There are definitions for each. It is hard to keep all ten in mind as I watched each clip. I took notes and wrote comments to go back to the teams. This feedback is an important part of judging and one I spend time on, thinking about how each team's application and presentation could be better.
At the opening event, we are outdoors in a corner of the fortress, parts of which date back to the 9th century. As the sun sets, each team is introduced; they run down the aisle cheering, holding flags and brimming with energy as those who have no sense of limitations. Their larger than life exuberance is broadcast on the large screen behind the stage. There are introductions and speeches and memorable lines. One that Ray Ozzie said will stay with me, harkening back to the eccentric students who founded many of our technology companies: those "who believed they could change the world, or didn't know they couldn't change the world." As Joe Wilson reminds us, this is their event and we are honored to be their guests.