Monday, July 11, 2011

Imagine Cup - Day Three

Foursquare CEO and entrepreneur, Dennis Crowley, told the students a few days ago that their great idea may not be at the right time yet.  Ask any comedian and they will tell you that timing is everything.  And I believe a comedian once said that all things come to he who waits... provided he works like crazy in the meantime.

One of the teams I judged today was back for the second year.  They had a new idea,they learned from their experience, and they were wiser. They made the final round this time.  We asked another team when they began their project--last September.  The teams that made it to New York had worked long and hard, even while "waiting" for a second chance.

We narrowed the field in the software design category from 18 teams to 6 today--just 10% of the teams who made the finals in Imagine Cup this year.  For those who like doing the math, we started with 350,000 applicants.[1]

As one of about 40 judges in software design, I saw only a hand-full of the teams that made it to the final round.  But I saw far more good ideas.  So to the teams that did not make the final cut, take a page from Steve Ballmer's keynote: be tenacious, ideas matter!

[1] I've written about this competition as an incredible funnel of innovation and ideas.  And I've seen first hand that there's also an opportunity for the teams to learn from each other.

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