Wow, this is easily the most epic event I’ve ever been involved in. If you’re following my twitter feed (@mrandypuppy) you’ll know that I’ve been using words like “awesome”, “cool” and “wow” a lot as well as a bunch of exclamation marks. I’m conscious of it but I keep getting wowed by the experience, and I know this is just the beginning.

So far I’ve experienced:

  • Catching a flight from Singapore to Cairo via Dubai with 60+ passengers being Imagine Cup competitors, their mentors and several of my peers. I was told about solutions that teams had come up with and the passion these kids have is inspiring, but with good reason. I mean, when an Indonesian talks for 30 minutes non-stop about a Malaria early detection system they developed, it’s hard to not be engaged.
  • Carrying the Cup through Customs at Cairo and being questioned about the mysterious box.
  • Today was briefing day – briefings for students, mentors, judges, employees, briefings everywhere. At first I thought it was over the top, but there is so much information to consume that it is totally warranted.
  • Tonight was the official opening of the Imagine Cup competition. The highlights were:
    • Student parade of the countries, a la the Olympics. Huge response as each team entered and again I was struck by how many countries are represented and how some of them strike me as out of this world – seriously, I never really thought about a team of students from Senegal showing solid innovation, or the inspiring stories of some of the teams just getting here like Palestine and Indonesia.
    • Ray Ozzie, Chief Software Architect for Microsoft, telling the students that they truly are the future of creativity in technology because they’re not hampered by previous experience and preconceptions.
    • Joe Wilson, the man who makes Imagine Cup happen every year (well, the man, behind the team of awesome dudes and dudettes that make it happen every year) pumping the students up and getting them ready for the competition and having all 445 students on the edge of their seats, hanging on every word.
    • The Egyptian student who stood up during the proceedings to thank his government for their support of Imagine Cup and the roar of the crowd in appreciation.

sigh.

Tomorrow – first EPIC day of the competition. All 67 Software Development teams present, as well as Game Development, Embedded Development and other teams – all in action. The logistics to make all this happen are nightmarish, but everyone behind the scenes are positive and upbeat and just making it all happen.