Eleven months ago, I joined the Imagine Cup team as their new Competition Manager. They'd just gotten back from the worldwide finals in Sydney, Australia, a few weeks earlier. To me, it was a brand new start: after four years as an Xbox videogame designer, I was kicking off a whole new project.

Eleven months later, I now know what it means to be a part of Imagine Cup. This season has been an enormous amount of work with a lot of opportunities to try new things. But as the months passed, our focus turned increasingly towards this event: my first worldwide finals.

If you're a student on a worldwine finalist team, I'd first like to say: congratulations! You are probably sick of getting emails from me now about our various awards and PR surveys and all the rest. Thanks to you, however, we have assembled a great Team Gallery showcasing all of your brilliant work. And very soon I will have the honor of meeting you all in person in St. Petersburg. I hope you will check here on our website under the Worldwide Finals menu for our Get Ready page, which has a lot of good information for you before you arrive. In particular, please read the Competition Preview which tells you what you need to know about our judging process this week.

If you're just interested in what's going on, I've got great news for you. This year we have committed to providing coverage of our worldwide finals every day, right here on our website. You'll find videos made by our Channel 9 team, blog posts and social-media messages from the Microsoft Student Partners Social Media Team, and great pictures from our on-site photographers.

And of course, we'll wrap it all up with our first-ever livestream of the Imagine Cup Worldwide Finals Award Ceremony hosted by BBC's Doctor Who, Matt Smith, right here on our home page.

I'm writing this at about 20,000 feet on the plane to St. Petersburg. I can't wait to get started. And I'm not alone: as we like to say, the world is waiting

John Scott Tynes
Imagine Cup Competition Manager
Microsoft Academic Programs