Imagine Cup 2010 Malaysia – Opinion and Comment

In this post, I want to share my opinion and comment on Imagine Cup 2010 Malaysia on both the event and the competitors. I make no offense to anyone. If you think the way I’m writing is not suitable, do tell me so that I can be aware of it.

Opinion and comment on Imagine Cup event:

  • Close presentation equal to close the learning door. I personally dislike close presentation especially those semi-final and finalist presentation. Since they had been selected as the best of the best, it is time for others to learn from them, how they present, how they sell their solution and etc. Close presentation stop the learning process from each others which is suppose to be the spirit of Imagine Cup. I truly hope this limitation can be remove in next Imagine Cup.
  • Time and space limitation. I personally feel that round one is a lot tougher than round two because everyone is given 10 minute to present which include Q&A and further more the place is a public showcase where there are possibility get interrupted. Besides, it is not easy for all 5 judges to stare on a small laptop screen unless competitor did bring a projector or big LCD screen. I can said round one did kill a lot of competitor’s dream.

Opinion and comment on  competitors:

  • Make it short and simple during the showcase. Try to give a simple explanation and demo when visitor visit your booth and not a full length presentation. Some competitors give me a 20 minutes presentation with power point slide when I visited their booth which is too much (but I appropriate it). Imagine there are so many visitor there and each of them you given them 20 minutes of presentation… Make a short and simple explanation for the visitor to let them know your solution main concept will be enough. If they want more, they will ask.
  • Lack of public presentation skill. I can see some competitors start to get panic to present in front of a cloud of people. They even forget their script or strategies they had planned. Stay clam, take a deep breath. Practice make perfect, don’t remember your script last minute.
  • Targeting the wrong goal. I did mention this in my last post about presentation and slide that by targeting the wrong goal, you are targeting to fall. Take a close look on the goal’s detail, for example the education. The main primary problem is many children can’t even complete their primary school education due to lack of money. How they can effort to own a PC by then? If your solution cannot answer this question, that’s mean your solution are not solving this problem or targeting this goal correctly. Reviews the goal detail and add required feature so that your solution can fit into the goal you targeting more correctly.
  • Don’t be greedy by targeting all 8 goals. I did see some solution trying to target 8 goals all at once using their one single solution, but I’m going to said that this is not going to work. There doesn’t exist a silver bullet that can kill every monster, this apply to software solution as well. As judge’s point of view, they are seeking a solution that can solve a single problem completely or as much as possible compare with solve each problem a little bit.
  • Interface design is very important. Some might argue having a great idea is better than having a great GUI design, but would you rather use a software which have a poor GUI design which you can’t even know where is the feature you looking for than having a great GUI design which you can find what you need with no help? You have the answer in yourself. That is the reason why we have Human Computer Interaction major in computer study field. Don’t forget that there are 10% point allocated for usability.
  • Where is your research? Some competitors did not do their homework. Where are the number of target users? Mobile penetration rate? Internet penetration rate? Usability study? Research is the only way to convince the judges how practical your solution is. Don’t assume what user think of, this is not your school assignment or project, the judges need a value / a number that they can trust on. A picture with a few people looking at the laptop is not enough.
  • This is your competition not your mentor’s competition. I can see some mentor is eager to help their student from presentation, booth declaration, question and answer,  even helping editing the slide. This is too much. This is suppose to be your competition and not your mentor’s competition, what your mentor provide is advise, you can choose to listen or not to. Don’t let the advice become command.
  • Don’t talk like a loser! Imagine cup’s slogan: “You win, we all win”. You might have opinion or comment on other’s winning solution, but don’t let it be the wall that block your learning way. Competitors should learn from each other and not firing on each other after the event end. Yes, I understand that the feeling of losing doesn’t taste good especially if you think your solution is better than others yet lose to them. But try to ask yourself what went wrong instead of pointing your finger on others. That is the way of learning. “If you win you need not to explain… But if you lose you should not be there to explain.” – by Adolph Hitler.

I guess thats for all now. Will add more if I remember. Phew. This is a long list too.

by Ooi Keng Siang

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