There's a little Imagine Cup shaped hole in my life this year. For the past few years around this time I'd be fretting about scoring and judges and stuff and getting ready to go and help out with the world finals. The Imagine Cup has given me some of the best experiences of my professional life. From the first ever World Finals in 2003, when "Team Random" and I made it to Barcelona and Third Place, to travelling the world as part of the judging and competition management team, the Imagine Cup has been part of my routine for quite a while.
I've loved seeing the difference that the competition makes to the lives of the thousands (probably millions by now) of students that have taken part over the years. I always say to folks that they can split their lives into two chunks, the bit before you take part and the bit afterwards, and I've seen the "Imagine Cup Effect" go to work time and time again as folks do things that surprise themselves and everyone around them.
This year we've got some Hull involvement, which is splendid. James Croft is going over to Seattle to take part in the finals as a Microsoft Student Ambassador and Danny Brown is in the UK team helping to make Ripple a worldwide winner.
Me, I'll be watching the World Finals with interest. It's great to see that Satya Nadella, the new Microsoft CEO, is taking part in the judging. It puts into a very strong context just how much Microsoft value future talent from all over the world.
If you are a student you really should take part. Today it's all about "getting yourself out there" and the Imagine Cup is one of the best "out there" places I know.