ImaginationOverflow

The knowings and experiences of a group of developers.

The ImagineCup national finals experience

Me and the team were participating on this years ImagineCup contest with a cool app named InSkin.
Feeding the app with a mole photo it will tell you if the mole can be skin cancer or not. But I’m not here to talk about the app (yet) we will have more news about it soon, namely when it will be available to the public.

The team were me, Sorcha, Diogo Silva and Joana Leite, this last two maybe seem new to you but we’ve been working together for some time now.

The Portuguese national finals were at the new microsoft Portugal building, the Lisbon experience, we’ve been training for a few weeks and really thought that we could make it.

The day started early by arriving at the ms building at exactly 8.30 and of course we dressed to the occasion:

The contest was simple, 10 teams were chosen to be in the national finals and to all of them given the chance of presenting their project to the jury, after that the best 4 would pass to the next round (in the afternoon) to present the project again, and from this one the Portuguese winner will emerge.

The teams were divided in 3 different rooms to do their presentations, we were at the MSN Room, and were one of the first teams presenting their project, at exactly 10 am.

After we had done our 30min presentation, we all walked out of that room believing that we were one of the 4 teams that would be chosen, Joana presented our project with love and dedication, I said to her and I say again that she really looked like Steve Jobs presenting the first IPhone.

After 3 freaking, nervous hours later the results were out, all the teams were reunited in the auditory and one of the microsoft employees started anouncing the 4 teams that were going to present their projects again in the afternoon. He just said, “Imagination Overflow Team do you wish to come back in the afternoon?” We all smiled and the joy covered our faces, “OF COURSE we all said”. After that they called team Magabot, team RescueAds and the WI-Go team.

We were happy as hell, and Sidney was becoming more and more close, all those hours of work and preparation showed results.

In the afternoon we were the first to present our project, all of us were nervous but our little female Steve Jobs started selling our project, and she rocked again with a fluent english speech. The judges started commenting our project and committed the first error of the day, they started saying things like : “When you present this to the judges on Australia…” and so on. This shows a lack of respect for the other groups and as judges should be impartial in all times.

Team Magabot came second to present their project, and really that wasn’t a presentation, it was just 4 people completely disorganized on the stage. Their project was awesome the level of engineering in there were brutal, but they failed to sell it that way.

Team RescueAds came to present their project, the idea of ads being fun and helpful for people with needs where their central selling point. They had a solid and well thought presentation. Our team shivered since their presentation was really good. In the questions/comments part the judges did it again, “Good luck in Australia” one of them said.

Finally the WI-GO team came to present their own project, and it consisted in a member of the group reading their slides, and an outside demo. Their project is awesome, you can see more of it in here.

After presentations were over we really thought that this would be a fight between us and RescueAds since only we gave a good show in the presentation, how wrong were we and the things that we would discover in the coffee break.

The final results were:

4 – RescueAds.
3 – Imagination Overflow
2 – Magabot
1 – WI-GO

Let the drama begin.

What the hell happen? So let me explain, the last two places are projects by students, the first two places are products by startups. It was impossible for teams of 4 people to compete with projects that have at least 10 times more work that we have. That’s ok, the magabot project event starred in the codebits competition in November. But the real drama isn’t even that, some members of the jury are actually investors in the WI-GO project, I don’t really know how many but at least one is.

We were extremely disappointed with this, but that explains the fact of the “no surprise” reaction of the wi-go team when announced as the winners.

Just to make clear, I’m not angry about the third place, their projects are much more evolved that ours (and the RescueAds) I just feel that Microsoft Portugal eagerness to win the world competition of the ImagineCup is wrecking the competition. The competition isn’t about student and their ideas to save the world, is about reputation and politics, I don’t think that this is what Bill Gates was thinking when introduced the ImagineCup to the world.

Of course all the microsofts all over the world want to win, but this is ridiculous, is mocking with the students works and will to make something helpful.

So here it is, our trophy, in reality we won the ImagineCup finals, since our project was developed to the competition and you can’t buy our project and really only just 4 people worked on it (actually 5 PaletaS were on it too) as RescueAds came in second.

I don’t know what to do with this knowledge right now, I’ve always dreamed going to work in Microsoft Portugal and I own a lot of things to them, my Lumia was given to me after my participation in their App Me Up project, my Kinect too after being selected as a Kinect VIP in Codebits, I’ve really admire some people that work in there, actually our project would never be in this stage if it weren’t the Portuguese Windows Phone Evangelist words on how awesome were our project.

I hope that WI-GO wins this year ImagineCup, by winning maybe the national competitions can go back being about the student projects and not about companies products.

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