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Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement | Reply
Hi Everyone,

As we continue to evolve Topcoder, we are dedicated to growing a vibrant community with programs that benefit not only our top performers, but new and improving members. With this in mind, we wanted to alert you on an upcoming change that will take effect 9/1/2015. We will be ending the Digital Run / Studio Cup program on 8/31/2015.

The current structure, which was created in 2008, is outdated and not working the way it was originally intended. The landscape of the community, customers, modern technology, and challenges have all evolved.

A few data points....
-The number of members earning a DR prize has declined year over year.
- Challenges have shifted since 2008, deviating from smaller component design / development challenges that are no longer being used.
- Only 848 members since 2008 have received a prize for DR and the distribution has been decreasing each year.
- In 2014, 60.6% of the total DR prizes were awarded to 20 members with 222 members receiving a prize
- Thus far in 2015, 70.66% of the total DR prizes were awarded to 20 members with 129 receiving a prize
- Removing DR will drive down costs 10-20% per challenge. Our hope is to drive increased demand from our customers given the savings on overall gameplans.

We will be diverting efforts into pursuing new invigorating programs once we fully understand the impact of this on the community and customers.

We are working to build on the positive momentum with new members joining the community and the recent launch of our new Fun & Learning challenge series. In addition, there will be an increased focus to streamline challenges to make them easier to run, manage, participate, and earn prizes.

As always, we value your ideas and encourage you to share your thoughts about future programs and the community at-large. Share your ideas with us, or reach out to CAB, and let's continue to grow this unique and powerful community.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Though I'm basically moving on, I'd like to express my gratitude to the DR program and to the TC admins (current and past) who made it happen. It motivated me to work harder, do better and try broader spectrum of technologies.

All good things come to an end.

Kudos to the old TopCoder, DR and the Golden Age.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Wow, TopCoder in free fall :(

On and on I feel less secure in planning to continue competing in topcoder. It has so far been a nice ride now but gradually things are shrinking down.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
I completely agree with albertwang. DR always motivates me to do more 2-3 contests per month. Overall prizes are only good with DR winning. If you remove DR, topcoder won't be so attractive and many top members will simply quit (including me).

I don't get what is wrong with DR statistics.
>> In 2014, 60.6% of the total DR prizes were awarded to 20 members with 222 members receiving a prize
20 members are enough to complete all contests that you run per month.

>> Thus far in 2015, 70.66% of the total DR prizes were awarded to 20 members with 129 receiving a prize
In 2015 we have less contests that in 2014

>> Removing DR will drive down costs 10-20% per challenge. Our hope is to drive increased demand from our customers given the savings on overall gameplans.
There is still a Code track without DR and reliability rating. If there is no budget, copilot runs a code challenge instead of assembly.
You can remove 2nd prize and 2 of 3 reviewers, so you can save more money :)

>> not only our top performers, but new and improving members.
To sum up. Top performers will quite and there will be spam of fake accounts, because they can make few $ for free...
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
My major motivation to work harder is gone. I haven't got much out of DR yet but it motivates me to do better and participate in more competitions to get that place in top.

As Sky_ said, there is always code category to get things done without reliability bonus and DR expense.

Very bad and unexpected news for me.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by Sky_) | Reply
My wild guess is (pure personal speculation), Appirio is facing some conflicts between a strong/prosperous community and strong profits (or minimal loss). Let's face it, this trend started back in early 2013, more than half a year even before the acquisition. I believe many fellow dev community members hoped to enjoy all the goodies that would come out of the acquisition, but obviously it didn't happen, and things went worse and worse gradually. I'm not at all in any position to criticize these "decisions" made by the new [topcoder], after all it's a business. But I'm more curious, and interested in learning the "visions" of [topcoder] or Appirio management on the future and roadmap for the new topcoder going forward. Members are disappointed because of many many reasons - lack of real communication/dialog, community feedback are gathered but not really "heard", etc.. For me, the most frustrating thing is, no one in the management ever shared any sensible visions or justification on the so-called "good changes". At first, I reacted, I spoke, I spent hours to write forum posts with suggestions, but now, I simply don't care much - I might still participate once in a while, but clearly not with the passion I had.

I still care enough to write this post, because I still have my good memory of the TopCoder and many of the responsive and committing admins (to name a few, ivern, VolodymyrK, rsial2, jmpld40) and copilots (to name a few, Wendell, elkhawaja, iSpartan, Ghostar). I remember during the 2008 financial crisis, TopCoder founder Jack Hughes made a series of posts explaining the status and his vision with great honesty, and although it was a tough time then, members still believed in the TopCoder model and management, which IMO contributed significantly to the TopCoder flourish in the past a few years . Right now, at this moment, would some top management care to share some bits? Probably yes, probably no, probably we will never know.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Hi Mike,

In all enterprises, a good plan of incentives and bonuses is the key to ensure that the best guys are with the enterprise. The challenge is good, but the challenge plus money is best and attractive.

You should to know than in all enterprises, 20 motivated guys are better than 200 curious guys (quality vs quantity is the key for the success of Microsoft, Google, Facebook and others)

Beside this, AFAIK most of assembly contest are receiving 1 submission, a few 2 submissions and is rare the contest with more than 2. I cannot see how this topcoder decision will improve this situation nor how clients would be happiest.

Of course, this is a decision taken and, apparently, closed. It show all of us that topcoder prefers resemble to freelancer.com.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by albertwang) | Reply
Hey albertwang,

I'd like to address your comments about Topcoder communications. Hopefully you have noticed a more regular and predictable cadence of communications from both management and CAB this year. If you are not aware, CAB posts a detailed recap of their meetings with Topcoder, where we discuss ideas, issues and upcoming changes with them. We also have a dedicated blog category called "Topcoder News" where I post a monthly update that summarizes platform improvements and community features. You'll also find the MOM announcements, TCO updates and more Topcoder-specific news here.

I know that the time period after the acquisition was confusing and many threads were open and unanswered. We've worked very hard to increase communications in the forums (especially with our Support team and evangelists answering issues and pointing people to helpful resources), and through the channels I mentioned above. If you, or anyone else, have ideas or preferred methods of getting these types of updates or have ideas on how to further strengthen communications, please do let me know.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Sad news - to be honest, I did lose a bit of motivation when I saw this, but am hoping for a good (or better) and balanced replacement program for the Digital Run/Studio Cup.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Ok this is a really bad new for me!

DR are (were now) the main motivation to me to finish more challenges monthly. There are people like me who work on a office in office time, so I can only work at night few days a month, and DR is a motivation to do it better to win first places and win more points.

If TopCoder is looking to reduce costs, you guys have to be careful with this, because the participation could be really affected. So, If right now you have 10 guys (of +40 registered) submitting in final round, it can go from this quantity to +/- 2 or simply none.

I'm a project manager in the company where I work, so I will always prefer 10 good guys doing a very quality work, than 30 or 40 low quality designers/coders.

Quantity is not quality. DR points and money is like the productivity bonus on a company. If the employees doesn't have motivation, the quality (and responsibility) will be affected.

So sad right now! TC is taking away our motivation.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
In studio, the contests(clients) increasing, prize increasing, members increasing (but we still need more). SC Cup is a big reason for me to keep stay in Studio since 2007 (I guess most of all old member in studio). Why should we stop this if studio's progress increasing?

Thanks.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
If you say to encourage new member, I would say I am the one who is participating since last 4 months. I started as I was on leave (I am full time developer on a company) but after 2 submissions on the vacation I was happy but when at end of next month when I got around 200 as DR bonus then I knew about it and then I started to realize the real benefit of TC is not the prize money but the DR. Since then I would really ignore any challenge without DR.

So I would say even if top performer get most of the prize but as new member it makes me feel like compete more and engage more.

If your intention is encouraging new member(at mean time top performers being happy) I would love to see the model but if your target is reducing the cost then it is really bad.

May be instead of removing DR, there is point if you plan to make aware of DR and bonus for new member. I wouldn't have known until I get the money.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Honestly, the reason to remove with the statistic provided is not make sense at all, why it's a problem for less members receiving the DR points? And those feature make the member happy, motivated, kept working and trying.

Like everyone pointed Quantity or Quality? There are a lot of reasons why many of member still sticks in here because the benefit they received. If we can compare other similar crowdsourcing offer an equal price as studio with work 50% less than here, but still because of the DR points member are sticks in here, this is really a bad move, that's the reason why designers still stay working as many contests as they can because by the end of the month all little win counts for extra benefit. Taking this will resulting less designers who continuously try, it might be not immediate of course but working in studio is very risky in the end, and slowly everyone will sailing away to find better option, where their skills and reward are treat equally.
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
This is very disappointing to hear as I am now starting off In these type of competitions and view a 100% reliability and the reward as a goal to strive for and it encourages me to put in 110% effort in my submissions . As it is, there are already a low amount of submissions for these type of competitions with some challenges only reaching 1-2 submissions. Unless replaced by a different reward or motivation system, this seems like it will just drive the best away from the community, and discourage others like me .
Re: Digital Run , Studio Cup Announcement (response to post by mcards13) | Reply
Statistics can be read and interpreted in so many ways, but I would say that TopCoder was always about attracting the top and best developers/architects/... etc... so in that light I will make the comments below

As an example:

> - Only 848 members since 2008 have received a prize for DR and the distribution has been decreasing each year.
Why is this bad? How is this correlated to how many great quality components TC was able to develop with these 848 members?
Is there a correlation? Did these (***only***) 848 members develop say 50% of the components? 30%? or maybe some other percentage? Say just 5%? Can TC afford to lose these members? Will TC lose those members?

> - In 2014, 60.6% of the total DR prizes were awarded to 20 members with 222 members receiving a prize
TopCoder is about rewarding the best... is this not the motto ?
What is wrong with awarding 60% of DR to 20 members?
The inverse of this question is... if you lose these 20 members (and I think you will lose most of them) who will pick up the workload and the quality will be what?

I am sure that TC sees other benefits to this and hopefully it will workout well... but IMO this is a mistake... why remove something that (IMO) worked very well overall...?

In general from what I see the cost that each client bears for the DR bonus is about 9% of the total price of each competition.
So surely it is quite a bit of savings say on a 100,000$ project of about 9000$ - I can see this side of the story...
at the same time for each of those members who do earn the DR money it represents more than 9% of their actual bonus... in such a sense the return for the client is better than the 9% they pay extra since they are able to retain the best...
So client saves 9% while possibly loses the top 10%-20% of talent that would work for them.

We will see how this will work out... I have a feeling through that TC will have a hard time retaining any of the veterans except for some sporadic spike in interest...

I wish TC The best of course as it is an awesome company... but I know that for a long time DR would be such a huge motivational variable for myself... and I am sure for many others as well ...
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