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Since a Topcoder is essentially defined by challenges, let’s start one right away! I dare you to identify these talented and good looking faces above and see how many of them you can recognize. The place: Booz Allen Hamilton Innovation Center in DC; The faces: up to you. As for me, I’m a TCO addict slash geek slash junky and I counted 28 faces I can name, if you’re answer is zero then I suggest you to come to TCO and start getting delighted by the talent that is about to get showed off all over the place because you will never forget a face that can create high edge and awesome products with imagination and skills. This is TCO and it has officially started, welcome to wonderland!

Another of the things that defines a Topcoder is a handle, which represents the individual brand and most recognizable feature for each member. When you spent time with the community members and staff, you interact with a virtual partner, sometimes without a profile picture. You get to develop good relationships thanks for these constant interactions, and it’s a shame the limits of technology don’t allow us to shake hands or have a drink together. Today is this special day when we as members and friends have the opportunity to shake off a little bit the competition pressure and get to know those persons we connect with, those we admire and those who maybe admire us somehow.

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I’m very proud to belong to this extraordinary community where I keep meeting ridiculously talented people, it’s just incredible. But if you ask me (I know you won’t so I’d just say it, get ready) what’s the thing I like the most of meeting members, that would be the feeling of comfort when you realise someone that talented is just a human being like you, and here in Topcoder they’re very warm. For instance, the first day I arrived I met Erik-Jan [krijgertje]. I was at the lobby and somebody poked my back from behind and just said: “you’re here to compete? Nice to meet you, I’m from algorithm”. Right away! He recognized I was with Topcoder because of my TCO branded bagpack. And let me tell you that I’ve been in places where the only chance someone wouldn’t poke you to check you out even if you’re laying on the floor after being hit by a car. So there is a big reason why I’m a TCO junky.

I think today we broke the record of hugs and greetings that can be said inside a room in less than three hours that lasted this welcome reception. Personally, this welcoming session is always a good motivation for me to learn to say hello in several languages for my friends. This year I trained very hard and I prepared to say “Servus” to [DaraK], [MonicaMuranyi] and [CatalinT] from Romania. To say “Oi, como vai?” to [wleite] and [cjalmeida] from Brazil. To say “Salam sejahtera” to my indonesian “teman teman”. To say “Marhaba” to [elkhawajah] from Jordan. To say “Cześć” to [Psyho] and [Sky_]. To say “Hola” to [chekspir] and [ArteVisual], oh no wait, that’s spanish, that’s cheating, I think I was born saying that.

Enough of this annoying chity-chata. Time for pictures! Special thanks to Alex [chekspir] and Cendhika [cendhika] tonight for sharing these beautiful pictures with us.

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TODAY’S VIDEO SESSION

In case you missed it, here you can see a recording of the welcome reception live streaming session. Also check out the techniques to successfully stalk the heck out of TCO this year to get updated of everything around the event.

As for tomorrow, apparently Will Price (official streamer) had the not so brilliant idea of having me as a guest tomorrow 19th, 9:00 AM EST for commenting the design semifinals #1. They really don’t know what they’re doing :)