The #SourceCon Contest Winner is…

Sep 3, 2010
This article is part of a series called Q/A.

…Irina Shamaeva – Executive Recruiter, Expert Sourcer, and Partner at Brain Gain Recruiting, an executive search firm that specializes in placing senior level software development, IT, and strategy consulting candidates nationwide.  Irina is no stranger to the SourceCon challenges – last year she won one of the preliminary challenges leading up to the Grandmaster Challenge.  You can find her at any of her community sites which include the Boolean Strings Group and Network as well as the Twitter for Sourcing and Recruiting Group. You can also connect with Irina via her Boolean Strings blog,  LinkedIn, or via Twitter at @braingain.

We asked Irina to share with us how she solved the contest puzzle:

To start with, I don’t know who designed the contest but it was very nicely designed! Every piece of information that showed up at along the way was meaningful and you really needed to pay attention.

Several of us (who guessed to scan QR Code from a sourcecon post with instructions) got to start at noon Eastern on Wednesday, with a shout from Twitter: GO! There was a handwritten message from someone on the Sourcecon site, signed “J”. The type of detail listed, such as degrees, made me think of LinkedIn profiles. If you check out the list of people on LinkedIn attending the event in DC, the person in question is one of them; it’s the mysterious Mr. John Essee. The message had so much overlap with John’s profile, it left no doubts.

I had thought that was all there is, and was rather disappointed – but it turned out there was more to discover. Mr. Esse is a book lover and had posted an Amazon reading list on his profile. A Google search using his name, “amazon”, and the book title “Facebook for Dummies” leads to John mentioning “sourcecon at why mail dot com” in a book review. (Oh, and John’s Twitter account repeats the author’s name, Pearlman.) Since John “likes phonetics”, I sent an email to

That was still not enough, as an auto-reponse told me. I had suspected that, since Facebook had been mentioned so many times by then. Looking up John using the email on FB, we see the same John’s profile photo, but the name is now “John Sc”; no wonder he couldn’t be found by name. I became friends with John, who was nice enough to quickly accepted my invitation.

When I got onto John’s  FB page I saw a competitor already there. Oh my! The competition was tough. The profile on FB had the info tab with a phone number to call and the final instructions on the answering machine. It seems that at least two of us got to this place almost at the same time. At last it was clear that it’s over.

For her efforts, Irina has won a complimentary pass to attend SourceCon at the International Spy Museum. Congratulations, Irina!

And – congratulations to ALL of the folks who participated in this contest – several of who completed it literally moments after Irina. The competition was fierce – we hope you all had a blast on the hunt and hope to see you in D.C. in a few weeks!

This article is part of a series called Q/A.
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