The #SourceCon Grandmaster Sourcing Challenge

Mar 15, 2010
This article is part of a series called Q/A.

The war is over. The challengers, weary, battered and bloody… The smoke has cleared…. and we have a brand new Grandmaster Sourcing Champion!

Yes folks – the mighty Mike Notaro was bested last night in an epic battle that traversed the entire Downtown San Diego Marriott Hotel and Marina. This challenge was completely different from all the challenges of the past and confused the heck out of the participants. But when it was all said and done, at the end of the night emerged a new Champion – Katharine Robinson, AKA @TheSourceress.

Katharine was the winner of the second SourceCon challenge. She shared with us this morning how she solved this final, and most confusing, challenge.

The first piece of the challenge was the business card from Broadlook that was handed out at the registration counter in the morning . The four of the challenge winners gathered to talk about it and couldn’t figure out its significance so they set it aside. The challenge was officially announced later in the afternoon, and shortly thereafter she noticed the QR code that was on each of the attendee badges. The three women sat down to figure out how it played into the challenge and man came over and showed them how it resolved to She arrived on the page, which turned out to be Jim Stroud’s History of Sourcing. There was a red line under the picture of SourceCon indicating a link, and it took her to a blogtalk radio podcast. She listened to the podcast, which turned out to be directions around the hotel to find different clues planted throughout the hotel. She ended up out by the pool and discovered some black balloons with the SourceCon logo on them. On the back of the balloons was a Boolean string. She recognized that the clue was to find David Manaster in the Manchester Room. When she arrived, she found the Cryptex security tube, and she saw clues stuck to the walls of the room to help open the Cryptex. She talked to other people in the room to see if they could help with some of the clues as well. A man shared with her to use some ‘logic’, which ended up being the code to open the Cryptex. Inside was a card with holes punched into it. She eventually figured out that she needed to lay the white punched card over top of the Broadlook card that was handed out earlier in the day to reveal an email address to send a notification to, indicating that she had unlocked the code – From start to finish, the whole process took about an hour.

Katharine has received lots of congratulations following solving the Challenge, many from people whom she’s never communicated with before. She has received lots of support from the UK which is where she lives, and she will have a trip back to SourceCon next year to defend her title.

Big congratulations to all of the challenge winners this year: Irina Shamaeva, Katharine Robinson, and Lisa Offutt. As well, we offer a heartfelt congratulations to Mike Notaro, who has held the title of Grandmaster Sourcing Champion for the last two SourceCons.

Great big thanks go out to Donato Diorio and Broadlook Technologies who sponsored our Challenge. They have been a great partner for the challenges and we are most appreciative of their support!

Special thanks also go to Julia Stone and Geoff Webb, who were the masterminds behind the challenges this year. They did a fantastic job keeping us stumped!

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