So I was excited about SourceCon challenge #2, as it appears I was a close runner-up to Mike Notaro who won Challenge #1 and I was determined to find the answer to the second challenge.
9 AM PST Monday, July 16th, I was awaiting an e-mail with instructions, and nada, so at 9:05 AM I went to the website and lo and behold I was looking at a real funky-dunky document named X Has Answers that didn’t allow me to copy-paste keywords (grrr). SourceCon folks had mentioned in an e-mail, as a clue, that spelling and grammatical results were intentional. Hmmm. I then proceeded to duly document every single mistake from previous e-mails as well as within the site and the document, thinking I could find some anagram clues of sorts, and was stumped.
Then I focused on finding the Mole, as he/she was supposed to give me a VERY BIG CLUE. Well, that’s always a plus, so from the 6 profiles provided, I was plugging all sort of keyword strings into various search engines, LinkedIn, and again, very stumped. This is all being done while I am working, presenting a lengthy Webinar on how to use LinkedIn to my colleagues in India, etc.
I looked at the X Has Answers document and focused on 2 things:”..they are a big fan of Mark, Jeanna and Tom Baker” and the infamous PI number 3.14159265, plugged “Tom Baker” (most references are to the actor who played Dr. Who) and the PI number to no avail. Along the way I thought I had found the Mole, called many people and they told me, “No, not me!”. Again, stump-age.
On July 18th, 2 days into the challenge, I received the following from RecruitingBlogs.com:
“48 hours into Challenge #2 and the feedback is that it is just too hard. The feedback we received from Challenge#1 was “too easy”. This is not the story of the “Goldielocks and the 3 Sourcing Gurus” and you are hoping to find Challenge#3 too be 'just right'.
We have been intentionally elevating the complexity level of each challenge to ensure that we get only THE BEST OF THE BEST for the final showdown in Atlanta. I can give you a few hints to get you started:
1. There are three key steps to solving this puzzle.
2. Each step can be solved via the Internet OR if you want to short cut it, then you can use the phone clues. This will only help you skip clue#1.
3. The challenge has been designed methodically in that, while doing your internet research, you have to find clue#1 to lead to clue#2 and finally clue#3.
4. Following each clue will lead you to the next. This has been intentionally crafted so that they are Linked but not directly associated with each other.
5. The first clue is right under your nose.
6. Remember, grammar, spelling and typo's might have been intentional!!
Feel free to blog and share ideas (as I know most of you have been doing already) – but there will be only one winner of Challenge #2 – representing the World’s Best Sourcers at the GrandMaster Challenge!!!!
Well, I was mystified by it all. Right under my nose????I think everyone doing the challenge thought the same thing: My mouth????
And then I thought: Hmmmm…could something be on Recruitingblogs.com that I am missing? So I decided to do a variation on the names, and came up with Marc, Gina and Thomas Baker, when plugged into Recruitingblogs.com in the search box, brought me to this profile:
DavidClarke- with a DOD emblem. I thought I might have been on to something as Earl Mann and Jim Stroud had mentioned in their Recruiters lounge video about a leather-bound book with a Marine Corps Emblem. But the BIG clue was in David Clarke’s profile where he states: “Can not get into a lot of detail at the moment but I am a big fan of Marc, Gina and ThomasBaker” So I went AH-HA! Then I clicked on the mapquest link, http://www.mapquest.com/maps/map.adp?searchtype=address&for... = (sorry I did not Tiny URL it so you could see) and I notice the PI number (which is actually Wichita, Kansas) and then I thought: I am definitely on to something here. This is no coincidence.
The very first thing I did was go to LinkedIn, I typed in DavidClarke exactly like that, and I knew I had the right person, as everything about that profile was fishy. His LinkedIn profile URL was also very revealing: http://www.linkedin.com/in/threepointonefouronefive (hmm...the infamous PI number again!)
His current company is Sourcer/Recruiter at Ad Ecrous Initium Noc (if deciphered, it would be Source Con Ad Initium). His past company links sent me to YouTube, where I tried and find clues, Rob’s Dog (Rob McIntosh happens to be my boss and I knew all about THAT challenge, and Jim Stroud was also a connection, so I knew I was on the right track) and RedZero, again with connections to Rob McIntosh and Jim Stroud.
I even went to translate the Korean and Russian text in there to see if I could glean more clues….well, nothing really except for a lot of recruiting blogger mentions which led nowhere. The quote at the bottom of the profile lead me to Chuck Sigar, the world according to Chuck which really didn’t provide any clues either
I duly proceeded to send DavidClarke an InMail, with the cryptic phrase that was supposed to lead to the holy grail: “Hey can I ask you something? The best Sourcers in the world will be at SourceCon 2007.Will I see you there? Will you be there?”
Day 3 I get the following reply from David Clarke:
Thanks for the email but unfortnuatly I am not the mole but you are getting
OK! Progress…sort of. I then asked DavidClarke to be a connection of mine, which he accepted, thinking this might lead to something else, and he gladly accepted the request.
Then what??? A message from SourceCon1 at Recruitingblogs.com tells me:
“Getting closer :-)...particularly with the LinkedIn profile. Your are 2/3 the way there
Well, 2/3 of the way there is better than nothing! But, still I was baffled as to what to do next. I decided to send the cryptic message (see above) to DavidClarke via RecruitingBlogs.com as well, to cover all my bases.
July 19th, 4th day into the challenge, I get a response from DavidClarke via RecruitingBlogs.com: “Suzy, You are getting closer but no it is not me. Keep trying!
“I gather you are not really a "David Clarke" as DoD people generally pick first name could be last name and last name could be fist pseudonym's.....correct?”
Hmmm….Clarke David then it must be (just like his LinkedIn Profile states), and then a little more sleuthing (remember grammatical spelling mistakes are INTENTIONAL?), I look at David Clarke’s LinkedIn profile a bit more and notice this:
I even went so far as to plug in all the various acronyms, of course to no avail. Then it hit me: Tenuse Solutions is SourceCon language for Usenet Solutions. OK- last ditch effort:
Let’s plug in “clarke david” usenet into Google. The 6th result down gives me pause:
“Discussions - alt.alien.visitors | Google Groups
This is a Usenet group - learn more. Find or start a Google Group about visitors ... line" David Clarke Handle: Clarke David Not really of the NSA... more » ...
I remember from DavidClarke’s LI profile in he his Groups and Association profile he is associated with “Alien Conspiracy Theory” and Usenet. I KNOW I am about to uncover something now.
When I saw the title: Jeremy Does not Have a Clue I knew I was on the right track. Here are the details of the posting:
More options Jul 12, 4:52 pm
Date: Thu, 12 Jul 2007 16:52:21 -0700
Local: Thurs, Jul 12 2007 4:52 pm
Subject: Jeremy does not have a clue
Reply | Reply to author | Forward | Print | Individual message | Show original | Report this message | Find messages by this author
If you want to contact me about the Sourcing conference in Atlanta
this September I can't give you much details but I can give you this
email: jjsss3.14159265 AT yahoo DOT com
Just make sure you put "Jeremy does not have a clue in the subject
Handle: Clarke David
Not really of the NSA”
I jumped up and down in my office on this one! I had found a posting from David Clarke/Clarke David on a Usenet Group, it is an alien-related group (Alien Conspiracy Theory) the e-mail address was firstname.lastname@example.org (remember Red Zero as a LinkedIn company website), talking about SourceCon, with an e-mail address that equaled the infamous PI number, and talking about Jeremy (Langhans) who has solved other challenges in the past!!
Woohoo! I sent out the e-mail ASAP and the result:
“Congratulations you have solved the 2nd SourceCon Sourcing Challenge. Glad David Clarke did the intro's indirectly
Please send an email with the my name "Mr James John" in the subject
line to email@example.com with this message.
Secret Society of Sourcers”
Final Comments: I would have done this A LOT more streamlined had I plugged in different variations on keywords sooner, and had I not focused on the Mole so much in the beginning.I was told that the Mole did not get ANY phone calls, BTW. Had you called, she would have directed you to David Clarke on LinkedIn, saving you a ton of work...
The folks at SourceCon did a PHENOMENAL job in putting this together, I totally look forward to the Grand Master Challenge in Atlanta, and…I hope candidates don’t EVER get this savvy in encrypting their information!!!!
I would love to hear from everyone else that participated as to the logic they used to get to the answer.