Internode managing director Simon Hackett has made a graceful exit from a competition being held by rival broadband provider iiNet to find Australia's "Top Geek", accepting an invitation to help judge the winner instead of potentially taking out the top prize himself.
Internode managing director Simon Hackett (Credit: Internode)
The competition, run over the past month, has seen scores of Australians enter and try to prove how big a geek they are in various fields, with knowledge about technology, science and science fiction being common themes. The winner will take home an all expenses paid trip to a "geek conference" of their choice overseas — for example, Comicon, South by SouthWest or CES.
But in a post on its website on Friday, iiNet noted that Hackett had bowed out.
"One of the most prominent contestants was Simon Hackett, a self-professed geek from Adelaide, who also happens to be the CEO and founder of the successful internet company, Internode. Despite being popular with our Top Geek visitors, Simon kindly relinquished his place in the finals to become one of our five judges for the final rounds of geek challenges," the company wrote.
Hackett confirmed the decision in a post on broadband information site Whirlpool.
"Indeed, Simon now is a judge," he wrote, thanking those who had voted for him to win the competition and describing it as "kinda a joke that turned serious".
"It would be of no surprise to any of you to appreciate that I had easily qualified into the contestant list for the next rounds of the competition, in terms of the number of votes I'd obtained," wrote Hackett. "The issue here was starting to turn into one of 'It's fun, but what if he won?' — in the sense that (on reflection) I'm kinda a professional geek, and it's hardly fair for me to be usurping the chance for one more 'amateur geek' to get a great prize and a trip to the USA."
The Internode supremo noted that iiNet had suggested he become a judge of the competition, which would allow him to maintain his "geek status", but give someone else a shot at taking out the title. Other judges include iiNet chief Michael Malone, Miss Universe Australia Jesinta Campbell, local author John Birmingham and vice president of sales in Australia for Facebook Paul Borrud.
The top 20 finalists of the competition, of which 15 were chosen by the judges and five by the public, will now go through a series of challenges, followed by knockout rounds. The eventual winner will be revealed by the end of February.