By: Ginny Hare, iQ Contributor
Hunger Games and Olympics, step aside. As the world anticipated the fierce competition of the 2012 Olympics, four elite social media superstars were in St. Petersburg, Russia, fighting head-to-head in their own contest—the Intel Ultrabook™ Race. The winner will take home a prize of $10,000.
The contestants' backgrounds and origins are as diverse as their own unique set of talents and skills that they bring to the race. Each competitor, hand-selected by Intel, had a tremendous asset: a wide-spread network of followers. If they want be successful, they will need to tap into this network to stand a chance of winning the race.
The setup for the competition? A series of challenges first in St. Petersburg, and then the second and final series in Sydney, Australia. Challenges ranged from zeroing in on a specific cultural landmark to giving live performances in front of a stern-faced panel of local judges. Competitors received the challenges in cryptic tweets that literally took a world of knowledge to solve.
To help the competitors decipher and complete each challenge, they received an indispensable partner—a featherweight that packs a solid and speedy punch—their Ultrabook. With it, they could map locations, look up information, and most importantly, call out for a lifeline from their social network followers.
Four people from different countries with different backgrounds. Each will use their skills and assets to their advantage. Time to meet the first two competitors: Anusha and Daniel.
Anusha Dandekar (@vjanusha)
Hometown: Mumbai, India
Profession: MTV VJ, Actress and Singer
Anusha is a self-described people person. Anusha hosts MTV’s popular “House of Style,” is a Bollywood actress, just released her first hit single, and is well known for her vibrant and outgoing personality both on and off camera.
From her media icon and pop star status in India, to her non-stop, fun-loving personality, Anusha has a social network to die for. Plus, she notes, “I’ve got one thing on the others. I’m a girl, and I’m pretty." Not to mention she's an all-star Russian dancer (see below)!
Did she take advantage of her social network in the competition? You bet. She recalls, "We used Twitter a lot! It was part of almost every challenge!" Of her Twitter followers, she explains, "They gave me so much LOVE throughout that no matter what happened, I always felt the best!"
Quite frankly, however, tech-savvy is not her middle name. She laments "I have no knowledge about technology, directions, how to read maps, decipher clues--basically most of the skills you needed!"
She laughs, “I’m all about love and fashion and, you know, just fun.” It's no surprise then that she most appreciated her Ultrabook's "slim and chic looking" appearance. In spite of her semi-technophobe status, she did enjoy some of the sleek new Ultrabook features, especially its webcam.
True to her personality, she planned to take this strategy with the Ultrabook Race, “I’m just going to go in there and have fun!” Sometimes winning really is all about attitude.
Daniel Mananta (@vjdaniel)
Hometown: Jakarta, Indonesia
Profession: Former MTV VJ, Host of Indonesian Idol, Actor, and Fashion Designer
Like Anusha, Daniel shines in the limelight and is also highly recognized for his accolades in front of the camera. The uber social former MTV VJ and actor currently hosts Indonesian Idol, his country's version of the popular U.S. show. His “DAMN! I love Indonesia” line of clothing and accessories are all the rage in his home country.
So beyond Michael Jackson dance moves and hair that rivals Justin Bieber's, what does Daniel have that his fellow competitors don’t? In a word, Daniel is wily. As in: skilled at gaining an advantage; crafty; cunning. He says, "I just try to think out of the box to win." Assuming his wiliness doesn’t backfire on him, it could give Daniel a leg up on his competitors.
Daniel describes himself as being chilled, but admits, "Sometimes I just hate myself for being too relaxed." He also confesses concern over another weakness, "I am so blind with directions.” This weakness could prove especially troublesome as he navigates two unfamiliar cities and encounters language barriers while racing to solve clues. However, if Daniel is in a boat, he knows what to do (see below).
When Daniel received his Ultrabook to help him complete each challenge, he explains, "I didn't think it was going to be so light, but it's so easy to use and durable!" As a fashionista, its style factor also caught his attention. He notes, "The Ultrabook looks so good--I feel stylish when I carry it."
As much as success depends on attitude, it also depends on who you know--your connections. With a Twitter fan base of over 1.5 million followers, Daniel has no shortage of those. Plus, armed with his Ultrabook, he had instant access to those connections almost anywhere and anytime.
Don't Miss the Action!
Watch the contestants race around the globe for a $10,000 prize. Follow the latest updates on YouTube and Twitter #UltrabookRace.
Stay tuned for next week’s post that will profile the Ultrabook Race challengers representing Brazil and the USA, Leon (@cdnleon) and Mark (@soldierknowsbest).