(Sorry for being coy here. Don't want to jinx contract signing.)
If you had a deal with Google/Apple/Dropbox/NSA that said "If we find someone who can complete this challenge, you agree you hire them at $500k/year + $100k signing bonus doing work on Skunkworks Project X" you would have an incredible flow of hackers.
No one has created a marketplace for world class experts and yet these positions and people exist.
Congratulations on launching and good luck!
This is true for a subset of great hackers who are conveniently visible to the tech industry's antiquated, inefficient, insane, and exclusionary hiring practices. It is very much not true for many very talented engineers in the world.
We're going to arbitrage that inefficiency to zero.
You're geeks who've assumed that the only job a geek wants to have involves finding system-level exploits.
It's all very clever to write a program that reads use it's own bytecode as the secret, but does that feed people? Get them to Mars? Heal people? Does it make application programming easier, less error prone, more accessible? Perhaps there exists some insights at the lowest level of program execution that are only revealed in a career like this (a la _A New Kind of Science_), but somehow I doubt it.
But hey, everyone is welcome to their opinion.
For example, if you're an application security analyst at Google and you find a security flaw that could result in users' personal information being leaked, aren't you making the world a better place by finding and repairing that bug?
If you want to write systems that improve the safety of application programming, it helps to have a lower-level understanding of what is happening.
As for Mars, if articles like this (http://spinroot.com/dcas/) are any indication, there will need to be a lot of systems programming and especially tool building that requires deep systems understanding.
It doesn't even have to be competitive. It's just... fun.
Virtually everything I know about computer science I learned because of software security.
I don't think you need to care that much about security to benefit from a syllabus of exercises framed by security.
I think you should copy/paste this onto your landing page.
That joy and excitement is totally gone now in Bob's CRUD Shop(TM), so it's phenomenal to have a curated lab to play around with (that won't get you arrested).
If the goal is to find the top talent that wouldn't don't normally show up on a firm's hiring radar, then I would expect that includes finding people who aren't in those cities (and don't want to be).
I couldn't find any mention of geography it in your blog post or on the starfighters.io website, but I've been burned many times by initiatives where the absence of geogrphical information is supposed to imply "USA only" (because they forget that the rest of the world exists), or if you're very lucky "USA and select European countries".