Personally, I believe that the interview is a pretty revealing demonstration of typical views of FIRST.
Now I am not saying the stereotypes are true, but I think FIRST is missing a huge opportunity by emphasizing engineering.
In the interview, the interviewer is the perfect example of an outsider looking in, and what FIRST has a hard time doing is articulating the potential FIRST has to non-engineers.
This is only my opinion but I believe the business and entrepreneurship lessons taught by FIRST should have an equal impact to the engineering side. Most teams can boast an operating budget of over $10,000 and many teams boast one many times that.
If FIRST competitions had a 50/50 split between Engineering and Entrepreneurship I believe that it would be taken much more seriously by the non-engineering community.
I liken FIRST to the birthday where my dad bought me a Harry Potter book, and I thought to myself “what the hell is this?” later to find out I loved the series.
Imagine if this interview was half about engineering and half about entrepreneurship. Imagine if your team was half engineers, half future business leaders of <insert country>. A huge part of engineering is being able to pitch a concept to non technical investors. I was shocked when I returned home and heard that my school now had a FBLA group, but that it was completely unrelated to the FIRST group. But upon further reflection I realized that FIRST does not really have a strong value proposition for non-engineers.
I think the organization has the potential to be taken much more seriously if there was more emphasis on business. And who knows, maybe if teams at competition were given a marketing or fundraising task, there could be cash prizes for winning teams. Imagine seeing teams at competition being handed a huge check like in many other competitions.
Again, these are only my opinions, but if you look at FIRST’s growth its actually linear, growing at about 120 teams a year. This means that FIRST’s growth rate is actually declining. In order to maintain its growth rate, FIRST or child program of FIRST needs to change its value proposition to non-engineers.