Since I am a particularly rotten programmer, my original thesis was that even a rotten programmer could compete if he/she was clever enough in finding a good appoach to a problem (or judging his own contest) .... I think I still believe this, although it is clear that there are now an awful lot of folks competing who are BOTH good designers and programmers. (By the way, being a good TESTER must fit in there somewhere!)
Personally, I learn something new with each POTM ... this is important even when you're old ...
Another factor: there seems to be considerably less fun at work than there was 25 years ago (at least in the places I work). I'm very aware of the energy spent on solving these things - someday I'll figure out some POTM problems that will help me solve some WORK problems and then I'LL get rich and famous. In the meantime, I'm very thankful to my employers at AT&T for allowing me to run this thing.
Please help!!! If you run across any potential POTM problems - send them along. The hardest part of this thing is coming up with problems!