Whats interesting, based on some of the lead poster's "Lessons Learned" is that there is some playing to the audience.
The PAthfinder Audience is different than other RPG audiences (and each of them is different from each other, with of course a ton of overlap).
I mainly play other games, though I always return here for the Superstar event to see what people invent, and what comments are. I find the Judges' (developers etc) reviews fascinating as well as the types of entries submitted. Though much of the fine detail of the items, and monsters is lost on me.
Which brings me back to my point. The pathfinder audience (and judges) can be played to, but in a completely appropriate way!
Someone who is Superstar material probably could write for any number of developers. They could read through the setting and rules and develop something awesome and evocative in any setting or rule system they would like to do. (many developers jump game lines and do amazing things!)
So obviously to standout here, you have to read the audience and play to their desires and wants.
Pathfinder is a very very specific game with very very specific rules, tone, and setting. Superstar victors are playing to this audience, and it shows their potential!