“It’s not worth it!”;
That is what my wife told me when I first mentioned to her that I was invited to the SDN Meetup in Walldorf. Given the fact that Walldorf is roughly 360 km from were we live and that our car is almost older than me, that was a pretty reasonable thing to say, I guess.
“Is it going to be worth it?”
That was my superior’s response to me when I asked him for a day of vacation in order to attend the Meetup. I guess, all companies are saving money these days and they want to know what the returns are before they act.
“I wouldn’t do it…”
my best friend Manfred Rädermann said to me when I had rolled out my plan to go to Walldorf. “but I guess you will go there anyway, no matter what other people say.”
To most of the people I know making a seven hours car ride to get to a place I had never been to before did not sound too reasonable. Doing this in order to attend a meeting that only lasts three hours they considered pretty insane.
Last Monday, Mark Finnern had sent me an invitation via email, seemingly because I had created quite a number of entries in the SAP Business One Forum. In this email, he mentioned a number of attendee names. None of them did really ring a bell with me, since I am not very familiar with SAP R/3 programming. It took me quite a while to make up my mind. I am not really the person youd expect to get invited to Walldorf.
I am a software developer, working in a small company with roughly 50 employees. I guess I am a pretty good developer since I still have my job, but if you had asked me about SOAP three years ago, I probably would have showed you the way to the bathroom. I have heard that some people still think that Soap is not a good idea, but hey – for all I know it keeps your hands clean. But that is a different story. If you have any comments on Soap, I am sure Brian McKellar and DJ Adams will love to discuss them with you.
Anyway, I am an average software developer struggling to get things working. I consider myself in the trenches. I do not live in Palo Alto and I certainly do not go on business trips to Hawaii very often.
But I have a character treat I share with almost all developers I know. I am curious and always interested in something new. And if it sounds a bit crazy I am probably even more up to the challenge.
After all this contemplating, I decided that my car was up for another challenge. My friend was right, and although I was not too sure about it myself, I left my hometown. I got in my best business suit. Being a developer I do not have many of those- and got on the road to Walldorf. I was not really sure what to expect. As I said, I have never been to the SAP headquarter and I was quite unsure whether I would have trouble finding it. I can assure anyone that it is hard to miss unless you are blind. And then you will probably go there by train anyway. I got to the meeting very early and had originally intended to take a stroll around the premises. Kind of like this “I have been there and walked on their sacred ground”.
I decided otherwise and went to find the place to go. When I got to the impressive reception the lady said “Oh, you must be the one from CSG Ploenske.”; I smiled to myself and told her who I was. My company, ocb Gmbh is a SAP Partner, but she did not really seem to know it. I didn’t blame her. This was SAP headquarters.
Although the posh conference room was called “Paris”, the people inside talked English and gave me a really hearty welcome. There is not much about the Meetup which has not already been said by DJ Adams. Content wise, that is. This was the only time that I somehow felt overdressed. I guess that must be the moment when you know you have made it. Go to an official SAP Meetup and wear a t-shirt. Everybody but me was wearing casual wear.
What really impressed me was the fact that people actually did care. People did care what other people thought. There was open discussion on a lot of subjects and everybody listened. The whole meeting had this notion of “we really want to move something and get somewhere”. Everybody seemed glad that SDN had evolved quite a bit. The many ideas I have heard will certainly make it a lot better that it is now. And it is great already.
On the way home I realized that one central thing was not really mentioned during the Meetup. There was an argument on how to give point to contributors in order to honour their contributions to SDN, but noone had really mentioned a plan how to get more people to contribute. I suddenly realized that, in order to really make SDN a useful place, we do not necessarily need high end programmers.
We do need lots of normal people who feel they can contribute and share their little bits of knowledge. SND needs programmers eager to learn and open enough to share their knowledge with others. If everybody gives a little bit of knowledge, we will get to whereever we want to go a lot faster.
People at the Meetup asked me to contribute some more. I will try keep a weblog on these pages as long as I can or SAP let’s me.
I am not a writer; I am a developer, so most of it will be techno babble in the field of SAP Business One. If you think you can do better or you can share something important, then use the forum or start your own weblog. If you think you have nothing to say, then make sure that your colleagues know about this forum. Maybe they already do. Be a little insane and share your knowledge.
And just in case anyone is still asking “Is it worth it?”
Yes, it is and yes, I would do it again.
I even got a t-shirt so that if I come to the next Meetup, I can pretend to be one of the guys who made it.
You’ ve asked for it, now you’ ve got it. There you go Mark and DJ.
Sorry for any wrong formats Kathy, but I did not get a copy of your guidelines yet.