They didn’t stop referring to the Flex integration in our Visual Composer developer tool. Sure, we had done something interesting with those flashy tables and animated charts in SAP Analytics this year, where even Shai was pleased (read more about the history of this exceptional change in Shai’s emotions Humour@SAP: XII. The Shai Agassi Diet or How SAP Analytics was started).
But we all know this sweet marketing talk.
Some days later Dirk W., development manager and the first one to challenge his developers with Macromedia Flash, received a call from Macromedia. “What about your participation at the annual MAX developer’s conference? Will you be presenting your award-winning solution?”, a young voice said.
Dirk scratched his head: “What award-winning solution?”
“Oh excuse me, never mind”, the giggling reply came. “Will you be in Anaheim to present Visual Composer with the Flex integration?”
“Are you from marketing?”, Dirk asked carefully.
It slightly hit our thoughts that something was going on. We were convinced that this was caused by the silly summer season in California.
Some silly days later BaoHuong and Lothar informed us that SAP will be a sponsor at the Macromedia MAX conference. This also implied that a booth was to be staffed. Moya Watson, our InfoDeveloper with Macromedia background and Vincent Mendicino, *the* developer who made the first integrated Flex – Visual Composer prototype, volunteered.
“There won’t be too much traffic at the SAP booth”, they said. “Macromedia developers do so many cool things, how shall we compete with a boring business application? But it will be a good experience to be there and get to visit a lot of fine sessions.”
Few weeks before the conference, a horror scenario was reported. Guido Schröder, head of SAP NetWeaver development in Palo Alto, was informed that SAP was finalist for one of the Macromedia MAX Awards. We sat there aghast, not knowing what this implied.
We quickly learned what this meant: The finalists’ booth had to be staffed. We were completely unprepared. Guido manly decided to take charge. Whatever was going on, he would be the first to find out.
When the SAP team checked in at the conference, the chuckling Macromedia conference staff handed them their badges and stickers with the title “MAX Award winner”. The razor sharp conclusion of our five heroes was that there must be some kind of mistake. But they didn’t have time to return the stickers, as the first journalists were asking them about their feelings for being MAX award winners. Under a lot of excuses our five heroes escaped from those confused folks and their silly talk.
It was not difficult to find the SAP booth at the conference. It was right at the entrance, blocking the way of the attendees to the other, for sure more interesting booths. Our heroes found that a little thoughtless from the conference organization and complained. The organization staff smiled friendly and whispered that award winners have the right for better booths, but they were not supposed to tell them. Mistrustingly our folks were looking at them, while the organizers left giggling all the way. There was some kind of insider joke going on.
The General Session with the key notes was jammed full. 3,000 attendees were hanging on the lips of the key note presenters. Fantastic examples were shown, and Guido Schöder was quite nervous. Those attendees were really spoiled by the dashing, flashing multimedia demos and now he should present an SAP solution?
When he entered the staged and started his key note demo, the crowd turned silent. Was it Guido’s German accent, was it the demo, or did he have a stain on his shirt? Why where they so quiet? Impossible that they could all be listening to what he said. Guido focused on the demo. Drag&drop a query here, connect it in Visual Composer there and then deploy and launch it as Macromedia Flex application. Whow! Everything worked. Incredible noise broke out, people cheering and whistling. And that was just the beginning.
“Are you sure you are at the right booth? Were you not looking for this fancy video application? No? What about the website editing tool plugin at that booth over there?”, our SAP staff members kept repeatedly asking the dozens of people crowding at their booth. But no, they all wanted to see Visual Composer, longed to see the generated ActionScript for the Macromedia Application, yearned to touch the Visual Composer demo machines.
Do you want to know how it is not being able to take a bathroom break for 8 hours? Then apply for a Macromedia conference booth job with SAP
A lot of attendees who recognized Guido from the key note demo, padded him on the shoulder, telling him how much they liked the demo and congratulated him on the award, while he was getting his lunch from the buffett. Guido was not only thanking them and shaking his head and mumbling something about a mistake with the award, he also had to make several turns around the buffet to refill the plate that lost its content several times, when another and another and another heavy hand padded him acknowledgingly on the shoulder.
“You are the award winners, aren’t you?”, the attendees kept asking. It became obvious that some kind of weird thing was going on. But what? We were clueless.
At the General Session on the second day Guido, Dirk, Vincent, Moya and BaoHuong accidentially dropped by. They were interested to see the winners of the different MAX awards and glad about their successes. And then they were going to announce the winner for the category Business Experiences. At this very moment Guido proposed to go back to the booth, because the sudden hot spotlight that flashed above their heads was becoming quite hot.
“And the winner is: SAP!“, the moderator announced. Our heros were having a good laugh about this hilarious joke. But when the people around them pushed and carried them forward to the stage they understood that this was not a joke. They actually had won. An award. A Macromedia Award! Such a big surprise.
This came so unexpected that they were opening and closing their mouths several times, standing there completely flabbergasted. Nobody had told us. Macromedia for sure knows how to keep a secret. For several minutes our folks were not even able to properly pronounce Visual Composer or calculate the square root of 132.83.
Would you have thought that the joined effort of SAP folks in the VC team in Israel, the NetWeaver group in Palo Alto, BI team in Walldorf, the Design Services Team in Palo Alto, the Analytics and entire ISM/ASM teams world wide would lead to win a prestigious design award from Macromedia?
Finally, Shai Agassi was quoted phrasing it like this: You know the world’s gone mad when SAP wins a design award from the Macromedia design gods.
And here is Moya’s live report from the conference and the award: Live From the Macromedia MAX Conference – SAP Takes a MAX Award!