From the beginning of SDN one of my main goals was to find, nurture and bring forward the great talents that are out there in the SAP world. One day, that is my goal, if you are a great contributor on SDN or BPX you will be able to make a living from it.
Before SDN, if a great developer programmed something exceptional in ABAP at his company in the middle of America or India that developer had no way to share his work with the world.
The first thing I pushed for when I joined the team that was tasked to develop SDN, was blogging. That was early 2003, before the term Web2.0 was even coined.
Once that was in place I made sure that the forums where upgraded and a point system put in place that incorporated all content. Now in every forum you can see who the most active contributors are. (Some feel that we are too successful with this, that point hunters are raising the noise level. Something that we are having an eye on, but no easy solution for it yet.)
We quickly realized that we need a place to store FAQs and a wiki would be just the right technology to support the creation and maintenance of such an FAQ. It took a while until that area was finally added to the system last fall. Since then traffic as well as the contributions have picked up nicely, it is going head to head with the blogging area regarding page views.
Nothing energizes people more than a face to face meeting. An example is http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/sdn/weblogs?blog=/pub/u/251718145 [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken] [original link is broken], who got busy and went AWOL 😉 for a while, participated in the community day in Australia recently and has written two blog posts since.
The most beautiful example of how the things I envisioned fell into place is the story behind the new Next Generation ABAP Programming book created by SDN heroes Thomas Jung and Rich Heilmann.
They both got their well deserved prominence through excellent contributions in the forums as well as their blogs. They found each other on SDN and held a joined BOF session on the SDN Day (now known as Community Day) with the title: Next Generation ABAP Programming. That session was a great success, so much that SAP Press approached them whether they would like to take the content and write a book about it. Half a year later the book is out on SAP Press, Thomas announced it on SDN of course and the community loves it. How sweet.
Some of you may know that I took 3 months off to spend some time with Nina. I don’t think that people noticed too much. The main reason for that is that my colleague Michael Schwandt did such an excellent job covering for me. He has been a great force here on SDN for a long while, just more in the background.
He was there from the first meetings with Shai, when it was decided to create a Developer Network. If I am not mistaken of the original crew that started it all, Ran Cliff, Michael Schwandt and I are the only ones that are still raising the bar.
Michael liked to be involved more in the community area and after my return we thought about how to osition us to serve you all better and also make Nina happy, as she is clearly saying: “Papa, on’t work too much” in this picture 😉
As Michael is sitting in Walldorf he is tackeling more the SAP inward facing community issues like he smooth integration of the SAP Service Marketplace as well as managing the community team.
I am focusing more on external evangelism and events like the upcoming: Community Days, TechEd Clubhouse, … (Although lately I did quite some knowledge transfer to several development teams about community and our lessons learned.) One of the things I am focusing on right now and in the comming weeks is to create a program around our SAP Mentors. I’ll keep you posted. My new official title is Chief Community Evangelist. In reality of course I am still the community guy that is listening to your suggestions, drives for consensus and implements that.
Michael will start to post more about what he is up to and I am looking forward to that. If you are still not sure whether he is a cool guy, just check his pictures on his Community Profiles page 😉