This week I passed the 1,000 mark. I published my one thousandth blog article. This begs the question, why bother writing all of those blogs when the reward is often hard to identify?
That is a fair question. Let me try to answer it. I had the good fortune to work as a CEO in a small mobile application company for nearly 5 years. I was involved in nearly 200 enterprise mobility projects in that role, before most people had begun to think about enterprise mobility. I grew up in mobility as an OEM partner of Sybase. I made mistakes, before we knew them to be mistakes. As my friend Dan Homrich likes to say, “we earned and learned and have the scars to prove it.”
In my days as CEO in a start-up company that was focused on providing mobile solutions to the services sector, I yearned to learn from other mobility experts. The problem was in 2004, no one was writing about enterprise mobility. The only people that had experience, and had suffered the pain of mistakes, kept the pain to themselves. I craved to know best practices, but those that knew, kept them as proprietary. I wanted to know market trends, so I could make good strategic decisions basesd on data, but as a start-up, I could rarely afford high priced analyst reports. I worked a lot on hunches. Hunches, that I must say, were often more accurate than the analysts.
All of these early experiences have shaped my desire to document and share information that will make it easier for the next guy. I enjoy writing, and have suffered the pain of experience. In 2006, I started doing something few understood. I started sharing my experiences online. Soon I was making friends and sharing experiences with folks all around the world.
I admit that blogging comes with personal rewards. It feels good when people appreciate and recognize your work. When my ego and head starts to swell, I can always count on my SAP Mentor peers to put me back in my place. It is a self-correcting system.
The blogging world has changed much. In 2006, people found my blog via a small search engine called Google. Without Google, or a company like it, no one would know there was a blog site called Enterprise Mobility Strategies. Today, there are dozens of different ways to promote and syndicate your blog articles with technologies like Blogger, Twitter, Ulitzer, RSS feeds, Linkedin, SCN, Facebook, etc.
With all of these quickly evolving tools and technologies now available to share information, it seems strange, but predictable when communities cannot keep up with the change. I see this happening on SCN today. Members are comfortable with tradition, and uncomfortable with change. They often aren’t interested in reaching out to new audiences and sharing experiences with the next guy. They don’t like “How To” articles on SCN. They enjoy the exclusiveness of the community. They aren’t motivated to reach out and train the new guy. Some struggle when business information is mixed in with code scripts. Others don’t want information coming into the SCN community that is not original to SCN. They somehow feel information with origins outside of SCN is less valuable to the end user. All of this is normal. It is the way the world works, however, it does not mean it is healthy.
An organization and community must grow, adapt and innovate to be healthy. SCN should be expanding! It should be looking for ways to add value to the person new to SAP, as well as to the jaded old timer. Perhaps there should be different levels within SCN so “How To” information, that is desparately needed by rookies, does not bore the veteran. Perhaps there should be hundreds of categories for those craving help in niche markets. Perhaps have sections based on roles, responsibilities and experience.
Trying to force thousands of important articles with valuable content into a few limiting categories and formulas that are often overseen by jaded SDN veterans, is not the formula for dynamic growth and innovation that will appeal to the next generation of SAP and SCN users.