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This year for the very first time, thanks to the hard work of the Chief Mentor Herder, Mark Finnern, SAP Mentors were invited to attend the Developers Kick Off Meeting (DKOM) in locations around the world. I had hopes going into the event that I would be able to meet up with people and be able to be able to get more information about the strategy and direction of SAP for this year. I can quite confidently say that this is exactly what I was able to do. I would love to be able to tell you all about the plans and details but this was an internal event and I had to sign an NDA to be permitted to come – so there will be none of those shenanigans here.

I was able to meet up with a couple of people that I had met from previous SAP events and it was great to be able to chat with them as they took me on a personal tour of … ahh – there you go I nearly spilt the beans!

I also got the chance to talk with Hasso Platter and I was able to have a deep discussion on the algorithmic alternatives to row based storage in an in-memory computing appliance … actually the mentors flash mobbed him for the photo opp and didn’t really get the chance to say much at all. I mean what would you ask Hasso if you had the chance? Would you ask him to tell you a fairy story? Hardly. A war story more like. Maybe we should have got him talking about the good old R/2 days.

 

SAP Mentors were more than just the guys wearing those numbered blue shirts and walking around with laptops and placards with weird sayings on them. They were helpful in more ways than you might imagine. Sergio Ferrari got to help out as a microphone stand and Gregor Wolf got to assist as a panel member in the demo jam. Awesome demos by the way I particularly liked the … gosh how did I fall into that trap again.

Repeat 3 times:

I have signed an NDA.

I have signed an NDA.

I have signed an NDA.

So what was I saying again? Something about the mentors being a bit more useful than just highly attractive shirt models.You may not have noticed us but those that did usually asked the question:

So what’s the shirt about?

To which my standard answer is:

An SAP Mentor is about being a pain in the neck in the most constructive way possible

I’d love to take the credit for that quote but it was the work of Darren Hague, fellow SAP Inside Track London organiser, who coined that phrase and I think he may have suggested the pain was in another anatomical location but lets just run with ‘neck’ for now.

Mentors like to poke their noses into things that SAP are doing, getting early access to things like River, the Certification process, Blue Ruby, #evilplans aka uPods, the Best Built Apps document, Streamwork and the list goes on. The reason we do this is to provide our real world implementation experience to improve products before they hit the streets. We also run local un-conference events called SAP Inside Tracks and from the first one* that happened in London in 2008, they have exploded around the world and here is a little secret. You don’t have to be an SAP Mentor to run one. Yes, you read that correctly. It just so happens that mentors naturally like the information and networking environment that these events encourage so they like to make them happen.

So that is what the blue shirts are about and if you have saw some at DKOM I hope you had a nice encounter with them. I hope that the powers that be that extended the invitation and allowed us in (after getting that signature on the NDA) were happy with having us around and I hope they invite us back next year.

* There’s probably is a lot of dispute about the first community day event as different events have been run in different locations but I say that the London event was the first one because it was the first one that became known as a “SAP Inside Track” event and branding is pretty much everything now isn’t it. Okay, I’ll take my tongue out of my cheek now.

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