Demo Jam: Podcast with Dan McWeeney & Ed Herrmann
In this podcast Dan McWeeney & Ed Herrmann are interviewed by the two TechEd Demo Jam coaches, Tobias Queck and Sebastian Steinhauer. Dan McWeeney works at Adobe Systems as a Solution Architect. He is currently working on a new business initiative to create a new collaboration system that ties together document centric asynchronous collaboration with the synchronous virtual meeting spaces.
Ed Herrmann – currently works as a Solution Architect at Colgate-Palmolive designing and developing custom end-to-end SAP applications. He has been working with SAP technologies for over 10 years. Ed is an SAP Mentor, an Enterprise Irregular, winner of the 2007 demo jam in both US and EMEA SAP TechEd , and was invited to work at SAP Labs in Palo Alto, CA as part of the SAP Imagineering Fellowship Program.
Tobias Queck and Sebastian Steinhauer are both members of the SAP Imagineering team and previous TechEd Demo Jam regulars, have been asked to support the SAP TechEd team by coaching the Demo Jam contestents pre-submission as well as on-site – in Bangalore, Las Vegas and Madrid. In their function as Demo Jam coaches they are available to answer your questions, and support you in creating the best possible demo for …. Demo Jam .
Podcast Powered By Podbean
Since we know from experience that the submission deadlines usually come up super fast, remember, it is August 5th for Madrid and Bangalore.
You can reach us through or skype or email to schedule your individual feedback session.
You can find our business cards here:
Sebastian Steinhauer http://www.sdn.sap.com/irj/scn/bc?u=aamlbw0yxuq%3d
For those who prefer reading – instead of listening to the podcast.
Here is the transcript:
Sebastian Steinhauer: Hello, and welcome to our podcast, taking a glimpse behind the curtain of TechEd Demo Jam 2011. We are your Demo Jam coaches for this year’s TechEd season, with Demo Jam s in Las Vegas, Bangalore, and Madrid. My name is Sebastian Steinhauer.
Tobias Queck: And of course, my name is Tobias Queck, and I am here as well.
Sebastian: As you already know, the deadline for submissions for Las Vegas was July 8th. And I have to say that, prior to that, we talked to a lot of people and saw some amazing demos. For those who have not submitted a demo yet, please mark Friday, August 5th on your calendars. This is the deadline for submissions for Bangalore and Madrid. If your demo is not submitted by August 5th, it will not compete for one of the rare spots in the finals. So this is one of the hard deadlines that you don’t want to miss.
Tobias: As we said before, of course, reach out to us, talk to us on Skype or whatever. We try to give you feedback and help you that you have a really, really good submission that hopefully gets accepted then in the end. And talking about our contact details, you’ll find it at the end of this blog post, or through SDN, or try Google, or whatever.
Sebastian: But to give you some more insight into Demo Jam and what it’s all about, we actually invited Dan and Ed to talk about their Demo Jam experience. So welcome, guys, and thanks for taking the time to talk with us. Usually I’d introduce you using your job titles, but in your case, you’re so well-known to the community that I actually want to use it as a question. So how would you like to be introduced yourself?
Ed Herrmann: The one and only? The greatest of all time? I don’t know, how about just Ed Herrmann?
Dan McWeeney: Yes, I think Dan McWeeney, one of the founders of the SAPLink Project would probably be the best thing to jog people’s memories. I mean, it’s been a couple of years, I guess.
Ed: Getting old, man, getting old.
Dan: Yes, definitely.
Tobias: Before we start talking about age and that we are dying, I think we should focus on SAPLink here, because I think that’s a pretty interesting project. But as you said, there are also younger people here in the audience, and they might not even know what SAPLink is. So why don’t you give them a shortoverview about SAPLink?
Dan: Roughly. Good enough.
Ed: Oh, well. The funny part was that, the year before during TechEd , Dan was talking about some programs, and then I was talking about something. We wanted to come up with an idea, and we were talking about the opportunity to do open source in the community. But at the time, it was all copy and paste. And we were wondering where the future of open source… Meaning, sharing was for the SAP community. And the more we talked about it, there were not really any options to it. And it’s funny, I said to Dan, “It sounds like the first open source project needs to be a project that enables open source.” And we kind of just laughed about it. But then the next day, Dan came back and said, “You know what? I like that idea. And not only do I like it, I put a prototype together.” So SAPLink is basically a program that allows you to package up code like either ABAP programs or function models, or classes, or a lot of other things, and it allows you to share it with your friends as an XML file. You can then upload it into your system, because before that, we had blog posts and forum posts that were saying, here’s some cool programs or cool applications that you guys can use. But it was copy and paste. Not just copy and paste… SAP’s very graphical, so if you take the class editor, for instance, there’s no copy and paste in that, so it was screen shots. So it was a lot of manual entry. It would take two to three hours to do a complex program, maybe BSP with tables and things like that. So with SAPLink, it just packaged that stuff up automatically, and it did it in seconds instead of hours. That was what we ended up coming up with. So after Dan showed the prototype to Thomas, Thomas was pretty excited about it. So then we took the next year, not the full year… We actually probably only worked on it for a month or so. But over the next year, we decided to release it at the next TechEd at Demo Jam . And that’s how we got to Demo Jam doing SAPLink.
Tobias: And you did not only come to Demo Jam showing SAPLink, you also won there. And I think it was one of the things I started to look in first when I started looking at Demo Jam , and what we needed to do was looking at your demo. But what I found really interesting was a year after, because you won, and you have been invited again to do an encore. And then you showed Majority Desk, which is totally different from what you have shown the year before. Why did you do that, or what was the idea behind it?
Ed: You can talk a little bit, Dan. It’s a funny story.
Dan: If you sort of follow the trajectory of all this, we kind of did the SAPLink stuff, and then we were noticed by… Sebastian, you probably still work for Denis Browne, I’m assuming. And Denis Browne sort of saw what we were doing, and so the company that we were working on, and kind of did this little fellowship program that I think is still going on, that other customers had become involved in. So pretty much what that amounts to is, Ed and I got shipped out to Palo Alto for a couple months. So sitting around one day, we were kind of asked to do an encore, and Eddie and I hadn’t really prepared anything. So we were just kind of sitting around brainstorming with Denis Browne at the time. I don’t even know, was it Denis that first sort of came up with the crazy idea? Someone was basically sitting around doodling on a whiteboard and was like, “Hey, wouldn’t it be really cool if we could do something like the interface in Minority Report?” Which, if you’re not familiar with the movie, just Google it. It’s basically… He kind of holds his hands up to this LCD screen and can move objects around on it, make them bigger, make them smaller, kind of chuck them around and do some really nifty organizational stuff, all with pure hand gestures. So we have no idea how to do that. But, sure, let’s give it a crack. And previously, luckily, Eddie had some experience with the Wiimotes and interacting with the PC using them. So we kind of took a weekend or so and quickly botched together a prototype just to see what we could do. So pretty much, we spent the next evenings and weekends furiously coding together a… I would say it would be prototype code, at the absolute best. It certainly was not a production-ready system, but it was just meant to sort of show what you could do with SAP technology that’s building on top of NetWeaver. It went from, literally, an idea on a whiteboard that we had no idea if we could even build it, to a running prototype in a matter of weeks. And we were only doing it on the side, at night, and on weekends when we weren’t at home. It was so fun to write and to build and to demo. We were asked to demo it a couple times after that. It’s just very eye-catching, it’s very interesting. But that was sort of the idea behind it. If you’re interested in how it works, or a demo of it again, just Google Majority Desk, or I think even majoritydesk.com. So that was kind of the idea behind the demo and sort of where it came from. It basically grew out of a white-boarding session with me, Eddie, and Denis Browne.
Tobias: And I can tell you that Denis still remembers this demo, and that you guys did it together, while on our team. Because when we wanted to submit our first demo to Demo Jam , he reminded us how great a demo could look. And he always said, “Look at this demo. It should look like that again, and look at it, look at it, look at it.” So thanks again for that, guys, thank you. [laughter]
Sebastian: Yes, it was a great evening, watching your demo over and over.
Dan: Fantastic. I think it was an equal amount of effort, writing the code and then figuring out how to present it to people. It’s a lot more challenging than you think. I think that’s one of the biggest things that, at least, I learned from Demo Jam , is that it’s as much a contest of making something that the audience can relate to. And I think that’s one huge piece of it, is that no matter how interesting your technology is, if the audience can’t somehow relate to it… Even if it’s just like Majority Desk, which is, “Hey, this thing’s really nifty”, or, “SAPLink, hey, this things can actually make my life easier?” You need to find what that hook is, what is relatable to people? And then the other side of that is actually really doing a good six-minute presentation, which is a lot harder than it sounds.
Ed: We probably spent as much time with the demo itself and rehearsing and editing than we did coding, to be honest. I guess you probably don’t want us to tell everybody on the podcast how hard it is. But we should mention that we did do it again because we liked it so much. And it’s one of those things that are challenging and hard. But at the end of it, you wouldn’t give up that experience for the world if it was worth it.
Sebastian: So now, that cooperation between the two of you would be even harder since you’re working at different companies. Would that be a challenge you’re up to at this point? How about winning Bangalore, actually?
Ed: I’m not sure we’ll go to Bangalore any time soon. But Dan has been working at Adobe since then, so I’m pretty sure he’s got some nice stuff that he could show off.
Dan: I don’t know when it’ll be released at that point. [laughter] I’m under all sorts of other embargoes.
Ed: Just to follow up on the Majority Desk, which has, as you know, the Wiimotes interacting on the screen? Now, with the newly-released SDK of the Kinect, I think that’s where we should go.
Dan: Dance Dance ERP?
Ed: Dance Dance ERP, I love it.
Tobias: Guys, thanks a lot for this conversation and, again, for agreeing that you’ll submit again. So it was great to talk to you, and we really appreciate that you shared your opinions and your experience with Demo Jam with us.
Sebastian: So just a quick reminder. While Ed is actually going off training his dancing, he actually has until August 5th to get his demo in for Bangalore and Madrid, and so do you. That’s the deadline, and if you actually want to get any feedback before that, reach out to us.
Tobias: And I know I repeat myself, but guys, reach out to us. Use Skype, use Twitter. We newly have Google+ also, so use Google+ to reach out to us. Or, even if you use good old-fashioned email, we are happy to respond, and we are happy to help.
Ed: Thanks, guys.
Tobias: Thank you, guys. Bye-bye.