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SAP TechEd UpClose – Thoughts of a Cool Dad!


The year 2011 has been very special so far.

Two months ago, I had an opportunity to speak at “Inside Track” event at Chicago, Il. It was an awesome opportunity. I never thought I would ever get an opportunity to speak. Not only I had an opportunity to speak but also it was very successful. Thanks to SCN, Bhanu, Michelle and others who made it possible.

Two months later, I became Cool Dad. People who know me wouldn’t believe this statement.I Promise. For 20+ years, my wife and kids know me as a person who knows 3 things, 3 things only: Work, Eat and Sleep. 

TechEd 2011 – UpClose specifically – has ‘liberated’ me + transformed me to cool dad.

What is SAP TechEd UpClose?


You can view videos here:


Both SCN and TechEd in general – TechEd ’11 specifically – play critical roles in my life/professional career. How critical are they? No matter how hard I try, I’m convinced my language skills would fail me in expressing the true feelings about SCN and TechEd(+UpClose). That said, let me try. 

I’m sure all of us have milestones in our lives. Just to be sure we’re on the same page, here is the meaning of milestone:

“An important event, as in a person’s career, the history of a nation, or the advancement of knowledge in a field; a turning point“.

What are the milestones of my life?


  1. Born and groomed to be a human being by my parents (Timeline: 1963-’80, 17 years)
  2. Born and grew up in a great country, India (1963-’91, 28 years)
  3. Spent four years in great school – NIT, Trichy, India (1980-‘84,4 years)
  4. My wedding, kids and family (1990 – Current)
  5. Became a citizen of another great country, USA (2003)
  6. Collaboration in great community network SCN (2009 – Current) and  
  7. Last but not the least, participation in the first ever TechEd UpClose (2011)


Each one of first six milestones helped me to go to the next level. I’m sure the milestone (7) would take me to the next level, the level I had never dreamed of.

As you can see, 2 out of 7 milestones are SAP related. The milestone 7 has already transformed me to ‘Cool Dad”. Here is my teenage daughter’s response to UpClose video introducing me:

haha THAT’S AWESOME APPA. you could’ve done it without  talking about the shopping trip:)……..but that was cool! looks like you’re having a good time!”

My teenage son’s response:

         “Wow, that’s a cool video!

I’m planning to write a few more blogs on TechEd 11 and UpClose in the next few days/weeks. 


Finally I would like to thank a few people who made me feel home all 5 days of my stay at TechEd:

Marilyn Pratt: For not only preaching Inclusion but also following it wholeheartedly. 

Idit Herzog: For the leadership skills, the patience and the smile.

Chip Rodgers: For genuine smile which made me welcome to heterogeneous crowd.

Philippe Rosset: For providing feedback on what he liked in my video and sincere attempts to make UpClose event successful.

Tom Upton: For working with an amateur; what an awesome job he did as Cameraman!

Walt Wasdyke: For that extra efforts to check the status of Autograph with OneRepublic.

UpClose Production Team: I probably didn’t meet everyone who made me look so good on Camera. Everyone did their part and made UpClose a great success. Thank you everyone!

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  • Do you all know what UpClose is?  A camera person follows you around the entire time you are at Teched.

    I don’t think I’d ever have the guts to let them do that to me!

    Cool dad = brave person too!


    • Good question. I added the explanation in the blog; I also changed the title(SAP TechEd UpClose) to reflect the content.

      Brave? No, it’s all about confidence. How did I get confidence? Through SCN – Inclusion, Collaboration and Empowerment.


  • Bala, You are an asset to this community. You are a sincere individual who has not only compassion for his occupation, but for life as well. This is a great blog, and the feelings regarding TechEd Up Close are mutual! Stay in touch! Tom
  • Hi Bala. Sorry, we did not get a chance to talk more than just exchange of greetings this time. I agree that this was the best TechEd so far – at least for me. -Vitaliy
    • Hi Vitaliy,

      Sorry I didn’t plan very well; however I had the best TechEd experience. I miss TechEd and UpClose.

      I liked you roaming around in that InnoJam hall looking for projects using HANA. That was hilarious:). I’m still laughing Vitaliy.

      Thanks and looking forward to seeing you sometime soon,

  • And you are someone inspiring next steps in inclusion events.
    Bala, the fact that you brought your son to Innojam and want your daughter to be exposed to an exciting, wonderful and attainable career in technology, speaks volumes. Bridging the gap of culture, gender, role also includes bridging the age gap.  I just finished watching the full series of SAP TechEd UpClose videos.  Yes, certainly a big salute and hats off to the brilliant Philippe and Idit for this entertaining and engaging concept and very polished and professional video series but to you, Bala, one of the stars, a huge bravo: for courage, spirt of fun and very insightful comments about the future of our technologies and imbedding the message of including our “next generation”.   By the way, one of your fellow stars spoke of this too.  Brian O’Neill was himself recently an intern from a University Alliance college, Chico and talks about “paying it forward” with other interns and students.  I loved the demographics of the stars.  So your role as “cool dad” was very appreciated!  Thanks for sharing your thoughts here.
    • Marilyn,

      A role model? Someone inspiring next steps in inclusion events? Very powerful words! Coming from you makes them even more powerful! I’m speechless Marilyn. Just incredible how far I have come in just a little more than two years of collaboration in SCN. This community is doing a great “inclusion” job. What I experienced last week in Las Vegas(Embracing Inclusion to Drive Innovation event) was first-class.

      After having a privilege to attend that first class event, to hear that “I’m someone inspiring next steps in inclusion events” of that caliber – well, I don’t have words to explain my feelings. Matthias’s blog(About ‘Embracing Inclusion to Drive Innovation’) speaks volumes about the quality of people who attended that event. What a blog! Simply awesome job in explaining what happened there.

      I’m available anytime to “Pay It Forward” Marilyn. My sincere thanks for your comments.

      Best regards,

  • We met 2 months ago for the first time and since then you’ve greatly impressed me. You have been inspiring in many ways: bringing your son to the Mobility InnoJam, writing great authentic blogs, accepting to join TechEd reality show and joining InnoJam (again!).
    I look forward to meeting your daughter at an upcoming InnoJam event 🙂
    • Anne,

      Inspiring Woman( tells me ‘I’ve been inspiring’. I can’t think of anyone more qualified than you/Marilyn to judge someone ‘inspiring’. I’m speechless.

      Last year I was doing research on US college admissions. I happened to read this blog on MIT admissions:

      Applying sideways! In a nutshell, what this means is just follow one’s passion. Don’t try to do something to impress MIT admission committee. Because the author Chris Peterson says: “There is nothing, literally nothing, that in and of itself will get you in to MIT”.

      What is the relevance of that blog to SCN? A lot. When I started blogging in SCN, my idea was just to share my thoughts, feelings, ideas, opinions etc. I never thought – nor tried to do something to impress this community – I would ever become ‘inspiring’ or ‘a role model’. And Michelle calls me an extrovert(The Value Was in the Conversation ! Embracing Inclusion with Design Thinking – Driving Innovation). An extrovert? really? that’s really a huge compliment.

      I blogged/collaborated sideways in SCN. And I benefited a lot.   As I said in my blog, this community/UpClose has liberated me. I’m taking steps to ‘Pay It Forward” aggressively.

      Thanks a lot for your kind words Anne. I’m looking forward to meeting you with my daughter sometime soon:).

      Best regards,

    • Brian,

      We didn’t spend a lot of time speaking in LV but it was great seeing you two months after Palo Alto meeting. SIT Chicago, Palo Alto and Las Vegas – 3 great events this year and I met you and your team twice. Thanks for your comments.

      Best regards,