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Blog It Forward – BjΓΆrn Goerke

Introduction

Well, as usual, I don’t know how I ended up here writing this blog post, but somehow through some concerted team pressure initiative on Twitter I got talked into becoming part of the “Blog It Forward” challenge. Matthias Steiner with his blog post finally got me into this. So even though there’s little to nothing I could actually share about myself, here’s my post in case you are desperately idling and have not yet clicked away from this page.

Fun facts about me/my country

I am German. Doesn’t that say everything already? There can’t be anything fun about me, if we’re honest to each other.

Also, I don’t have a country that I could call my own, so there are also no obviously funny facts about “my country”. I recently tried to claim 43.719.413 km2 of the approximately 144.100.100km2 of Mars’ surface as my private property — which would have left enough space for the US, Russia and China together to send one or the other additional Rover, Hummer, UAZ 469B or Shuanghuan Ceo up there to blow up stones by shooting lasers at them or doing other funny things. I didn’t get a confirmation yet, though. If you are interested, I have color-coded the area I claimed in orange-red in the following picture — just to give you a rough idea:


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Now, that we have finished that part, let me move on to the questions:

1. What was your dream job as a kid?

As a kid, after having abandoned Zorro, Fantomas and “former President of the United States” as unrealistic job options, I pretty much settled on wanting to become commander in charge of the starship USS Enterprise (NCC-1701). This thing had definitely more horse power and a higher top speed than my favorite sports car (at the time and til today) and the outlook to speed through space all day long meeting strange and funny guys in foreign places as a full time employment including social insurance, retirement package and a monthly payslip was simply too tempting to a kid my age.

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Also, I thought this “beaming” device could be a lot of fun as well, especially if you started to displace bits and pieces as they got beamed around… (These funny effects through displacing of bits and pieces here and there is something that I stumbled into also later during my software developer career, BTW.)

Unfortunately, the job was already taken by a guy called James T. Kirk, if I remember right. He managed to get the job by passing the dreaded Kobayashi Maru test. Even though I like Sushi a lot as well, I think I would not have passed the test that easily, as I prefer Futomaki, Nigiri and Hamachi much more.

So I ended up studying computer science (a time during which I took a freelancer job as quality assurance personnel at a nearby dog food factory to earn some money — kids: don’t try this at home when your dog’s watching!) before getting washed up into the IT industry, even though my parents had suggested that I should’ve better learned something real and useful… As always, Mom’s right in retrospective.

What fills me with indefinite pleasure though, is that from my childhood dream I could at least make sure that also in my current job I can go to foreign places that look like movie backdrops from time to time and even meet some really strange folks occasionally. Like in Las Vegas.


2. What was the most fun project you ever participated in and why?

As said, I am German. As a general rule and fact of life, I never ever participate in fun projects. Not even something that is only slightly funny. Or in the distant neighborhood of funny. I only do dead serious stuff. Not sick. Not wounded. Dead serious.


3. Describe an instance when empathy in a project, development, collaboration, work experience, or community interaction turned a situation around (or should have)

Don’t be too harsh with me now with your verdict, but does anybody know another word for thesaurus?


4. Who has been your personal hero/role-model in your youth and why did you admire her/him?

Even though the guy got the job I always wanted to get for myself, it was Captain James T. Kirk. He was always wearing these cool uniforms (actually, I think he was always wearing the one same uniform — eeehhh!), these awesome shoes and no matter how desperate and dim the situation was, he always had his hair right and was in full control of things:

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As I think of it now, one thing I recognize now is that on the USS Enterprise they never had official meetings with agenda, minutes and action items, no Streamwork collaboration spaces and no steering committees to guide them what to do and what not to do. Still, they managed to stay at reasonable health (also mentally) and master even the most absurdly desperate situations. Hello? Wake up! THIS CAN’T BE. Was all of this just made up for a movie???? 


5. What made you start actively participating in the community and why would you recommend to people to give it a try?

I was drifting around on Twitter, enjoying life and not thinking of anything particularly bad, when some of the “usual suspects” SAP Mentors decided to gang up against me and forced me into this “chain blogging” thing. Why can’t I say “no”? Ever? At least once in my life?


6. What is your favorite conspiracy theory?

The whole Mars mission with the Curiosity Rover is the biggest hoax I have ever heard of. I can’t imagine that people don’t recognize this is all made up. I found proof on YouTube. It’s not a theory!

“I believe there is something out there watching us. Unfortunately, it’s the government.” [Woody Allen] But I think it may also be IT.

Next one please…

Thanks for scrolling down to this last paragraph. This is where I am supposed to hand over the “Blog It Forward” token to the next unfortunate candidates in the blog post chain.

In a sneaky attempt I talked my three fellow team members from my first project as an official SAP employee back then in 1996 to 1998 — Michael Bechauf, Michael Heckner and Thomas Grassl, all of which are in different roles here at SAP today — to take over the torch. For me, it was the best time I ever had in a development project at SAP and the most influential one on myself as well. A big part of it is contributed to the day-and-night working hours, the excellent team play, the tons of fun we had together and of course the B.L.T. sandwiches over lunch. The three guys have shown so much empathy working with me in this project for 3 years that I thought they may be the only ones at SAP to forgive me to forward the Blog challenge to them!

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[Back then in 1996…]

Now here’s my questions for them to answer:

  1. What was your dream job as a kid, what did the neighbors say about it and why the heck didn’t you stick with it?
  2. What was your most influential development project you worked on between April 1996 and December 1998 and if so, why?
  3. What was your funniest anecdote out of that project that doesn’t involve me and is hence not necessarily embarrassing or limiting career moves?
  4. If you could travel back in time (just hypothetically, don’t worry) and change something in that project, what would it be and why (keeping me from converting all code to Unicode over your long weekend vacation doesn’t count)?
  5. Is there something else you would like to share with people here on SCN, like some famous quote, your favorite recipe for home-made cookies, your social security number? But why?

Best regards and, dear readers, please be so kind to accept my apologies in advance,

Björn

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