Blog It Forward – Roel van den Berge
Thank you for taking the time to read my Blog It Forward entry! I was blogged forward by SAP Mentor Tobias Trapp, someone I like and respect a lot for his deep knowledge and passion of SAP Technologies and the ability to convey that to others. Besides that we share the 14th of June as our birthdays
Ok, so who am I? My name is Roel van den Berge and I am an SAP NetWeaver enthusiast from the Netherlands. As a teenager computers were an attraction to me. I loved changing programs that ran on a Philips P2000T (with 16K Basic Interpreter and tiny little cassettes).
“See what happens when I change this code line…”. A technique I still use when trying to learn new languages. In 2000 I started learning ABAP, a language I still love and use in my daily life. As the technical base of SAP evolved I became more and more interested in all the facets of the SAP NetWeaver platform. At first the web developments were very interesting. First with BSP’s, later on with Web Dynpro and when I rolled into SAP CRM I fell in love with the SAP Web Client and its underlying architecture the Business Object Layer and the Generic Interaction Layer. Since a year or 2 also (enterprise) mobility has a strong attraction to me as well as HANA and especially the impact it will have on ABAP as we know it.
This is an old picture of me doing a Capoeira-kick 10 years ago on a beach near Fortaleza, Brazil. For 8 years Capoeira was a passion of mine. I explain a little more in my SCNotty 2012 entry.
Fun fact about my town/country
I had to look this one up because most facts I know about my town/country aren’t very much fun or widely known (coffeeshops, cloggs, windmills, etc.). Something that I didn’t know and something I think we can be proud of is the fact that according to a 2007 UNICEF report the Netherlands is the best country for children to live in. A phrase from that report worth mentioning is ‘The true measure of a nation’s standing is how well it attends to its children – their health and safety, their material security, their education and socialization, and their sense of being loved, valued, and included in the families and societies into which they are born’. I didn’t choose to be born in the Netherlands but having UNICEF say that I’m raising my 2 children (2 and 4 years old) in the best circumstances is a nice welcome bonus for them. Needless to say I have to do my share and I do that with a lot of patience love
If you were 20 again, what would you study?
That would be a combination of what I always loved and what I now think could have been useful in my work life. I studied Informatics which is very very technical. One of my biggest everyday challenges is to explain what I do or did to people without a technical background. The angle at which they look at stuff that I build is so much different than from where I stand. I think that gap is something a lot of technical people that face clients on a daily basis struggle with. Surely it’s a learning curve and I believe I am making good progress but having a study like Business Informatics could have sped that up.
What gives you inspiration for your professional live?
Great question! I get my inspiration from a variety of sources. I could make a list of more than a hundred people that inspire me in one way or the other but I won’t Point is that from any encounter with people (in any situation) I try to learn something that could be beneficial to my hardskills, softskills or generally me as a person. When attending a presentation I often forget the details but remember the message as well as some specific things. For instance when someone gives a very persuasive speech I try to see what makes him so persuasive. Another thing that inspires (or should I say triggers) me is when people say that something can’t be done. I’ll be the first to find ways to make it happen with tools known or unknown to me (deepdive ftw!). Final thing that comes to mind with regards to inspiration is sharing of knowledge. Seeing how eager people often are to absorb the knowledge that I gathered in one way or the other gives a great kick. It is how I learned a great deal of what I do so it is my way of paying it forward.
Marilyn’s question: Describe an instance when empathy in a project, development, collaboration, work experience, or community interaction turned a situation around (or should have).
Toughest question by far and I had to dig deep to find a good example. Empathy is all about placing yourself in the shoes of someone you interact with. It should be a key quality of consultants if you ask me. Understanding what the client wants is one thing, but understand why he wants it is another. Body language often tells more than a requirements document cq functional specification. When I talk to key users about their requirements they often mention off-topic-stuff very casually but with a certain tone (i.e.: the not always intuitive UI which often is a huge factor in the user-acceptance of a (new) installation). As a frontend programmer I can sometimes make even small adjustments to take away those – often – negative feelings and thus creating a wow-effect. It is not something that can be read from a document, it is something that you can get from talking to people and placing yourself in their shoes. It can turn the user-acceptance of an entire installation around.
Blogging It Forward
I would like to Blog It Forward to:
- Wim Snoep – a very talented colleague and my buddy in my enterprise mobility endeavours. Hope to make more beautiful things together!
- Phil Loewen – SAP Mentor and double InnoJam winner. His charisma and natural leadership struck me when being in his team last year. Great to see that he became an SAP Mentor this year.
- Otto Gold – SAP Mentor and someone with strong opinions in his field. His start on SDN with blogs for beginning SAP consultants was an amazing eye-opener for me. Speaking with him (amongst others) last SAP TechEd at a table at the Women in Technology Design Thinking event was one of the most memorable talks I’ve had – ever.
- Rui Nogueira – SAP rockstar, travels the world to organize SAP InnoJam events. A regular at SAP Inside Track NL and generally just a very fun guy to have around. Through his organisational skills you’d almost forget that he is a really good coder as well!
I would like them to answer the following questions:
- Name the person who affected you most in your carreer / way of thinking and why.
- What was the most fun project you ever participated in and why?
- Marilyn’s question: Describe an instance when empathy in a project, development, collaboration, work experience, or community interaction turned a situation around (or should have).
A lot of people I wanted to mention luckily already have a BIF entry, which I think is a great way of getting to know the people behind the community. Thank you Moshe Naveh for that! Thank you for reading my blog!
Excellent Blog. Curious about your SCNotty Entry. We SCN-ers all got to know you even better now! Thanks for BIFfing me, a real honour.
I completely agree with Wim: excellent! I've gotten to know you as a enthusiastic, sincere, and overall nice fellow and great personality, and this blog post shows it.
Therefore I'm glad to meet you again in Madrid (and afterwards in Eindhoven of course). Just don't try these Capoeira-kicks on me, okay? 🙂
Thanks Fred and right back at you! Looking forward to meeting you in any of the upcoming events! My Capoeira kicks got a bit rusty over the years so I think you'll be safe 😉
Great blog! I really recognize the part about explaining stuff to non-techies. It is hard to explain the technical things you do in a non-technical manner.
Have fun in Madrid!
good one. I was looking forward to see how you would answer to Tobias's questions. I especially like your answer to the "toughest" question of all. We as consultants should live empathy in our daily work with our customers. That's a point I fully agree!
Nice blog! Perhaps you can do some Capoeira kicks on stage during the SAP Inside Track.. 😎
Sensational Fotos! 😆
Thank you so much for sharing about you and your experience. It was very interesting and different to read you BIF. Keep up the good work. Thanks for sharing exceptional blog. Keep rocking and sharing new innovation and ideas. I love to read your blogs and happy to comment it.
Have a nice day!