When I learned about the „HANA One Innovative Application“ contest, I thought it was a great idea, and decided to participate. So in the busy pre-Christmas period, I dedicated a whole night to drafting ideas and researching the feasibility of possible submissions, and eventually came up with two ideas for apps that I entered on the web site just in time before the closing deadline.
Yesterday, I checked to see if my app ideas were visible in the list of entries to vote for on the contest page, and was surprised they weren’t. I asked someone from SAP if my entries had been rejected as not good enough, and, after looking into it, he came back with the information that the contest was only open to US residents.
I went back to the web site and yes, it was actually in the fine print of the contest, so I could have seen it if I had read the fine print more carefully. I hadn’t, so I accept part of the blame. Still, here’s my criticism:
- Excluding almost the entire world from this contest makes no sense. SAP is a global company and fosters innovation globally. The contest should have an international scope.
- If there were any legal problems forcing you to be open to US residents only, I believe they could have been solved. Previous HANA-related competitions by the Developers Experience team were open to an international audience, so why not this one?
- When I submitted my entries, I entered my German home address. The list of countries to choose from was complete and there was nothing on the screen to indicate that my submission was invalid with a non-US home address: no warning next to the relevant input fields, no error message after submitting, and no email either.
- The invitation to participate blog from Dec 6 makes no mention of this restriction, either.
- As a side note, I did find it strange that I didn’t get a confirmation email from the web site after submitting my contribution. I would consider a confirmation email common courtesy, so I decided to check back the next day and inquire in case my entries weren’t visible.
- After my entries were disqualified, I feel an (automated) email informing me of the disqualification, explaining the reasons and perhaps apologizing would also be common courtesy. The least they could have said was, “you’re out – better luck next time.” But not even that – I think the way this was done is very unlike SAP.
That being said, the contest is a great idea, and I like almost every aspect of how it is set up and executed: Letting the audience vote for suggestions, giving contestants enough time and the resources to build their solutions, having a clearly structured and transparent process and attractive prizes – that’s all great. So I hope very much that I’ll be able to participate in future instances of this competition with an international scope. I also wish the contestants the best of luck and look forward to following their progress as the competition unfolds.
In the meantime, I hope that other potential entrants read the rules more carefully than I did, and, if they were from outside the US, did not waste their time like I did. I also hope not too many people are disgruntled because of the unusual communication (or lack thereof) around the disqualification process. I hope you’ll forgive me for saying that I am. Sometimes, developers can really be sensitive plants.