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A SAP Mentors tale on attending an event on the other side of the world

From my personal perspective:

Virtualization & Cloud week started yesterday and my mind has been spinning with thoughts, ideas after the first day ended. I had some really nice talks with other participants which provided me with new insights and ideas.

My wife asked me: “Why do you need to travel around the world to attend this event?”

The event takes place here, in the mekka of IT for a reason. This is where the top is. This is where the magic happens to a large extent. Of course SAP has offices around the world and of course many SAP development teams are co-located and as such Walldorf is an important strategic place as well but Silicon Valley breaths the history of computer science and continues to be the place where startups thrive.

Enter a bar here and hear people talk about IT landscapes, IT infrastructure, learn about new ideas for startups and so on. It’s in the atmosphere here. This is the place to be and while I only visit this place once a year, it is a time of inspiration. I don’t just take home what I learn at the event which is already beneficial for the company I work for but I get inspired by being here. I get inspired by talking to others who share the same passion, who talk the same language.

Do I miss my own little family? Yes I do. Is it easy for my wife? Definitely not, my children are two and half and four years old and it’s not easy to take of them when you are alone. It takes energy and after a busy day at work, you can get very tired doing just that.

It doesn’t really help either that I’m having a great time over here, far away from those concerns.

Would I want to miss this event? No I wouldn’t. I do understand the difficulty of leaving my wife behind with two kids and the fact that she has to take care of them. Unfortunately my daughter got pretty sick while I already arrived here which doesn’t help my case of me needing to be here at this event. I hope it’s not all too serious. I patiently await news from the home front on what is going on. If it’s serious, I will need to leave early which would be a pity but a necessity, family comes first.

This blog and other blogs that I have posted and will continue to post are meant to give you, the reader some insight on what SAP Mentors do. I don’t necessarily only want to give insight in to what we do exactly. I think it’s important to also understand the surrounding, the scene on which all this takes place. I’ve gotten the question multiple times already and I’m now trying to give answers, insight to what I’m doing, why I’m doing it and what it means to me personally.

Often, I get the impression that others think that it is all fun and no work, it’s all easy, hop on a plane, forgot about home and go enjoy an event somewhere in another part of the world. Newsflash: it isn’t all that simple. It already starts with being enabled to get there which sometimes takes a lot of time, effort and essentially is a cost to the company. It’s not just about attending the event and meeting up with friends. It’s also about staying on top, staying updated, forging new connections, and getting the knowledge to thrive back home. There is much more to it than the eye catches in a glimpse.

From a SAP Mentor perspective:


I have tweeted throughout the event yesterday to allow community members who are not present to catch some of the information that is being put out here, on the event. While I hope it can aid them in their search for information, nothing beats being here in person and meeting up with others and discussing things in a relaxed setting.

Storify:

http://storify.com/tomcenens/sap-virtualization-and-cloud-week-2013


I talked to product management and development team members as well, asking them questions and providing feedback that comes from my own personal experience or via other channels through me, from a customer, from community members or other sources.

Doing the above allows me to connect to others and forge new connections. Connections are important as they can also help me to influence SAP. I don’t necessarily have to generate all the feedback myself. Sometimes it’s sufficient to know the right people to be able to get the right feedback, the right sentiment from one or more customers on a specific product or an issue that they identified. By having those connections, I can get the necessary information which can then be useful for SAP.

Today, after the Virtualization & Cloud event closes for the day, I will sit together with Laure Cetin on the upcoming gamification for SCN. I’m curious to find out what they already have put together. I very much enjoy being able to provide feedback, perhaps spark some ideas. Above all, meeting up with friends is enjoyable and this is the only opportunity I have to meet up with persons I have been communicating with online for the past year(s) but which I don’t often see in person.

In order to be on top of what SAP is doing, insight is essential and that is exactly where being a SAP Mentor helps out. This doesn’t mean it doesn’t cost any effort. It does cost significant energy and effort to stay up to date, to be where you should be. To talk to right persons, to think about what you are about to say or state or put out there. It’s not so easy to balance everything in the right way.

SAP Mentors are human beings, just like everyone else, we also have to struggle through life sometimes, fight for what we believe in and thrive when we spot opportunity.

From an emotional perspective:

This is madness!

If this blog post makes you think then my mission is accomplished. I hope, this way, community members can get more insight into what SAP Mentors do and what it takes to be a SAP Mentor and realize it takes continuous effort to do this.

Avoid the inner circle syndrome with SAP Mentors

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2 Comments

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  1. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    It’s always great to read your blogs Tom.

    I share this feeling that people think it’s all fun, that we travel only for fun and leave the problems behind. It’s not only fun, it’s hard work too, and it’s expensive (I have to pay myself), and it’s very difficult to leave home and family. Many times they need us when we are away, as happened to you now with your kid, and we feel very concerned and bad for not being there for them. But many times we need to be away in order to connect, to learn, to share, to be heard, to make a difference. I can understand your excitement for being in a place where there is IT everywhere, because we love IT, we breath it.

    I hope you have a great time and please send my regards to lovely Laure.

    Thanks for sharing.

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    1. Tom Cenens Post author

      Hi Raquel

      Thanks. I love writing, someday I want to write a book (not talking about a SAPPress book). It’s always nice to hear I’m not the only one who is experiencing this. I totally agree with what you are saying.

      Community members have indicated me they want to understand, they want to know so I think it’s a good idea to not just blog about the actual changes in SAP and the influence that is put out there but also about what goes on beyond that, on a more personal level even and what it takes to do those things. I hope it can help to create a sentiment that the SAP Mentors are more approachable than they sometimes think they are.

      I think it also explains to some extent why SAP Mentors tend to sometimesgroup together, we understand eachother, we know what it is like.

      Thanks. I’ll send Laure your regards.

      Best regards

      Tom

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