Samuli Kaski is the Member of the Month for May 2013. We connected via Skype yesterday afternoon and talked for an hour and a half – another long interview that I enjoyed! As soon as Samuli and I started talking about French politics, I knew we would run over 😉
Samuli is “fresh from the plane” if I may say (I hope he won’t mind!) – he moved to the US in September 2012 to work for a medical device company. It is always nice to chat with fellow European expatriates in the US.
He has been very helpful in the Discussions, covering many topics. He is very goal oriented and comes to SCN with a mission: help people (and he’s probably going to complete one of the new SCN missions very quickly!). He focuses on discussions where he can bring value, and seems to be helping people at a cadence that many would envy, and for sure many are thankful for that. I knew before talking to Samuli that badges and points are not what drives him, but it was still good to get his feedback on SCN gamification.
In general I love talking with the Members of the Month, their dedication is inspiring and I always learn something technical, such as the concept of an SAP-provided enhancement framework as explained to me by Samuli, something I realized I already knew thanks to Amy King, Member of the Month in February 2013. Thank you guys!
Samuli, can you tell us a bit about yourself, where you live, who you work for, and other things you would like to share with the community (hobbies, fun facts)?
I am married and I live in Irvine, Orange Country, Southern California. I moved here from Finland in September 2012, my wife followed soon after. I work as a Senior SAP Portal Developer for Applied Medical, a company manufacturing medical devices right here in California. One year ago I decided to leave the SAP consulting business in which I had worked for 15 years and decided that it was time to work for a SAP customer. Actually not that much has changed, I still work with SAP technologies and create new solutions to support business needs. I started programming some 30 years ago with Basic, moved on to the 68k assembly language (Amiga forever) followed by the x86 assembly language and C and Java programming languages. In early 2000’s I got into ABAP and that is what I have been using for the past years, at least at work.
As much as I enjoy working with computers I also enjoy very primitive tasks, such as going to the cottage and cutting down trees. I love to travel, which I have done quite extensively. Recently on my visa application I listed 27 countries that I had visited in the past 5 years. Now that I live here in the United States, I will not be travelling as much but I will probably be able to visit places that would have been hard to visit had I stayed in Finland. I enjoy wine and good food (when someone else makes it), I try to work out but that is something I have neglected for the past year.
Note from Laure:
When asked about his favorite place – a tough question for someone who travels so much – Samuli replied with “Nice“, a French city by the Mediterranean sea. [pronounced like “niece”] In Nice you enjoy the French Riviera atmosphere, the central location that makes it easy travel to other Mediterranean countries such as Spain, Italy, Greek islands, etc.
When did you become a member of SCN and what brought you to this community?
I joined SCN (SDN at the time) in 2005. I do not remember exactly why, I think I received an e-mail invitation from SAP after having been featured in a local edition of the SAP Info magazine, in Finland. They ran a story on my recent SAP NetWeaver certification at the time.
Ever since joining I have used SCN mainly to search information but sometimes also just to get new ideas and see what SAP has come up with. Recently, after having left the SAP consulting business behind, I have had more time to also contribute to SCN in the form of answering questions. I was quite inactive during my consulting career, mainly due to lack of time and also because sharing knowledge as a consultant has its pros and cons. [Note from Laure: read what Stephen Millard has to say about this!] During the past year I have spent more time on SCN than before.
I usually look for discussions where I can help, and I don’t spend time answering questions that don’t bring value to SCN because they’ve been discussed in the past and the answer is already out there on SCN.
Note from Laure: In a Moderator jargon, we would say that Samuli doesn’t spoon feed people 😉 Search before you post!
on SCN (under a different user ID) was in 2005 and it was you helping someone, not even asking something! That’s unusual for a “newbie”. Can you tell us if you joined SCN at that time to help, or if you were there watching before you decided to step in and help others?
To be honest I do not remember. I probably didn’t hesitate to chip in right away. I usually don’t, even if sometimes waiting and maturing an idea would be wiser.
Since then, you’ve been super active in the discussions, helping people in various areas. So many areas that I’m wondering how you do it all – but that’s for another question later in this interview. My question is: I know your expertise is SAP NetWeaver, but I’ve seen you active in Solution Manager, Business Workflow even, etc. Can you list all the spaces you’re active in on SCN and tell us why you have such broad interests?
I’m most active in the following spaces (in no particular order): ABAP Development, SAP NetWeaver Application Server, SAP NetWeaver Technology Platform, SAP NetWeaver Portal: Administration and Development, SAP NetWeaver Portal, SAP ERP Human Capital Management, Web Dynpro ABAP, SAP NetWeaver Administrator, SAP NetWeaver Single Sign-On, SAP Solution Manager and Security.
I like to help in other spaces, but these are the ones where I am most active. The main reason for having such a broad interest is that they are all topics I’m familiar with, i.e. I have worked or am currently working with the solutions/technologies. The common thread between all these topics is Technology.
I have always had many hats on, developer and basis being the ones that stand out the most. Out of the ones I listed I do not have a favorite one, maybe the Portal ones are the ones I enjoy the most.
How does SCN help you in your daily activities?
I mainly use SCN to search for information that I vaguely remember but which I need to look up to get the details. I also enjoy reading blogs and articles on subjects that interest me.
I use the activity streams to be kept up to date in my spaces of interest. I follow the most active contributors of “my” spaces, people that I select because I appreciate their content (my selection criteria is not points). Also, by nature, content from SAP employees is good and reliable.
Do you participate in events, where you may meet some of the people you know on SCN?
Yes I do. I used to attend TechEd every year when I was a consultant. Last year I didn’t make it but hopefully this year I’ll be able to go to Las Vegas. Recently, in February, I came to SAP Labs in Palo Alto to attend the User Interaction Customer Summit for SAP partners and customers, it was a one-day summit with customer success highlights, sessions about the future of the NetWeaver platform, and a part about user interface that was too short in my opinion.
I also attend ASUG meetings locally in Irvine, CA.
How do you find the time to contribute to SCN?
I usually wake up at 6am and go through my activity feed while drinking orange juice, before going to the gym to work out. Then I open SCN again when I’m in the office and I usually spend about an hour answering questions and going through my activity feed. I keep SCN open the whole day and whenever I need a break from work I have a look at my activity feed. Then, depending on the day, I might still come back in the evening at home just to check the latest activity. On a typical day I would say I spend 1-3 hours on SCN. On weekends I usually do not even logon to SCN.
What do you like most about the community in general?
I enjoy the people and quality content.
What technology recently had you most enthusiastic about?
It has to be SAP PLM 7.02 Web UI and Floorplan Manager for ABAP, because they are new. I’m also interested in SAPUI5 but since there is no business requirement for it in our company right now, it will have to wait.
You have three certifications, the most recent one is from March 2012 on SAP NetWeaver 7.0 Security. Do you have any statement or feedback about SAP certifications in general? Do you read what the community has to say about certifications, e.g. in the Career Center?
This latest certification was taken for free, a gift from SAP for being a topic leader. I do not even remember which space it was and it was with a SCN account that I do not have access to anymore. Regarding the certification process, I think it serves its purpose. The questions, at least on the professional level, are hard enough however I do think that there could be some other tests besides the multiple choice questions that anyone can memorize.
What do you think about the recent introduction of game mechanics on SCN (see Chip’s blog)? We just went live with it last Sunday, April 28!
My initial reaction was quite pessimistic (someone may even say negative) but seeing the result it looks like it has its place. I do not plan to participate myself in the gaming part of it but I do enjoy the UI changes. If “Gamification” helps attract more contributing users to SCN I’m all for it.
If a new member came to you and asked for your advice on how to be an active and respected member of SCN, what would you say?
First of all I would advise the new member to always respect the rules of engagement. The second advice I would give would be to concentrate on the quality and not on the quantity.
Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)?
For years now I have enjoyed contributions from Detlev Beutner, Gregor Wolf and Dagfinn Parnas. Since then I have been following Thomas Jung who is now mostly active in HANA and UI5 areas. Currently there are about 20 people I follow on SCN for various reasons.
Easy question: Mac or Windows? Or Android?
I’m not a fan of Macs although I do enjoy other Apple products such as the iPad and the iPod. However, I do have an Android phone since I’m a sucker for the physical QWERTY keyboard. In other words I would have to say Windows although I would say Linux if I had it my way.
Note from Laure:
Here, we had to talk about Nokia since Samuli is Finnish. Nokia was a big deal of course in Finland, you had to own one, otherwise you were a “traitor”. Samuli and I agree that Nokia got too comfortable and rested on their laurels instead of investing and innovating. When asked about other well-known Finnish brands, Samuli mentioned Marimekko, a designer brand. I have to check it out myself as I just discovered there is a store close to my place!
Are you on Twitter?
No, and I’m not on Facebook either. I try to avoid some as much as I can. My wife always teases me when I spend time on SCN or BMW forums, she says that I’m compensating for the lack of Facebook 🙂
Every month, a member of the SAP Community Network is recognized for exemplary behavior: sharing knowledge with peers, being helpful and taking on additional tasks to support community engagement. See the list of previous SCN Members of the Month.