My apologies to everyone who shouted out to me before, asking for the story of my life. I have not been ignoring you, I’ve started to write the story several times (last attempt was two pages long but was not getting anywhere, there was no story you would like to read), but I couldn’t finish it. Today, just couple of minutes ago, I realized my position is lost and I must do something, otherwise Jelena Perfiljeva keeps playing jokes on me. That must be stopped! So here I go. (BTW I also owe it to Roel van den Berge and Lukas Weigelt).

I have no amazing story like “started programming at the age of 12 using his Sinclair version “whatever” bought to him by a rich uncle”. I have never won any contest; I was not an amazing university student either. I spent too much time playing computer games between the age of 10 and 15 and haven’t programmed a line at that time.

When I was approaching the graduation exam which is also THE good time to start thinking about your future, I was asked what that future would look way too much. I didn’t like it at all. So I had to come up with an answer that would satisfy everyone and they would finally stop asking. Both my parents hold a doctorate in Physics/ Mathematics, so to go that way was natural for me. I was always interested in computers (although when I was 15, that interest was an alter ego of the Civilization, Dungeon Keeper and Theme Hospital), had very solid natural sciences background and passion for it, so the fate was decided. I could almost say I didn’t program a line before I got to the university, but Delphi calculator can sort of count, right? Anyway I really built a program at the university.

I have always a very organized person, planning things long-term and trying to be ready not on time but ideally before things happen. I don’t like stress or fight or anything like that, I rather go extra mile early than be chased the miles later. That was also how and why I started working during my university studies. I saw an interesting advertisement (which was also funny, worded in a way that only a nerd would be interested), I called the number and that is how I started with SAP. I will never forget the interview of the person that gave me the job. I was asked about my expectations about the job. I sincerely answered the question based on my father’s advice: “People that are doing SAP are very smart people, one can learn a lot there about the world and how it works”. Which is true. I always appreciate a good advice when I get one and this one was a life-changing one.

You might be wondering how I got to SCN. Well, I was working on some projects where I was done early and some waiting was inevitable. Someone could see my SCN activities as wasting time I was supposed to be working, but I always have my things done and squeaky clean (I am absurdly obsessed with quality of my own work as well as the quality of other people’s work… which also means I am often seen as pain in the…back). My time on SCN was initially my way of getting ready for the future. The current work was done, but there is always the certainty that more work will come your way (if not, you die from hunger, so you’d better get some work going your way) and if you get ready for it upfront, you won’t be caught off guard.

The days of our lives…on SCN

Anyway here I am. On SCN. With you. My life on SCN was always very social and got me many friends around the world. My friends are very important to me. There was a long way between starting being active SCN and landing here where I am with my friends and history I am proud of (well, I am not that old, but I am proud I have not wasted my time and want to keep it that way).

I first started my “SCN career” in the Technologies section of the old SDN (good old days…), namely the Adobe Forms forum. I answered nearly all the questions every day and was doing that for months. Which means I was answering basic questions and helped some people who obviously failed to search before asking. I am not particularly proud about that, but didn’t realize that at the beginning. That was also the time when I found the SCN point system motivating. There were times when I wanted to beat Jim Spath in the point leaderboard charts. I was challenging Chintan Virani with every answer I gave. That was also when I realized that when I was facing a really tricky problem (not asked by someone else, my OWN problem) I was hoping for Christopher Solomon to jump in and save me. If anyone knows Chintan or Chintan, you get to read this, let me know you’re alive and well, ok? Some of the questions about Adobe Forms also got posted in ABAP Printing forum. That was how I met Sandra Rossi by the way. That is also when I met one of my best friends Uday Gubbala.

I feel like a kid in my hearth the whole of my life. I want to keep it this way (although it’s not very practical, ask my wife). That is probably also the reason why I don’t mind starting new things and accepting challenges all the time. It is probably also the reason I (think I) have understanding for other people starting new things. What I am trying to say is that talking to SAP/ ABAP newcomers was always a hobby of mine, a personal mission and the way I am trying to make the world better. That is how I started contributing to the career center and talking to people there. That is how I met kishan P for example. This was also the time when I realized that helping people to have a nice life and a nice job is more rewarding than SCN points leaderboards. I found out about the Coffee Corner around that time too. I can’t name everyone I met there. But I must name Julius Bussche, the Darth Vader of the Coffee Corner (for me). I also met Jelena there (who comes haunting me over under-delivering now, great!). I must not name the legends like Thomas Zloch, Suhas Saha, Matthew Billingham and others, right? Glad I know you all, ladies and gentlemen.

I was always passionate about getting things done and moving things forward. On SCN that meant two things for me. I was watching what smart people do to move forward and what can one do to move the whole SCN platform forward. Both turned out reasonably well.

The former meant watching smart people like Alvaro Tejada Galindo doing things like moving abroad starting new life and new career (in Canada). That was cool so I decided to try the same. All the realistic options were in English speaking countries. The craziest idea was to move to Singapore. Cut. Years later I landed in a German speaking country (what a joke), but with great people and great job. Love it. Thanks to SCN.

The latter turned out quite interestingly too. Apparently I was so loud and annoying about the “issues with the old SDN platform” that some people noticed (namely Mark Finnern I guess) and decided to make me a part of the problem. That was how I became the SAP Mentor. But before we got there I met couple of people who helped me steer my enthusiasm and effort in the right direction. There have been to many of you, ladies and gentlemen, who helped me here and became my friends on the way, so I can’t name you all, I would forget someone and then suffer from bad conscience (I must not forget Tammy Powlas, Matthias Steiner Marilyn Pratt, Gali Kling Schneider, Thorsten Franz , Jon Reed) . I must emphasize one name especially – Martin Lang – invited me to Walldorf for a talk once and that was life-changing for me. I would never made it where I am now without it.

Here I am, living in a foreign country, switched to SAP security (some might wonder where do I go next -selling SAP-powered toasters and coffee machines? Anyway… search for a toaster in coffee corner), still the same friends, still the same passions and hopefully still open for new ideas, new friendships, new topics. I must not forget I am becoming a father in couple of weeks. End of story, this is who I am.

See you around, cheers Otto

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  1. Henrique Pinto

    Better late than never. =)

    And I can totally relate to “all I did was play video games and not program until I got in college” thing. Which doesn’t mean we didn’t need to have analytical thinking before it was cool. πŸ˜‰

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  2. Jelena Perfiljeva

    Yay, you made it – welcome to the BIF club! Civilization AND Theme Hospital?! You’re like my lost brother, Otto (sniff-sniff). I did not win any contests either and didn’t bother for more than a passing grade in University. Really nice to see such mediocre people like me on SCN. πŸ™‚

    To add to Henrique’s comment – I totally believe that playing PC games contributed to my mad analytical skills. So give your kids a break, parents! πŸ™‚

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    1. Otto Gold Post author

      Dune 2? Warcraft? Diablo? πŸ˜‰ Lost brother? *blushing*

      But I am not a hardcore gamer! Not at all!

      BTW I was doing ok during my university studies, average 1,5 (scale 1-5 with 1 the best). I didn’t realize how that can be used against me though. I went through a multi-round interview with one unnamed well-known McDonald’s consultancy and they turned back on me because I wasn’t like 0.98 or what was their bloody KPI for the new round of brown-nosers… I will be their fan for the rest of my life. Idiots.

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  3. Steffi Warnecke

    Gamers for the win! πŸ˜€

    I can somewhat relate, especially to the “what to do with my life after graduation?!”. ^^ And I liked math and physics, too. Maybe that helped with the analytical skill, of course in combination with the gaming, like Jelena said. *g*

    That was a pretty interesting BIF, different from the others and yet not less informative. πŸ™‚

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    1. Otto Gold Post author

      I do play Diablo 2 or Unreal 3 time to time. Like an hour a week or so. But if that’s any close to your taste, you’re welcome to suggest a date πŸ™‚

      I will be a father of a baby girl in 3 weeks.  That will be a team deathmatch too. But I am sure you know that already πŸ™‚

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      1. Jelena Perfiljeva

        Wow, congratulations! Better catch up on your sleep because there will be very little of that afterwards. Not to mention the video games. For the first 3 months it’s actually quite convenient to play with one hand while feeding baby with the other, but after that it’s pretty much not an option. Yes, we seasoned parents, loooove to scare the new parents. πŸ™‚ You’ll do just fine. Like a colleague of mine said about his son: “but when he smiles, it makes it all worth it”. Congrats!

        P.S. I totally played Diablo with my [girl]friends, my dad and sister, although have to admit the first person shooters are not really my cup of tea.

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        1. Steffi Warnecke

          Diablo! The first game ever I played through to the end! 😘 Loot and level!

          “although have to admit the first person shooters are not really my cup of tea.”

          Same here. I just hate it, if I can’t see what’s going on behind my character. ^^

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  4. Jyoti Prakash

    Otto

    First of all, It’s better late, then never.

    Good to know your initial experience in SDN.

    Watch point

    what smart people do to move forward”

    and

    “what can one do to move the whole SCN platform forward

    Enjoyed reading your BIF, which straight from heart.

    Best Wishes, JP

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    1. Thomas Zloch

      Will you stop calling me a legend, I am quite persistent in throwing in my cents since a few years , that’s it.  πŸ™‚

      Thank you Otto for your blog, very nice reading, and I’m not missing the pictures since we are Facebook buddies anyway πŸ˜‰

      Cheers

      Thomas

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    2. Rob Burbank

      I think you have to be dead to be a legend. I’m simply retired. And to be frank, I’m a bit surprised that anyone at all remembers me.

      So, thanks Suhas.

      Rob

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        1. Julius von dem Bussche

          It is really sad that Rob has not been inspired yet by Nordic Walking to find new paradigms for ABAP Performance tuning.

          Perhaps a gift voucher from SCN for Wellness Water Aerobics could bring Rob back? Or less peotry in the Coffee Corner? πŸ˜‰

          Nice to hear from you again Rob!

          Julius

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  5. Gali Kling Schneider

    Glad you finally blogged it forward Otto! Great learning more about you, like how organized you are with your life planning. I’m organized in general but more into rolling and see where I go with the life planning πŸ˜‰

    Thanks for the mention and the smile when you wrote about beating Jim on the boards and Julius as the CC Darth Vader (Julius you have a new nickname!)

    Looking forward to seeing you soon!

    Gali

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  6. Ravi Sankar Venna

    Otto,

    Welcome to BIF family. You may be late, but came with latest blog. πŸ˜‰

    Every child is mad about games, even at times me and my son compete with each other. πŸ™‚ But he is better player than me. πŸ˜†

    Best Regards,

    Ravi

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  7. Raquel Pereira da Cunha

    Hi Otto,

    I was really missing your BIF! It’s very nice to get to know you a bit more. Just like you, I switched to Solution Manager and moved to different countries with different languages, which was a big challenge. Working with SAP was life-changing for me, and doing these switches changed even more.

    I am very happy to have you as a mentor and friend. The more I know you the more I admire you. It’s a pity that you won’t be at TechEd, but I understand you have very good reasons for that πŸ™‚

    I hope we keep having our online chats that are always a pleasure and which always teach me something new.

    By the way, I also only wrote my first program in University πŸ˜‰ and never stopped.

    Cheers,

    Raquel

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  8. Stephen Johannes

    Always loved your early posts on SCN that reminded me of another troublemaker, but not myself but another legend who I won’t name that also caused trouble around here.  I think the real secret criteria for becoming a SAP Mentor is to stir up enough trouble around here to grab everyone’s attention πŸ˜‰ .

    I would comment more, but I have some poetry to write πŸ˜‰ .

    Take care,

    Stephen

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  9. Suseelan Hari

    Hi Otto,

    I liked this sentence very much

    I feel like a kid in my hearth the whole of my life.

    Thanks for sharing about you and your experience.

    Fantabulous Feelings. Keep up the good work!

    Merry Christmas.

    Regards,

    Hari Suseelan

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  10. Shivkumar Iyer

    Hello Otto

    Great Blog…like the straight from the heart approach…liked your bit about finishing stuff before the deadline and being quality obsessed.

    Cheers

    Shiv

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