Blog It Forward – Otto Gold (One year too late)
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 , 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