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Blog It Forward Community Challenge

Blog It Forward – Paul Bakker

Blog it Forward – Sue Keohan

Introduction

This is my first-ever blog on SCN (or anywhere) so don’t be harsh! I was first BIFed about a year ago (by Susan Keohan ) but I’ve finally worked up the gumption to Blog It Forward myself after further encouragement and threats from others.

Early Days

I was born in Australia, in the state of Queensland, which you may not have heard much about but it’s still bigger than Alaska (and 5x bigger than Germany).

Somehow I ended up attending high school in Amsterdam which suited me just fine as there were no school uniforms and not that many rules but a great education. After that came the University of Queensland where, unusually for someone who now works in IT, I did a Computer Science degree. For free – thanks, Australian Government!

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All illustrations (except one) courtesy of Wikipedia. Sorry, I abhor a camera and I’ve only got a dumbphone.

Working for the Man

After various jobs in Europe (including Oracle Corp) I packed my bag and moved to Central Africa to work at an oil company for a few years. It was quite an experience – I had close encounters with elephants, hippos, a gorilla and my Significant Other. I became possibly the first and only contractor sent on a course on Shell’s dime, which was at SAP UK when it was still next to the runway at Heathrow. At 11am each morning the lessons would halt so we could watch the Concorde taking off. Back in Gabon I was fortunate enough to participate in one of the first SAP installations at a Shell company. Hello (SAP) World!

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A varied work environment

(Fun fact: The gorillas in East Africa get all the press but West-Central Africa have plenty too. Spend some time in Gabon and you may well bump into one, even while playing golf or cycling to work.)

Following a year in Rio in a stupendously luxurious apartment (thanks S.!) we ended up in London where, for a while, I was working 12 hours a day including one 28-hour stint. No complaints from this hourly-rate contractor. Despite the long hours I got into pub quizzing, sometimes attending 3 a week. Eventually I drifted back to Australia where prolific SCN blogger Paul Bakker  told me about this incredibly useful outer galaxy of the SAP Universe called Workflow. I have been working with it ever since and I’m currently gainfully employed in stunning Sydney.

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(Note: Not the actual view from my office)

Questions?

– What have been your best travel experiences?

As a member of the Australian SAP Workflow community I have of course been to Antarctica, where I experienced the memorable smell of 250,000 penguins packed together in one place. I can also highly recommend North Korea, it’s like stepping into an old war movie. I’ve also been in the same room as Lenin, Mao and Ho Chi Minh, though not all at the same time.

/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/penguin_320493.jpgNK2.jpg

Beware the Leopard Seal  /   Hey, Taxi

– If you could be reincarnated as an ABAP keyword, which one would it be?

That’s a silly question so I’ll just say that I always snigger when I see the SAP transaction codes SCUM and SPAM, and that one of my hobbies is researching the – for SAP especially – dreaded Y10K problem

– Hey, haven’t I seen you on TV?

Unlikely, but I have appeared on several quiz shows in Australia, Holland and the UK. I managed to do equally badly on all of them, even dragging poor Paul all the way to London so we could both trip at the 8K hurdle on Who Wants To Be A Millionaire in front of an audience of millions. That particular episode is still on heavy rotation on Challenge TV, I’m told. Also, a few strangers have told me I look like Matt Damon or Mark Wahlberg (until I take my shirt off).

– What would you be doing now if you weren’t in IT?

I’ll find out in 2014 when I take a year off! We hope to attend the NFL Super Bowl, the Eurovision Song Festival and the FIFA World Cup, amongst many other hopelessly over-optimistic plans. I’ll try to stay active on SCN, free WiFi in Third World hotels permitting.

Fin

I’d now like to Blog It Forward to two other regulars on the SAP Workflow forum: Rob Dielemans and Anjan Paul

I read their posts almost every day but I’ve never met either of them – so I’d like to “pop the bonnet”, as we say in Queensland. I’ll add some extra questions for them (feel free to ignore or pick your own):

– Where did you first encounter SAP? What did you think of it?

– If Bill Gates gave you $1M to start a website, what would you do with it?

For instructions: Blog It Forward Community Challenge

One Last Thing

I’ve been an SCN member for nearly 5 years now and somehow I’ve collected a number of badges and points along the way. That’s all very nice but the best thing about SCN – apart from all the remarkable and helpful people here, of course – is when you encounter a wholly unexpected problem at work, plug it into your favourite search engine with palms sweating and up pops the solution, courtesy of this very website. Keep making me look good, SCN!

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But which is which?

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16 Comments

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  1. Susan Keohan

    Well well well.  The #BIF has finally come home to roost.

    Thanks for following through, Rick.  And now that it’s over, you can probably say that blogging is not that hard, is it?
    Of course, there will be a price to pay when your significant other finds out that she came last in this list ‘elephants, hippos, a gorilla and my Significant Other’ – or that she was listed this way at all?

    I think I need to take up pub quizzes.  I used to be a Trivial Pursuit fiend (I am, of course, a font of useless knowledge) so maybe I can up my game to pub quizzes.  Then we shall meet on the game show circuit, where we both will win our retirement funds.

    Excellent choices for your #BIF-tos also.  Let’s get these SAP Workflow people to the fore!

    As for which is which, I am guess you are the one on the right (that’s my right, I don’t know if it appears differently to you down in Oz). 

    Cheers!

    Sue

     

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    1. Rick Bakker Post author

      Anjan: I knew I forgot to check something! Sorry about that – I’ve now read your BIF.

      No FIFA tickets yet, hopefully in December.

      Sue: You should definitely take up quizzing, if it’s available where you live. It’s a good excuse to hang out in bars. I was thinking of bolding Significant Other and leaving the gorilla picture there, but I may have gotten into trouble.

      Jürgen and Midhun: Danke!

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  2. Steffi Warnecke

    The twin curse strikes again, as I was convinced that I read this BIF already, when I saw the title and name, but it was – of course – Paul’s, that I had read. ^^

    You came around! 😯 But no stint in the USA yet?

    As a member of the Australian SAP Workflow community I have of course been to Antarctica

    That sounds like you guys took one of those trust/bonding trips there. πŸ˜€

    elephants, hippos, a gorilla and my Significant Other

    Nice list. I’d sell it as being climactic: the best thing comes last. *g*

    This was a great read and I see that the humor runs in the family… ^^

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  3. Rick Bakker Post author

    Steffi – No USA yet, maybe after my year off. We didn’t go on a team-bonding trip but I have noticed a high percentage of Antarcticers amongst the Aussie workflow contingent.

    martin – and I’m jealous of your photo taken at the North Pole! It’s a lot harder to get there than North Korea. You could go next week if you wanted to.

    Thank you, Eduardo and Vivek.

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  4. Suseelan Hari

    Hi Rick,

    Merry Christmas!

    Fantastic blog! Antarctica Wow! Very rare place to visit and difficult to visit!

    I like the photo you took from your office. Beauty Australia Bridge! πŸ™‚

    Thank you so much for sharing about you and your experience.

    It was exciting to read your blog during Christmas Eve!

    Once again thank you so much for sharing!

    Regards,

    Hari Suseelan

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    1. Rick Bakker Post author

      Hi Hari Suseelan,

      Thanks! I’m glad you liked it.

      Antarctica is indeed a fantastic place, I even went swimming there and had a close encounter with a whale, though not at the same time. A number of the other Australian SAP Workflow people have been there too, but we didn’t travel together. It can be risky, there is a ship similar to the one I travelled on stuck in the ice there right now. You also don’t want to get too close to an elephant seal.

      Happy New Year!

      Rick

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      1. Suseelan Hari

        Hi Rick,

        Thanks for your Sweet New Year Wishes! Oh my god! Its risky always near Antarctica. Is that correct? We need to always more careful! Once again thank you for sharing your risky experience.

        Regards,

        Hari Suseelan

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  5. Matt Fraser

    Rick,

    Steffi Warnecke pointed me to your BIF here, late to the game as I am, of course, but I’m glad she did! Excellent writing style, by the way, so now I’ll definitely be on the lookout for other posts from you (when you return from your year-long trip to everywhere, of course!).

    Now that would be an amazing thing, to get Mao, Ho Chi Minh, and Lenin all into a room at the same time…

    I do wonder, sometimes, whether the original developers back in Walldorf were sniggering to themselves as they introduced SAP to the English-speaking world at some of those transaction codes. I’m actually practicing at being a SAINT and producing a lot of SPAM right now as I write this. I think I sense a status update brewing…

    Seems a lot of SCN’ers and/or SAPpers have been to Antarctica! Of course, Australia has a fine Antarctic tradition. I’m looking at you, Mawson. I spent a little time there myself, as it happens.

    And I’ve learned not to mention my Significant Other and gorillas in the same sentence. I had to learn the lesson a few times, but the bumps on my head will remind me.

    Regards,

    Matt

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    1. Rick Bakker Post author

      Hi Matt,

      Glad you liked it! I see you actually worked in Antarctica, now that’s cool. If you’ve already done a BIF then I can’t find it, please link to it here.

      I’m still on my year off but I like to keep up to date on SCN or do anything else that I darn well please. I went to the SAP conference in Florida and there was nary a hint that the company behind it all is German (beside a display on how they were going to help Germany win the World Cup), they’re losing their exoticness. Hadn’t see the SAINT transaction yet!

      These days I’m the one looking more like the gorilla.

      cheers

      Rick

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      1. Matt Fraser

        I haven’t actually written a BIF yet, but the pressure is building! Well, ok, only a little bit of pressure so far, but obviously I need to get on it.

        And yeah, “cool” is the right word. πŸ˜‰

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