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Blog it Forward – Michael Mankowski

Jeanne Carboni has finally caught up to me in the “Blog it Forward” campaign.

Following the Blog it Forward protocol, here is a little history and how I arrived at SAP.

In the Beginning there was……

After a number of sales roles in the 1990’s, I joined IBM in 1997 and quickly found my way into Competitive Intelligence, supporting the General Manager for IBM’s e-business Hosting business. Back in those days, the hosting business was the Wild West with companies like Digex and Exodus growing revenue (and market caps) by double digits each quarter. The dot-com bust changed all that, but covering hosting companies was a great experience.

Hosting was the backbone of Software as a Service (SaaS) so it was natural for me to keep tabs on companies that were using hosting as a foundation of their business like The IBM experience led to two years at a boutique research house covering SAP,, Oracle, WebEx (remember them), and RightNow Technologies (remember them), SAP came calling.

In 2007, I joined SAP. I remember my first day at SAP very well, because my hiring manager called me and said, “Welcome to SAP,” and then mentioned she was leaving SAP to take a role at another company. After 10 minutes the initial shock wore off, and I got to work.    

What was the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?

There are three. In 1998, my #1 son, Alex was born, followed by #2 Ben in 2000, and #3 Jonathan in 2002. Being present and in the delivery room as each child made their entrance into the world remains significant to this day. In those short moments, my emotions were all over the place and having to see a fresh new life added to the world really hits home. Sharing each of those three experiences with my wife, Jennifer was incredible and unforgettable. 

What do you think is your most unique strength, and how do you use it?

Asking questions – I’m insanely curious (sometimes to the chagrin of my wife), particularly when meeting new people or discovering something new.  I love meeting new people, hearing their story and then asking questions to get different angles or opinions on a particular topic. I love the interaction and also try to “ask once” and “listen twice,” since we have one mouth and two ears. Listening is critical to understanding perspectives and also really helps me formulate the next question to ask. 

What is your most favorite place in the world?

It has to be the beach, preferably the Jersey shore.  All I can say is when I finally settle down in my beach chair, lather on the sunscreen on, position the umbrella just right, I am in heaven. Talk about serenity now – the surf crashing, sun shining, book (or Kindle or iPad for reading only) puts me in a place of tranquility.  For a few hours, I am happily lost. With three boys, this does not last long. Reality soon hits as footballs, Frisbees and wabobas start flying at me.

Who do you admire most and why?

It’s more like whom do I admire. Veterans. Plain and simple. Particularly veterans of World War II. I spent the summer reading a three part series by Rick Atkinson on the US Army in World War II. Veterans of any conflict deserve to be treated with respect reverence for their sacrifice, but these volumes provide so much more. Understanding the emotions of soldiers in combat through words really struck me. The hardships, challenges and even the horrors these men faced is described in detail. These works strip away the glamour and put you in the soldier’s shoes and their experiences and travails. My Great Uncle Paul still lives in the area and served in WWII. Whenever we see him, he is always willing to share a few memories of his experiences during the war. 

Blogging it forward to…..

I guess that I am on the hook for “respectfully requesting” colleagues to contribute to the Blog it Forward effort.

My list:

John Ward

David Trites

Ryan Somers

Sebastian Kramer

I have not given John, David, Ryan or Sebastian any prior warning (my apologies) but ask them to contribute anyway πŸ™‚ .

Please answer the following questions in your post (thanks Jeanne):

– What was the most exciting thing that ever happened to you?

– What do you think is your most unique strength, and how do you use it?

– Who do you admire most and why?

– What is your favorite place in the world?

To contribute their Blogs to the “Blog it Forward” campaign. To participate in this challenge, please compose your own blog. Title it “Blog it Forward – Your Name”. Provide a link to this blog as the origination of your participation, and enter the link to your blog in the Blog It Forward Chain once you post it.

Thanks! Jeanne did mention that a badge is now being awarded to participants!

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