Mike Howles is a BI Solution Architect and the SCN Member of the Month for August, 2014.

It was my pleasure to talk with Mike by video conference. We’ve been watching his SCN participation increase steadily over the last year, and I was eager to hear about what inspired him to get active in the SCN community, and what makes him so willing to share — not only informative blog posts and answers — but source code and bug fixes.

His advice is simple about SCN engagement:

“You get out of it what you put into it.”

Mike will presenting at SAP TechEd && d-code this year, so if you’ll be there, stop by and check out his SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio SDK (EA211) lecture.

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 was born and raised in Memphis, TN. For the last 10 years, I’ve worked for International Paper in a few different IT positions. My interest in technology began at age 7 as mentioned in my blog it forward post but IT career-wise, I’ve been a help-desk support representative, a web developer, an SAP Basis Administrator, a BI Developer to now currently a BI Solution Architect.

I’m married to my wife Rebecca, and a father of two high energy boys (Josh, 3 years old, and Zack, 8 months old).  Aside from being a dad and an IT hobbyist, I also enjoy photography, video gaming, and spending time with my family and friends.

When did you become a member of SCN and what brought you to this community?
Let’s see, my SCN born-on date says Aug 2007, which would be around the time when I had my first SAP-related position as an SAP Basis Administrator.  It was a heads-first trial-by-fire introduction to SAP (talk about jumping off the deep end!!!)  So at some point I needed to register to make a post asking for help, and so there it is. I’d probably been an SDN lurker for a year or so before then.

Can you tell us in which areas of SCN you are active in?
SAP BusinessObjects Design Studio primarily however I lurk a lot in theSAP BusinessObjects Lumira and SAPUI5 Developer Center as well.

I notice you generously share code with the community and help other members with debugging questions. What motivates you to share so openly?
You know, I’ve been asked that by other SAP colleagues as well… I was not engaged in the SCN community at all until the release of the Design Studio SDK late last year. To me, it’s more to my roots as a web developer. JavaScript, HTML and CSS are my second languages, so it was nice for me to feel at home again and have enough confidence to contribute.

My motivation to contribute is in hopes to instigate others to do the same, because I think the Design Studio SDK is a fun platform to work with. A collaborative code-sharing environment is mutually beneficial to customers and SAP. I hope that my contributions can draw out additional contributions from others for everyone’s benefit.


Note from Caroleigh: One of the most impressive things I noticed about Mike’s contributions to SCN is his willingness to share his source code and help others debug their own. Several members reference his blog posts and code to answer questions posted by others.

And how do you find the time to contribute so actively on SCN?
I always have SCN up in some browser tab, hoping to see some new posts or discussions. Outside of the office, I also check SCN from my tablet or phone at home during TV commercial breaks or while feeding Zack a bottle. It’s one of the benefits of working with technology that I’m interested in, is that I do a lot of it at home. Overall, it’s definitely a lot of multi-tasking during small periods of downtime both in and out of the office.

Last year, in your Blog It Forward post, you mention dreams of being a video game programmer. Are you still a gamer? What are a few of your favorites?
I think every boy who grew up in the 80s (or later) who was a geek like me wanted to be a video game programmer. That path never came to be, but IT development has been just as enjoyable (admittedly, probably not to most 10 year olds).

Being a dad twice over means that my gaming takes a major back seat these days, however, I do go on gaming binges when I can! I actually just got an Xbox One a month back and am slowly making my way through Watch Dogs as time (rarely) permits. I also enjoy the Assassin’s Creed series, but my all time favorite series is Metal Gear Solid. I can’t wait for Metal Gear Solid V!  I’ll probably take a few days off to just veg out and play through that. (FYI, my wife rolled her eyes at that last sentence as she proof-read this.)

You also mentioned you were about to become a father for the second time. Can you tell us about that experience?
The second time around has definitely been easier. Maybe because I’m still conditioned from the sleep deprivation from the first, but it just wasn’t such a shell shock as the first time around. Still some sleepless nights, but it shall again, pass!

MikeHowlesAndSonsCropped.jpg MikeHowlesAndRebeccaCropped.jpg

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?
Good question – because a year ago I’d have zero advice, as I wasn’t active at all. I guess I’ll just relay the advice I got from someone at last year’s SAP TechEd, which was you get out of it what you put into it.  I don’t think at the time I completely bought into that, however, I’ve gotten to network with some people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, as well as it opening up opportunities to lecture at this year’s SAP TechEd && d-code and recognition such as this.  The gamification piece is a fun bonus.

Is there an SCN member you admire (OK… you can name a few)? And for what reason?
I know I’m going to forget many people, but I admire John Appleby and Tammy Powlas (she’s a machine! I don’t know how she does it!  I think she has at least 5 clones.)  I also appreciate when Reiner Hille-Doering pops up out of nowhere with super helpful insider information. I’ve also really enjoyed chatting on SCN and over IM with Mustafa Bensan and Leandro Cardoso about Design Studio SDK or Fiori/UI5 topics.

Easy question: Mac/iOS or Windows? Or Android?
MacOS X and iOS. I blame my wife! I used her Macbook 6 years ago and loved the multi-touch gestures, so I went out and bought my own. I run bootcamp on my Mac when I need to use Windows, but with my photography hobby, iPhoto and then Aperture became my favorite applications and they integrated seamlessly into AppleTV and iOS devices. I’m not a Windows or Android hater, Apple just walled me in their garden first!

Are you on Twitter?
Yes (@Mike_Howles), however I’m not very active there. I check a few times a week but most of my professional social networking time is spent on SCN.

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.

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56 Comments

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  1. Tammy Powlas

    Congratulations to Mike on being a Member of the Month – well-deserved!

    I’m looking forward to his ASUG SAP TechEd && d-code session on Design Studio SDK.

    Tammy

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  2. Kiran Kumar Valluru

    Hi Mike,

    Congrats for being SCN Member of the Month πŸ™‚ Good to know about you. Aw, Zack.. he is so cute and looking too innocent!.. πŸ™‚

    Tammy Powlas (she’s a machine! I don’t know how she does it!  I think she has at least 5 clones.)

    I agree with you on this, +1 πŸ™‚

    Keep up your good work. All the Best!

    Cheers,

    Kiran

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  3. Leandro Cardoso

    Congrats Mike, you deserve it,

    I have one kid only, and I can’t find the time to do what you do..

    Well deserved =D..

    They mentioned the wrong Leandro up there ='(…

    It’s always a pleasure to chat with you.. keep up the good work.

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    1. Mike Howles

      No need for thanks for the mention.  While we aren’t yet a HANA customer, much of what you write I do read and is helpful as we begin to look at HANA closer.  So thank YOU.

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  4. Mansoor Ahmed

    I work with mike and i can tell you he is what his job title suggests, “Solution Engineer”…providing solutions to the entire team all the time.

    Great article and Best wishes Mike!

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  5. Dirk Mayrock

    Hi Mike,

    Congratulation! You really deserve it! That’s a very smart decision from the Jury. Thanks for your ongoing very valuable contribution to SCN. I fear you give the TechEd session only in US… or do you come to the European TechEd? It would be a pleasure to meet you in person there.

     

    Keep on posting πŸ˜‰

    Dirk

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    1. Mike Howles

      Thanks, Dirk.

      Traveling to Europe TechEd would be fun, but I also fear this may be a US-only session unless I hear of opportunities otherwise!  I agree it would be fun to meet up one day!

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  6. Steffi Warnecke

    Maaaan, I need to keep up with the blog-reading or at least priorize better. Stuff like this is important and I should know. ^^

    Congratulations on becoming Member of the Month for August, Mike! I didn’t know you (before), because you roam around in those developer-areas I rarely stumble into, but that you were chosen as MotM says a lot and from what I read in the blog, you absolutly deserve it. So welcome to the club! πŸ˜€

    I really like the motto you picked up.

    You get out of it what you put into it.

    And I had the experience, too, that once you start contributing in SCN, it kind of keeps going on.

    BTW: I’m a child of the 80th and love geeky stuff, but I never dreamed about becoming a video game programmer. Buuut you wrote “every boy”, so it still stands. *g*

    Another gamer nontheless. I feel a lot of gaming love going on in the community. Or maybe I just pick up faster on the fellow gamers, I don’t know. I hope, you find the time to finish Watch Dogs, which looks awesome in the videos I saw.

    Regards,

    Steffi.

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    1. Mike Howles

      Yeah, I’ll finish Watch Dogs one day.  (I say that a lot about still unfinished games, ha!)

      I actually started playing Portal 2 again last night (which I already played through) for some random reason.  The dialogue is hilarious.

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      1. Steffi Warnecke

        I finished Portal 2 just last week, so maybe I sent you some vibes. πŸ˜€

        Unfinished games, I have quite a few myself, but I’m forcing my way through them this year, before I start something new. Which means, I played a lot of demos lately, because that clearly doesn’t count. πŸ˜†

        I’m at 50 % for “Batman – Arkham Asylum” now and hope to get a good portion done on the weekend. ^^

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        1. Omar Ali

          very nice. I was a late 90’s kid so I grew up on Crash bandicoot, Tomb Raider, Resident Evil and Gran Turismo.

          Now looking into Bioshock and Drake’s Uncharted. Watchdogs sounds interesting, maybe I should branch out of my niche and try something new?

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  7. Katrice Hawkins

    Hi Mike,

    Firstly hearty congratulations for being SCN MoM and secondly its good to see your family pics especially two beautiful kids Josh & Zack.

    I think Rebecca is now a prode wife.. πŸ˜‰

    Thanks

    Katrice

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    1. Mike Howles

      Sega Genesis!  (jk)

      I will probably end up with a PS4 once some console exclusive title comes out, but for now, Xbox One has been my first next-gen console, as we heavily use the HDMI passthru and snap functionality.  The Kinect voice commands are great when watching TV and the remotes are nowhere to be found, but I’m not an MS loyalist, it just got purchased first.  πŸ™‚

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