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This is a small recap of this SAP TechEd Barcelona interview with Jason Cao , DJ Adams and Malin Liden . I was fortunate to watch it live in November.

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Pictured: Jason Cao

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Pictured: Left, Malin Liden, right, DJ Adams

The topic of the interview was the value of community.

Communities are gatherings of folks with a common interest

Why community matters. Malin said community is the “glue that holds community together”.

DJ has a longer history with online communities.  DJ started with SAP in 1987, and back then there was no community, manuals were in German

In 1994 he started a mailing list with e-mail distribution; with Brian Thorpe, merged list into MIT – became SAPR3L, many people will remember.  Mailing lists were huge; e-mail based

Along came SAP and O’Reilly in a collaboration of how it would look online – this became SAP Developer Network SDN, now SCN

DJ wrote first blog post as first external DJ wrote first blog post as an external (see The SAP/MySQL Partnership ).   SCN is a huge community

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Jason said “People come to SCN for the content”.  So much of SCN is user-generated content

For every 1 active contributor is 10 lurkers

DJ said SCN is friendly place; “circle of life in community context”

Jason asked how to get more value.  Malin said more awareness, 20 million unique visitors to online community.  Everyone sees SAP Mentors.  She said she still meets SAP people who do not know SCN and are missing the engagement.  Malin said she wants to make the community shine brightly so no one can miss it.

SAP Mentors are the top influencers of community; they are top participants and contributors.

For,  SAP Mentors DJ  said passion is a key ingredient of being a mentor; sharing knowledge – being driven about finding out about things and sharing – it’s not about points, scoring, followers on twitter – “do what you do”.  Thorsten Franz said “SAP Mentors drink from fire hose (SAP)” and spit out in more manageable chunks

For DJ, what being a Mentor is taking information, devour, and spit out smaller chunks.  DJ “loves this stuff” referencing UI5

Malin thinks of community as a family; honest with family – constructive feedback.  This is the core of community to help get better.

Jason said “community is about people”.  Online community is part of the digital transformation.

For DJ, digital transformation happened before web – bulletin boards, Usenet, internet, web but now tools are different now, and the people

DJ said people he knows, he has never met – “it’s about the text”.  It is about what people write online.

Malin said digital transformation is about people buying in a different way, help guide people about guiding, selecting and adopting a solution.  Community is an independent source of information and getting the most value of a solution.  “Community matters more than ever before”.

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