After 16 years working with SAP I’ve just completed my first Tech Ed (Las Vegas). I had a great time and I’ve learnt a great deal too. I’ve shared good times with old friends and made plenty of new friends too. I thought I’d share some tips for the benefit for anyone who will make their Tech Ed debut soon.
SAP employees don’t bite
I’ve been blown away by how friendly and approachable SAP’s engineers, product owners and other staff have been. It turns out that, just like us, when they go-live with a product they are really keen to find out how it is being used and whether there is anything they can do to improve it. Go ahead and introduce yourself to the person giving your lecture or someone working at a booth. Don’t forget to share what you like as well as suggestions for improvement.
Take a deep breath
I’ll share a Las Vegas Tech Ed tip from my friend Simon Kemp – If you stay in a hotel a short walk away from the conference venue you get to see the sky and breath fresh air at least twice a day. You might get a good room rate, too. The venue has bars, restaurants, shops, the conference halls and a huge hotel. If you stay there too you might not emerge for days!
Use the app
A few days before the event I picked out the sessions I was interested in and saved them to My Agenda. Then I downloaded the Tech Ed app and it was easy to see My Agenda on my phone. It lists the room so you know where to go for each one. The biggest problem was that there was usually more than one session I wanted to do in each time slot.
Don’t waste time in the wrong session
If a session starts and you realise that it isn’t the right one for you just leave and find another to try instead. Don’t waste precious time. People often arrive and leave part way through sessions as they might have half an hour before their next sessions begins. Of course you should try to be discrete but (hopefully) the speakers don’t mind. That doesn’t apply to hands-on-sessions of course.
Book the 2nd hands-on-session
Organisers of hands-on-sessions work hard to prepare but inevitably there will be some glitches and they often make tweaks before the repeat session. If you book that 2nd session it will likely run very smoothly.
Go to that last session of the day
Some of the most interesting sessions for me were at the end of the day. It’s easy to be overloaded, but if there is still a tiny bit of space in your brain I recommend sticking around and giving one of the late sessions a shot.
Just do it
The SAP community really is like a big family, so come along and meet them! Reading blogs, posting and messaging are all important but it doesn’t compare to meeting face-to-face and getting to know people. You’re sure to learn a lot too, I know I did.