If you’re a faithful reader of the Member of the Month series (and, really, why wouldn’t you be?), you know that I typically choose candidates based on the frequency of their contributions to the SAP Community. In other words, I look at how often they answer questions or write blogs. Usually I find members who are fairly committed to one activity or the other, but every now and then, I find someone who seems to enjoy writing blogs and answering questions equally.
March’s Member of the Month is definitely someone who does it all. In fact, when I was looking at his profile, I was so impressed, I paused and asked myself, “Why hasn’t he been a Member of the Month already?” As a candidate, he was almost too good to be true. Nearly 300 questions answered. More than 50 blogs written. I mean…how the heck did I miss this guy for so long?
And that guy is Sharath Gangadhara (AKA Sharath M G).
Once I determined that Sharath was eligible (again, since he hadn’t been a Member of the Month before, I wanted to make sure I wasn’t missing something), I nearly fell over myself notifying him that he had been selected for March.
I’ve sent that congratulations message to more than a dozen people, and reaction has ranged from surprise to (on the rarest of occasions) indifference. Someone even declined once, a response I wasn’t prepared for. Sharath sent the type of response I love the most. A combination of excitement and gratitude. Shock and joy. Because, to my knowledge, no Member of the Month ever sets out to become Member of the Month. These members participate in the community with no expectation of recognition. They contribute because they like to share their knowledge and help people. So I feel good when I make their day (most of the time) by informing them that they are a Member of the Month.
In Sharath’s case, I had one additional reason to feel good. Why? Well, I think this part of his response says it all: “I had to thank SAP as it’s the gift from SAP to make my birth month (March) special.”
So, yeah, maybe Member of the Month is long overdue for Sharath, but at least I picked the best time to salute him finally.
Community serendipity perhaps?
Anyway, now that we know Sharath has a birthday this month, let’s see what else we can learn…
Before participating in the community, Sharath (right) had to overcome his fears about blogging. Judging from this photo, I’d say he isn’t in the habit of letting fear hold him back from anything.
Congratulations, Sharath, for receiving Member of the Month for March!
Firstly, I feel a bit embarrassed and humbled by your lofty praise for my contributions. I have gained more from collaborating in the forum and feel that I owe a lot more to this wonderful community of SCN. I remember the days of SDN (SAP Developer Network) and having reached a point to be accorded the title of Member of Month, it truly feels special. I have seen SDN move to SCN and amidst the gamut of incredible individuals at SAP I feel a bit mortified to be in the company of these legends.
I would take the opportunity to thank the community for being supportive. Over the past year, the SAP Jam community and especially Elizabeth Gutt, Carlos Martinez, and Jeremy Good have been of great support to me in providing me the platform to express myself.
Jeremy Good? Sorry, that name doesn’t ring any bells. Anyway, before I forget — happy belated birthday! When was it? Did you do anything fun?
It was March the 1st. Thank you very much for your wishes. I was more excited for this interview than my birthday plans. Well, my birthday come on the heels of the festival of colors – Holi. So, it was fun — colors and friends all at once.
Working at a global company on a community site, I’m accustomed to talking to people who speak several languages. I really respect that, especially since I only speak English — and I ain’t even all that good at that. According to your profile, you speak six languages! How did you manage to learn so many?
In India, we have many vernacular languages. It’s common to find people who speak more than one. In my case, my wife comes from a different state, and I learned very quickly that one’s language is the easiest or the shortest route to winning their hearts. I traveled on work to Germany and Japan. Again, language was key to integrate and feel the essence of any culture. Language is very dear and near to the local people and in many cases the best way to break the barriers and the perceptions which we tend to carry in our minds.
To learn any language, I depend on watching a lot of TV recordings to pick up with the accent. Then, observing the people in person and trying to correlate their expressions with their words help me to read their message. But, staying in the place where the language is spoken and traveling alone is my best way to learn the language.
I am not proficient in all the languages as its more of colloquial proficiency. But, I can manage my way.
Language is the easiest or the shortest route to winning someone’s heart, according to Sharath. Just ask his wife, Rosa, seen here with him at the foothills of the Himalayas.
Your profile description is: “UI to UI5 to UX :)” What does that mean in terms of your career? How did you get started and what led to your current area of expertise?
My career started with Web Dynpros as the UI. It all started with my then manager visiting Germany and been given a book on CAF-Composite Application Framework. I was starting my career and was chosen to explain CAF and Web Dynpro. I took a month to make sense of Web Dynpro. It was then that I took refuge at SCN. I like to take up new challenges in my career, and technology is my passion. SAPUI5 was a natural progression in my career path. UX has been a game changer to me. It has truly opened my mind from the narrow view of UI to a whole new world of Design Thinking.
You don’t list a company or location in your profile. Anything you can share about where you live and where you work?
I am working at Deloitte currently. I cherish the learning opportunities at Deloitte. It’s my third firm, having earlier worked with TCS and Bosch. I live in Bangalore (or Bengaluru) in India. It’s the Silicon Valley of India. My actual place of birth is a couple of hundred kilometers away, but Bangalore has been the city in which I spent all my life and staying here makes me feel at home.
You’ve been with the community for a decade. What prompted you to join?
The dearth of authentic technical information led me to SCN. I used to post many queries and found the solutions extremely helpful. Over the period, I started answering some questions and helping others find their way out. Blogging has kept me active in the community. I really enjoy blogging at SAP and often secretly track the number of views and comments on my blogs.
As I noted in the intro, you’ve answered nearly 300 questions. When do you typically visit the community to participate in Q&A? Anything in particular you focus on?
I make it a point to spend at least an hour or two a week on the forums. My focus areas are SAPUI5, Fiori, and Theme designer. More than “Answers,” I try to engage in a conversation, which helps in identifying the right solution.
On top of all those answers…more than 50 blogs! What’s your writing process like?
My process to blog is very impulsive. I read a lot and my areas of interest are very diverse. Generally any new idea is a trigger for my blog. Currently, the aspect of making software accessible to users with challenges has captured my imagination and any new idea in this space is the driver for content of my blogs. I spend a lot of time to think it over in my head but very little while I write it. I struggle to refine my writing and that is an area of my blogging which needs improvement.
Sharath is a self-admitted TV addict who loves movies, documentaries, sports, and news. I’m going to guess he’s seen “The Fast and the Furious” films a few times.
How about downtime? What do you like to do when you aren’t working?
My downtime is to spend time alone at a café or a beach with a book and a cup of coffee. I love to travel and during my travels the best times are the mornings. I tend to walk out alone on the streets with my camera and feel the lonely streets and get the view of the fresh air and architecture of the city.
My guilty pleasure is my TV. I am a TV addict and have been on rehabilitation of sorts for the past few years. So watching documentaries, movies, sports, and news takes up my time at home.
Apart from all this, I enjoy going out with my mentor and wife Rosa. We love to go travel and occasionally party around with friends. She has been an inspiration during the tough times during my career and has guided me in times of absolute chaos.
In front of the Taj Mahal. Traveling with his wife is one of the things that Sharath loves most.
You joined the community 10 years ago, and since then, you’ve done so much. But I’m sure you needed some time to get comfortable before blogging and answering questions. Any advice to members who want to get more active but are still reluctant to participate?
The real roadblock to express our views in blogs is our own fears. Our fears drive us away from our goals. I feared a lot to blog at first. “What would other members feel?,” “What I feel may not be very important,” and so on. All these doubts kept me away for years from blogging. I joined in 2006 but my first blog was in 2011.
Once I broke that mental barrier, I was on the way to blog regularly. I can totally relate to the members who are reluctant as I feel the same fears even now. But, having an inner awareness helps in avoiding the distraction and facing our fears.
One final question — and it’s more out of curiosity. Your community profile name is Sharath M G. After talking to you, I figured out the G stands for Gangadhara. So what about the M?
It’s common to reference to one’s place of birth and the father’s name. For M, Machenahalli is the village of my birth and G stands for Gangadhara, my father’s name.
Well, Sharath, thanks for taking the time to chat. We appreciate everything you do in the community. You unquestionably deserve to join the Member of the Month Hall of Fame. I hope March brings you many more happy surprises!