I have a confession to make: writing the intros to Member of the Month interviews is a challenge.
It’s not that I don’t like writing them. I do. I love writing the intros as much as I love talking to the Member of the Month recipients themselves. It’s just that I want my introductions to do them justice, and too often, I feel like I’m rehashing the same ol’ statements: so-and-so answered x number of questions, wrote y number of blogs, and/or has z number of followers.
To be clear: The values for x, y, and/or z are always impressive. I mean, the quality and quantity of contributions are usually why a person becomes a Member of the Month in the first place. And since these members do so much for the SAP Community, don’t they deserve praise from a much more talented and imaginative writer?
Sure they do. (You didn’t have to agree so quickly, you know.) Which is why I am so relieved about April’s induction for Member of the Month. Yep, he has all the stats required to get him into the Hall of Fame. (For this guy, x + y + z = wow.) But this time, I don’t have to be the one to tell you all about him. Someone else will.
You see, April’s Member of the Month came highly recommended by someone I respect greatly — someone who has earned plenty of accolades and positions in his own right. So rather than try to come up with a snappy intro all by my lonesome, I’m going to steal that someone’s summary about this month’s recipient — because the nomination gives the numbers and much, much more: “15 blog posts of high quality, interactive in the comment discussions on his blogs; 365 answers (98 accepted); also active in ‘Using SAP.com’ and Coffee Corner. Shows a high degree of accurate technical knowledge; articulate, writes well; polite and helpful to other community members; responds quickly to questions. Becoming a ‘household name’ in some tags.”
I won’t tell you the name of the person who provided this thoroughly thought-out nomination. He’ll likely read this, and if he is so inclined, he’ll identify himself — and perhaps chide me publicly for copying his comments. But for now, I’ll keep him anonymous.
I won’t, however, keep April’s Member of the Month anonymous any longer.
SAP Community members, please join me in welcoming Bartosz Jarkowski to the Hall of Fame.
If you’d like to know why Bartosz is receiving this honor in April, well…you must have skipped over most of the intro. So go back to the part I gleefully plagiarized and when you’re ready, read on to find out why Bartosz has gained so much respect and recognition from SAP Community peers.
We’ve had pleasant conversations in the community before, Bartosz, so I’m very happy to be talking to you this time as April’s Member of the Month. Congratulations!
Thank you, Jerry! That’s a really big surprise and a great honor for me! I’m not sure how you do this, but you are very good in choosing the Members of the Month according to their month of birth.
Your birthday is in April? Serendipity strikes again! What day is it?
The 3rd of April.
Oh, deer…it’s Bartosz’s birthday! (With a new friend at Miyajima Island, Japan.)
That’s the day I plan to publish this interview — so please consider this a birthday present. Speaking of the interview, I should get back to the questions. Your profile shows your home as Poland, but you don’t list your company. Could you tell us a little bit about where you work and what you do?
It looks like I need to work on my profile because it isn’t up to date. I come from Poland, but for almost two years now I have been working for BackOffice Associates in the United Kingdom. I’m a technical consultant and I help customers to plan, install, and maintain their SAP landscapes.
Hmm…well I hope most of it is up to date because that’s how I wrote many of my questions! To prove my point: According to your profile, you’re an “SAP technical consultant really passionate about S4, HANA and Microsoft Azure.” (And, yes, there is a pattern this month — as I steal direct quotes shamelessly.) Those are relatively new software offerings, so I’m curious to know: Did you start off specializing in something else? If so, what career path got you to where you are today?
I started my SAP career in a small company in Wroclaw. I still remember my first days when I struggled a lot with basic operations in SAP GUI. SAP Community (or rather SDN at that time) was a great source of knowledge. The first SAP installation was a nightmare, but slowly, day after day I was able to get it working. Since then it has been over ten years and I have had the opportunity to work with many different SAP and non-SAP technologies. I’m excited about Digital Transformation and I wonder how IT will look like in let’s say another ten years.
I’ve talked to a lot of SAP experts, but I can’t remember the last time anyone told me they were “passionate” about their area of specialization. What makes you so excited about your work?
Isn’t it strange that so many people don’t like their work? I have to say I really love what I’m doing and I wouldn’t trade it for anything else. Working on SAP projects is a guarantee that every day is different. It’s also a great opportunity to meet and work with many people from around the world. For me, the SAP software is not only related to work. It may sound a bit odd for some people, but I enjoy spending my free time reading about new features and trying to implement them. Currently I’m absorbed in playing with SAP and Azure. In my opinion, Cloud Computing has a great future so I want to be one of the first who knows it well.
Bartosz once took a paragliding class. (Emphasis on the word “once.”)
It’s great that you love your job, but what do you do when you’re not working? Any hobbies or activities you like to do during your free time?
I spend a lot of time in front of a computer and I always struggle with work-life balance. But when I finally have some free time I like to watch a good movie or just hang out with my girlfriend.
Once in a while I try to do new things. A few years back I did a paragliding course, but that passion finished quite quickly due to my fear of heights.
I think I would like to mention one more hobby: cooking. The kitchen is a very important place in my home and I usually spend a lot of time there. Currently I’m fascinated with sous-vide, which is a method of cooking under vacuum for a long time at a low temperature. I have to say that steaks prepared that way are simply delicious.
Getting back to your community contributions…I compared the nominator’s statement against your profile, and I see that his numbers are already inaccurate. In the period since he recommended you, you’ve published two more blogs and answered thirty more questions. Since you and I are speaking a week before I post this interview, your numbers might be higher still by the time this goes live! So I have to know — how do you make SAP Community part of your daily schedule?
Unfortunately, I have trouble following all the healthy advice saying you should start your day with a ten kilometer run, then take a cold shower, and meditate for half an hour. Instead, I prefer to drink a black coffee, read some articles on the Internet, and of course check new questions in Q&A on my mobile.
During the day I very often visit the SAP Community not only to answer questions, but also to look for solutions and read about new SAP features. Usually I write my blogs during weekends when I have more time available and I can focus on new topics. I have to say that making the SAP Community part of my daily schedule wasn’t difficult at all and I’m pretty sure I am showing some first symptoms of addiction.
What do Pompeii and SAP Community have in common? Bartosz visited both. (I’m guessing many readers came up with a slightly different answer.)
While you’ve answered hundreds of questions, you’ve also asked some. Granted, not many. OK, five, if we want to get precise. But the questions are all related to the SAP Community platform that replaced SCN, and most of them are about bugs. Since you joined the community in April 2016 — assuming your profile is correct — you only experienced the tail end of SCN, so I’m interested in hearing your perspective about the transition and current experience.
I can see the long journey that the new SAP Community has taken since the start. With every platform release the bugs are resolved and we are getting new functionalities. We are going in the right direction and I’m waiting for the new UI that was announced a couple of months ago.
But on the other hand, I also see a few issues that I can’t understand – for example, why it’s impossible to combine multiple accounts. In my previous answer I said I use my mobile to check new questions. For a long time, it was inconvenient because there is no link to Q&A or blogs on the mobile version of the website. I should probably also mention the tags, because this looks like a problem for all the new joiners.
But despite those small issues, the SAP Community is a great place and I’m very happy I decided to contribute. I can see the hard work of the entire SAP Community team and I would like to take this opportunity to say thank you! Of course, we can’t forget about moderators who are doing a great job in keeping the forum tidy.
Moderators do indeed rock, and I appreciate all the kind things you just said. You keep talking to me like that and you might just find yourself as Member of the Month for May too. Joking aside, I’m glad that the community is so important to you. What made you decide to join in the first place?
The SAP Community is an excellent source of knowledge and I can’t imagine I could survive without it. During my entire career a lot of people unselfishly helped me and I finally decided to repay the debt. But the decision wasn’t straightforward. In the beginning I had problems with choosing a good topic because I didn’t feel confident I had the necessary knowledge. Fortunately, I met SAP Mentor Frank Schuler, who finally convinced me to start. The great thing about writing blogs is that you learn as you go and it forces you to understand the process in detail.
Bartosz has 114 followers…115 if you count this fella from Monkey Forest, Ubud, Bali Island.
Frank is an SAP Mentor, but he’s also a former Member of the Month. Wait a second…it just occurred to me that Frank also works at BackOffice Associates in the United Kingdom. Do you guys work together?
Yes, I’m working together with Frank.
Wow, the coincidences keep piling up. So it seems that Frank really had an influence on you, which makes me wonder… Are there any other members who inspire you? Does any particular content in the community interest you?
Thank you, Jerry, for that question. There are so many people with valuable content that I don’t even know where to start.
I think the first person I would like to mention is Isaias Freitas – I’m always intimidated by his detailed knowledge.
When I started learning HANA I used a lot of excellent materials prepared by the SAP HANA Academy, so definitely I have to mention Denys van Kempen.
Even though I’m not an ABAPer, from time to time I like to read great blogs prepared by Paul Hardy.
I’m impressed by the number of answers provided by Jürgen and Vadim. What they do is extraordinary and despite the fact I’m trying really hard to answer as many questions as I can, I will never reach their level.
The last person I want to mention is someone special. His answers are always very detailed and polite. When I read his Blog It Forward for the first time, I was super impressed. This person lived in Antarctica. He climbs, sails, and still he manages not only to be an expert in SAP, but he also shares his knowledge widely and encourages all the people that were lurking in the shadows to come forward and write. Matt Fraser – I really appreciate and admire what you are doing! Thank you!
Whoa, that’s quite a list of experts — a nice mix of SAP employees, SAP Mentors, moderators, and Member of the Month Hall of Famers. I’m familiar with them all, except…Matt Fraser, did you say? Um…not sure I know who that is. I’d love to talk more about this guy I’ve never heard of and certainly didn’t speak to before doing this interview, but I’m afraid I only have time for one last question — because I’m certain there are members who are hoping you’ll get back to answering their questions instead. You’re extremely active, yet there are members who are the opposite — possibly because they’re shy about posting. What advice would you give members who need to take that first step toward regular participation?
Taking the first step is always the most difficult. But shortly after you publish your first blog, or answer your first question, you’ll see that you might like your new role as an author and it isn’t that scary after all. Tell us a story about the project you are currently working on, share the latest challenge. Say hello in the Coffee Corner. You will have a chance to meet other people who share the same interest.
I’m so glad we had a chance to talk, Bartosz. You had already been on my list of Member of the Month candidates, so the nudge from that mystery nominator was all I needed to give you your long-deserved recognition. By the time I publish this interview, I’m sure you’ll have contributed even more to the SAP Community — so on behalf of all the members and my colleagues, I want to thank you for what you do. Congratulations again!