I know, I know…I’m late with November’s Member of the Month. But I was at SAP TechEd, then on vacation, and then my dog ate my homework, and…
OK, enough excuses. I missed the deadline, but if there’s a silver lining here, it’s that the latest entry into the Hall of Fame has had no shortage of recognition recently (and for good reason).
I’m talking about Emanuele Ricci.
You may already recognize the name because of his contributions to Q&A (which earned him the Avid Solver badge). Or maybe you’ve been enjoying his popular series of blog posts about SAPUI5. (Here’s an example.) Or maybe you saw him at SAP TechEd Barcelona (the very first he ever attended, courtesy of our tutorial contest). Or maybe you read his interview with my colleague Kim Mecca.
Wait, someone else already interviewed him while I was out of the office?
Wow, I really am a jerry-come-lately, ain’t I?
Just goes to show you why (and how) Emanuele has been in the spotlight as of late.
Anyway, now it’s my turn to talk to Emanuele. So let’s get to know him better (as I do my best to avoid the same questions that Kim asked)…
This is a little overdue, Emanuele, but let me be the first to congratulate you on being the Member of the Month for November!
Hi, Jerry, it’s a pleasure to meet you! The last couple of months have been really exciting for me. The TechEd invitation, the interview, and now the Member of the Month nomination. I can’t explain how very excited and honored I feel right now!
I would ask you what benefits you get from the SAP Community, but you already answered that in your discussion with Kim. So I’ll be a bit more basic. Can you tell me when you joined the community and why?
I think that I joined the community as soon as I started to work with SAP products — almost three years ago. This is something natural to me. When I start to work with a product or a technology, I want to know everything, I want to master it and help others that encounter a problem.
I need to find a place where I can feel at home, a place that allows you to create new connections with other talented developers and find help.
According to your profile, you’re based in Lucca, Italy, working for Techedge Group. How did your career path bring you to that city and that company? And how did you grow to become a SAPUI5 expert?
Well, the first part of the answer is easy. I was born in Lucca
Right after the university, I started to work as a freelancer for web/Android application in Polo Tecnologico Lucchese. (You can think about it as a huge building that aggregates startup and technology company.)
Here I made a lot of connections with other companies and one day I got the opportunity to start working in Techedge.
It was really cool to work in a big enterprise company like Techedge. You can gain access to opportunities that would be impossible as a developer.
Here at Techedge, we invested really a lot into SAPUI5 as early adopters and that investment has paid off a lot!
As I said before, when I start to work with a technology I must master it. It’s really something that I need to do because I want always to write the best code I can do with the tools I have.
Polo Tecnologico Lucchese — the huge building just as Emanuele described it
I mentioned that you’re very active in answering questions — which is something you also discussed with Kim. How do you fit SAP Community Q&A into your work schedule?
I invest into the community a lot. Usually, I take some time during the coffee break and after work to answer to the user. This is something that helps me grow in many aspects and it’s a good feeling at the end of the day to know that you’ve helped someone that was struggling with a problem.
I also mentioned that you’ve been writing about SAPUI5, contributing more than twenty blog posts on the topic altogether thus far — including your recent “dummies” series. What motivates you to publish blog posts? Is it when some sort of specific inspiration strikes you?
A blog post is something that allows me to focus on and study a specific argument or problem. It’s like taking your notes, reorganizing them, and creating something that is useful for the community.
I’ve started the latest blog series about “SAPUI5 for dummies” because I needed to create a step-by-step exercise for new people that have joined our Lucca office. They have already studied the framework basic and I wanted to test what they’ve learned with a real-life example.
I think that many members find blogging to be intimidating. It’s not always easy to write that first post, you know? Did you suffer that sort of fear the first time you wrote for SAP Community? If so, how did you overcome your nervousness?
I know that feeling and I still have it every time. This is something that I discussed a lot with Craig Cmehil and Thomas Grassl at TechEd Barcelona. As a developer, I’m a lot technical and before writing a post your mind is always filled with questions…
Is this topic interesting? Will people enjoy it? Will it be something useful to others?
Am I too technical? Does the article flow well when others read it? Should I write less technical things or add more code because they won’t understand what I’ve in my mind?
Will people interact with that I’m writing or is it just a waste of time?
Is my English good? How can I improve my soft skill in writing?
I can assure you that all these questions — and many, many others — are always coming back when I start thinking about a new blog post.
What advice would you give members who are thinking of writing blog posts but they are hesitant to take the first step?
I cannot think about myself as an experienced blogger — or as an expert in my field. I know that I have a lot to learn and I know that I want to do it. In my opinion, the best way to start is just start. Just start writing something that you think could be useful to others. Is it a problem that you’ve solved in a project? Just write it down. Is it a new SAP technology you’re interested in? Just experiment with it and write down the result and what you’ve done.
The good thing about SAP Community is that you have people that are more experienced than you in this topic and are always there to help. Try to ask them to review your post and advise how you could improve your current writing skills or how you could get more feedback from your audience.
I find that dedicated writers also happen to be voracious readers, and in your profile, you do say that you like books. Any particular authors or topics or types of books that interest you most?
Well, I love to read books for the same reason that others love to read. It makes you travel to places that right now are impossible to travel to. That’s why I love sci-fi/fantasy books so much. I still remember the first time I started to read those huge tomes written by Isaac Asimov, one of my favorite authors.
Lately, I’ve read a lot of books written by Haruki Murakami but if I could suggest one book to read right now I would say The Notebook, The Proof, The Third Lie: Three Novels. You will thank me later.
Emanuel likes hiking. He doesn’t like having his picture taken. He’s in the red jacket near the back.
Besides reading, what another sort of activities do you enjoy when you’re not working? Any hobbies?
Well I love to stay fit and release my stress at the gym. It’s an important thing to do — otherwise I think that I’ll go crazy in a couple of months.
I love to also to hike with friends in the summer. Tuscany is perfect for doing that. We have Alpi Apuane that are a group of mountains perfect for that.
It’s always exciting and relaxing at the same time when you arrive at the peak of the mountain and you know that you have conquered it all by yourself. We’re not talking about Everest but still — 1,800 to 2,000 meters high.
Other than that you know, we’re all nerds inside so I enjoy a lot of video games (some of them are comparable to piece of art in my opinion), board games, and all the sort of stuff that also allows you to create strong friendships with people.
Last but not least: movies and TV series. It’s a perfect way to relax at the end of the day and improve your English while watching amazing pieces of art.
One last question. It’s been noted that SAP Community goes beyond this site. The community extends to everywhere and anywhere, at any time. With this in mind, I believe you’re also a frequent participant in community-related activities outside of sap.com/community — and you’re looking to do even more. Could you explain how you get involved in these activities, how you plan to get involved in more, and why you think they’re important?
Yes, indeed. I’ve participated as a speaker in the last couple of UI5Con — the main SAPUI5 convention for the framework — events. And I was also a speaker at the latest SAP Inside Track in Rome.
Being a speaker is a major achievement for me because it forces you to speak in public, something that usually you don’t do in your day job. It has helped me to develop more skills and learn how to organize a technical session that is far different from creating a blog post. It’s something that I would like to do in the next events and who knows, maybe I’ll have a chance to do it at the next TechEd.
Another thing that I like to do is hackathons. I’ve done a lot of them for Google in their London campus and some in Venice. It’s an interesting thing because it forces you to create a working idea from scratch using new API/tools presented during the event.
Before the summer we also participated at SAP hackathon about blockchain. It was really a crazy two-day non-stop event that allowed our team to design a proof of concept that aims to reinvent how the SAP certification system works.
You know what I love the most about this kind of events? That you can push yourself to the limits and you meet new amazing friends.
Emanuel (far right) loves events. Beyond that, don’t ask me what’s going on in this shot. I’m not sure.
Thanks for your time, Emanuele. I’m glad we finally caught up. I look forward to seeing you again in SAP Community — online and everywhere else!
Thank you very much for this opportunity! This kind of recognition just makes me feel more motivated to keep investing time and energy into this beautiful community!